I was reading another site (Startrek.com - yep, I'm a trekkie) that had a writeup on Worldcon 2006. There were a couple of interesting things that were in the article.
There are a couple of parallels that could be made with Star Trek fandom and AFOL fandom - right now, we are in the first to second generation of fandom in the US, with conventions starting and beginning to grow. This is like the 70s in Trek fandom, when conventions started at college campuses...and there was a community that came into being.
There was even a part of the community that welcomed new fans, called the Star Trek Welcommittee - and it provided information on clubs and conventions. Keep in mind that this was before the Internet, so this was done by snail-mail. They had brochures on forming clubs and mailing lists.
And from there, many things happened - even in the 60s, Star Trek was saved for a year by fans. In the 70s, the movie came out, and in the 80s on, there were many other shows and events. And all of this happened because of the community.
However, there are shadows - one of the points made by Harlan Ellison and Robert Silverberg (two sci-fi authors) is that "you will find very
few people under the age of 30 at this convention — the base of readers
and fans is not renewing itself from the bottom, the way it did when we
That is something that we as a community need to start looking at. Who are the people who will replace those doing the community activities now? How are we going to renew the community?
It's something that I have been looking at for some time, and I haven't any answers.