Offical flag of the Convention, unveiled 2014
|Home Base||Sol System, Orion Arm, Mutter's Spiral Galaxy|
|Population (2015 rough)||approx. 1.75 million|
|Major Achievements||see Fenspace timeline|
|Stereotype||Raucous geeks, freaks and nerds who've spread all over the solar system like a particularly annoying virus.|
The Fenspace Convention is Fenspace’s great experiment with direct democracy. The majority of fen come from Western liberal nations (the US, the UK and affiliated Commonwealth, Europe, Japan, etc.) so despite any problems with mundane governments they don’t see government in and of itself as a bad thing (with a few exceptions, mostly Discordians, Heinleinians and other neo-libertarian groups who stay in the Belt or the outer system). However, the scope of Fenspace - stretched out over the entire solar system - makes maintaining a central government difficult at best.
Factional governments can provide a local solution to this problem, but the factions can only work within the confines of their own fandoms. Any attempt by (for example) the Trekkies to extend their political control over all Fenspace would be met with resistance by the other factions. The faction governments also can’t provide any support for completely nonaligned fen, who make up 40% of the total population.
The Convention formed out of the World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, the oldest and most significant science fiction gathering in the pre-handwavium world. Worldcon was used as the template as opposed to larger conventions like Anime Expo or Dragon*Con because Worldcon was not just a meeting of fen, it was also one of the major business conferences for professional genre writers, giving it a veneer of serious undertakings.
No major faction avoids the Convention, and they all enforce the enacted rules. As the alternative would split Fenspace and leave it vulnerable to ’Danelaw takeover, the SMOFs have agreed that system-wide unity is more important than holding to fandom dogma.
Any measure voted on by a Convention is considered binding by all members of the Convention, which by the nature of the thing means “all residents of Fenspace.” Even non-attendees are allowed to vote on the final document, and accepting it is much like accepting an EULA; even if you didn’t read it you accept the terms of the agreement. This cuts down on the number of fen who think Fenspace’s open border means complete freedom to do whatever.
|“||If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for ... but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong.||”|
—Robert A. Heinlein
Working Conventions are called once a year, the time and place determined at the previous meeting. As many fen as the designated meeting area can hold will make their presence known. People unable or unwilling to come will have limited interaction through the interwave. Sometimes, the Convention will be held at the designated area as well as partly on a cloud of spacecraft surrounding it.
Conventions are rarely called off the annual plan - the organizers are careful to keep them spaced out roughly one year apart. However, a clause in the standing Fenspace constitution allows a Convention to be called “by any group during a time of extreme crisis.” The clause was inserted in the original constitution to provide for a unity government in case of a situation (an attack by the mundane space powers being the obvious example) where any single faction would be overwhelmed. There are also smaller, more informal conventions called SMOFcons held on an irregular basis, attended by faction leaders and leading SMOFs from the non-aligned fen.
The first day of a Convention involves arrivals, a brief opening ceremony with the appropriate amount of bombast, drinking, dancing and networking. Nobody is expected to work on the opening day, since most arriving fen are tired from the trip in. The actual work begins on the second day.
The meat of Convention work takes place over several days after the opening, in the panel tracks. A Convention will have the usual fan- and genre-related panels, but it will also have panel tracks that feel more like congressional committee hearings. This is where Fenspace-spanning laws, interfactional and international agreements, etc. are drafted, redrafted and debated.
Once the legislative panel tracks have concluded, the information is carefully collated and sent to the Convention organizers, who then spend a day doing nothing but editing and arranging the material into something resembling a mundane body of laws. The final Convention document is then distributed to the membership for review before a vote, which takes another day.
The vote is done by traditional means for attending members, ballot or voice depending on the measure, while non-attendees or people who couldn’t fit into the main hall vote through secure interwave connections. The votes are then tallied and the results read out to the attendees. Once the vote is concluded, the organizers announce the date and place for the next Convention, there’s one last big party and the fen head home for another year.
2007: Nippon 2007, not a Convention in the Fenspace terms, but the first public demonstration of handwavium.
2008: Denvention 3, last of the traditional World SF Conventions.
2009: Anticipation, (aka "Islandcon," originally planned for Montreal, Quebec) the first true Convention where the Fenspace standing constitution was ratified by the major factions.
2010: KandorCon, the first Convention to make solid diplomatic connections between Fenspace and Earth; the Kandor amnesty pardoning the original fen for handwavium-related crimes was signed here.
2011: CrystalCon, held in the just-completed skycity of Crystal Kyoto, Venus.
2015: BubbleCon, held on Genaros.
2017: WestCon, held in Crystal Seattle
2019: RoyalCon, held during the week of Talk Like A Pirate Day at 6565 Reiji
2020: TranquilCon, held at Port Luna
2021: SPECIALcon, held in The Vault, Mars Vegas
2022: RepubliCon, another convention at Coruscant
2023: ChanurCon, held at Meetpoint in the second week of July.
2024: GondolaCon, held in Crystal Venice
The Convention does have a permanent office where records are kept and reports from the Embassy in Canberra and the various Consulates are received. The Convention Authority can be found in Ring 2 South of Port Luna; less than a dozen full-time staff work there.
- Articles of Convention
- The Fen Consulate to Canada - a typical example of a Fenspace Convention diplomatic posting in a friendly country
- SOS-Con is the setting for "Convention Thread GO"
- RepubliCon is mentioned in "Saber Chase"
- Sometimes very roughly, but there has yet to have been a Convention held between November and March, inclusive.
- In the alternate timeline of The South Is Rising (Someone Get A Hammer), there is a second, emergency Convention held in late 2016 at Stellvia.
- No, "NameTBDCon" is really the convention's name.
- The Convention Authority ensures the Conventions are held throughout Fenspace, not just near Earth - even if that is still where most of the Fen live.
- Many 'Danelaw governments were uncomfortable with the idea of sending official dispatches to "the cloud."