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Synonyms: fan run con, fan run convention
See also: Procon, Relaxacon
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A fancon is a convention run by fans. Fancons usually feature panels and discussions among fans and no guests or guests who are BNFs. They tend to be cheaper than procons (or actor cons), which are run for profit.

Some fancons. like Yaoi-Con. do feature guests who are industry professionals alongside completely unrestricted fan content. Other fancons have professional guests and semi-restricted fan content such as not allowing open sales of slash zines.

In cases of unofficial fan run conventions, a permission from the copyright owner may be required. This was, for exmaple the case for the X-CON that was held in Germany in 2009.

Many fan-run cons were started out of frustration with the size, expense, out-of-touch, and impersonal feel of the professionally run cons. Some fans also did not feel a great desire to get celebrity autographs or mingle with the stars but instead wanted conventions to be a place to meet and visit with other fans. Expectations ran both ways, however, and some fans who were used to big, for-profit "shows" found fancons to be disappointing. From a fan in 1987:

This is the first Equicon that I’ve attended, before this I have been a regular at the Creation shows which I have enjoyed very much. Maybe it’s because of them that I was disappointed with this convention. I found it to be somewhat unorganized with programming running behind several times. The costume contest seemed to me to be too long and the video programming was uneven. This is suppose to be a fan convention so maybe that’s what the difference was. [1]

Literary and science fiction fan conventions began in the 1930s. Some of the earliest media fan conventions were the Star Trek conventions of the 1970s. Many of these Star trek events were replaced by procons.

For example, in 1975 a for-profit Star Trek convention was held in Chicago. This led one fan to write the following loc:

"Cons are a sore subject of late, what with ol' Lisa Boynton out to take over condom. (Sorry), ((ChicagoCon, organized by Lisa Boynton, reportedly made in excess of $100,000 profit. Her company, Telos IV Corp., is planning a series of ST cons around the country.)) The Houston group is frantic about the way the actors fees have soared since Chicago, Bjo Trimble is frantic about Lisa's Los Angeles con the week before hers (Equicon)), Al Schuster's andDevra Langsam's groups (organizers of The International ST Con and The ST Con, respectively)) are frantic about [Lisa] moving into New York City in January, and the Boston con hasn't progressed at all since the first meeting with Gail Abend. I have no objections to four- and five-figure fees for the major stars, or to the rise of agencies like Trekstars Unlimited to protect the ST people from inexperienced concoms but I do think ST Chicago may have signaled the end of the ST con as we have known it. I can, see the pros taking over the meat cons, the 'fan-run' cons becoming one or no star local Trekkie cons and fan cons like SekWester Con proliferating. Trufen will use the pro and fan-run cons to inform the neos, through zine sales and STW, that there's more to fandom than gaping at the S*T*A*R*S and watching the episodes, but the fan cons will become the most important and influential aspect of ST fandom."[2]

This pattern would repeat multiple times over the next decades -- fannish enthusiasm would create the need for gatherings only to be followed by for-profit events. See Doctor Who and The Blake's 7 Wars.

Likewise the rise of the Internet and the ability to communicate with a great number of fans without the expense of traveling to meet them in person has reduced the number of fandom run conventions.

Still, as of 2014, fan cons flourish and the number of mini-cons or relaxacons have held steady. These latter events are hard to track as they often number no more than 20-30 fans. Recent examples in 2014 are Bistocon and Constrict.

Fan Con vs Pro Cons: Fan Comments

Fan Con vs Pro Cons: Guest Comments

Comments by David Greenlee, who portrayed Mouse on Beauty and the Beast (TV): I preceded to do a few [pro cons], and I wasn't that keen... Then George R.R. Martin hooked me up with fan run conventions. The fan run conventions are imminently more fun. History will prove me out in the fact that I had pretty much ceased to do conventions because I was finding that I wasn't being able to meet anybody. I understand the idea of being a commodity and all that, but it wasn't healthy for me at the time because I was traveling around and there were hundreds of people there to meet me and nothing would have made me happier than to sit and meet each and all - every one of them. I was pretty lonely in my life and I felt very isolated from the people that I had flown thousands of miles to meet. George asked me how the conventions were going and I told him that and he said, "Well, there are fan run conventions." [...] He had been doing conventions for along time and he knew all the ins and outs. He said there was this one in Dallas coming up that was fan run and you should try it. I said. Tell them to give me a ring' and they did." I had the time of my life. [3]


Meta/Further Reading


  1. ^ from Starland News (summer 1987)
  2. ^ LOC submitted to The Halkan Council #12 (1975).
  3. ^ from Crystal Rose Newsletter #36 (1995)