Worldcon 75 Draft Program Schedule Online

[Committee press release.] Worldcon 75 is pleased to release its preliminary schedule. The five-day event in Helsinki includes over 840 individual items and 800 hours of content.

Some programme items will be held outside of the convention center, at the Pasila Library and at a historic building, the Peace Station. These items and the Dealers Room will be open to the general public.

On the event’s opening day, Wednesday, 9 August, a press conference will take place at 10am in Messukeskus Room 209, attended by Guests of Honour and the event chairs. A media packet will also be released before the event.

In addition to panel discussions and readings, there will be an art exhibition, film festival, dances, musical events, games, crafts, and a Dealers’ Room. The childrens’ programme is presented in English, Finnish and Swedish. Often authors and editors launch books at Worldcons.

With members from over 55 countries, this will be a very international event. More than 5,000 members are expected to attend, although the number of participants may still rise, as memberships are still being sold. In addition to 1700 Finns, 1200 Americans and over 600 Britons are already planning to attend, among others.

For the first time, the reduced price for the event is valid until July 24th. Those who have not attended a Worldcon before can purchase a special “First Worldcon” membership which costs € 95 vs a normal adult membership price of € 195. There are also day tickets for sale.

Programme highlights include:

  • Guest of Honour Johanna Sinisalo will receive the Prometheus Award for her novel Core of the Sun, and participate in discussions about the Kalevala, Finnish science fiction, and the culture on board the passenger ferries sailing between Finland and Sweden.
  • Guest of Honour Nalo Hopkinson is involved in panel discussions about writing effective dialogue and science fiction in the Caribbean.
  • Our astronaut guest Kjell Lindgren will lecture on space medicine, the effects of space travel on the human body, and his experiences at the ISS.
  • Guest of Honour Walter Jon Williams will participate in debates on military sf by women authors and getting started on writing your first novel.
  • Science guest Ian Stewart will discuss what can be learnt from failed predictions in science fiction and lecture about how our brains interpret contradictory visual information.
  • Guest of Honour John-Henri Holmberg will participate in panels about sf classics for young readers, the history of Nordic science fiction, and the development of feminism in science fiction.
  • Artist Guest of Honour Claire Wendling will take part in panels about European comic strips and about famous cover art.
  • George RR Martin will have two autograph sessions, one on Thursday and one on Saturday, as well as participate in the Tea and Jeopardy podcast.
  • The Hugo Awards ceremony starts on Friday at 7:30pm
  • The Masquerade will be held on Saturday evening at 7:30pm

The many notable programme participants include Cixin Liu, Jo Walton, Charlie Stross, Karin Tidbeck, Jeff VanderMeer, Joe Haldeman, Elizabeth Hand, Robin Hobb, Mary Robinette Kowal, Aliette de Bodard, Hal Duncan, Ken Liu, Greer Gilman, Amal Al-Mohtar, Ellen Kushner, Geoffrey A. Landis, Robert Silverberg, Jonathan Strahan, Elizabeth Bear, Pat Cadigan, Gary K. Wolfe, Ann VanderMeer, Ellen Datlow, Ada Palmer, Charlie Jane Anders, Scott Edelman, Mur Lafferty, and Alasdair Stuart.

There is so much in the program that the participants will inevitably find that there are more interesting items than they have time to attend, unless they have a Time Turner or a TARDIS.

Programme head Marianna Leikomaa invites attendees to keep their eyes open and explore not only old favorites, but discover new things. “That way you can find a new favorite writer,” she hints.

The full programme can be accessed here. It is possible to search for themes, presenters, and individual items. A mobile version is also available in the Grenadine event guide app with the code WCON75.

Changes, additions, and cancellations may occur, and the electronic schedule will be updated.

Filers at Worldcon 75

By Hampus Eckerman: Less than one month to Worldcon 75. In a couple of days, Worldcon 75 is going to publish a restaurant guide to help those who want to plan a pub meet. The area around the convention center caters mostly to lunch restaurants that close around 19:00, so that guide will be very helpful.

I have tried to list all the major events during the days here and also the panels I have seen filers scheduled to participate in. (See below.) This, so it will be easier to detect possible times for meetups. I have left out filers that uses nicks here. Please, write in the comments if you want to be added. Also, comment if I have missed out on some panels with filers in them.

Based on the schedule below, my recommendation is:

Wednesday:

12:00 – 14:00 Filer Meetup in Convention Center

Thursday:

18:00 – 21:00 Pubmeet (adjustable)

Friday:

Pre-Hugo Meet? For those who want to go as a group or perhaps eat something together first. Or perhaps a after-Hugo Meet. For those who want to discuss the winners.

I do think Wednesday or Thursday are the only good days for pubmeets. Please write in comment if you think you will come, so I get an idea of how many people who might come if I should need to book tables. Of course, at MAC2 we were at least three times as many people as those I had booked for, but I think we will be a bit fewer here.

As mentioned in a previous filer post, I will have my own exhibit and will most likely spend some time around it if people wants to find me and say hello.


Wednesday:

  • 14-15 First Worldcon
  • 15-16 Opening Ceremonies
  • 16-17 Kevin Standlee: How to get the best out of Business Meeting
  • 17-18 Kevin Standlee: WSFS Mark Protection Committee Meeting

Thursday:

  • 10-11 Heather Rose Jones: A Stitch in Time: Historical Fantasy
  • 10-13 Business Meeting
  • 16-17 Lenore Jean Jones: How to Run Your First Convention?
  • 16-17 Greg Machlin: Science Fiction and Fantasy in musical theatre
  • 16-17 Paul Weimer: How to Start a Podcast
  • 17-18 Kevin Standlee: A World of Acclaim: Awards from Around the World

Friday:

  • 10-11 Greg Hullender: Artificial Intelligence in Real Life and SF
  • 10-13 Business Meeting
  • 13-14 Greg Hullender: Short Fiction
  • 13-14 Heather Rose Jones: Signing
  • 17-18 Kevin Standlee: How to Start a Worldcon Bid
  • 18-19: Kevin Standlee: Friends Don’t Let Friends Run Worldcons
  • 18-19:30 Cora Buhlert and Heather Rose Jones: Alien Language in Science Fiction
  • 19:30-22:30 Hugo Award

Saturday:

  • 10-14 Business Meeting
  • 14-15 Cora Buhlert: Digital Hugo – How Do We Adapt the Hugo Categories to an Increasingly Digital Reality?
  • 18-19:30 Greg Hullender and Cora Buhlert: The State of Machine Translation
  • 19:30-22:30 Masquerade

Sunday:

  • 10-15 Business Meeting
  • 15-16 Heather Rose Jones: History as World-building
  • 16-17 Greg Hullender: The Power of the Reviewer: Promoting and Hiding Diverse Voices

Worldcon 75 Explains Print Publications Policy

For many years Worldcon supporting members received pre-con publications and the Souvenir Book (in addition to other rights of membership), a tradition that has recently been eroded by the finances of overseas Worldcons and a growing acceptance or even preference for digital publications.

But while a Worldcon may choose any publications policy it wants, unless the policy is stated clearly and up front a departure from tradition is likely to be met with controversy, as is the case with Worldcon 75, which had not informed members of its plan to fulfill its Souvenir Book obligations with digital copies, or printed copies if the member paid an additional charge.

Jo Van Ekeren, who put together this year’s Hugo Voter Packet, recently wrote a long post about her efforts to surface the issue and get Worldcon 75 to make this information public, an interaction that led to her being removed from the committee.

I wrote back to the Worldcon 75 exec pointing out that, as they knew, in past Worldcons, the paid paper publications have always been the Progress Reports, and that Supporting Members got the Souvenir Book without having to pay an additional fee for it. I said that if they were going to make such a sweeping change as removing the Souvenir Book from the Supporting Membership perks and requiring those members to pay to receive it, that they needed to be very clear with members up front about this, and that they had not done so.

I sent an email to the committee asking what their policy was and today received this answer from Worldcon 75 Chair Jukka Halme.

It seems that we need to clarify our intentions with Printed Publications and their distribution.

We had stated from the beginning, that our paper publications were part of the membership only with additional payment of €10/$12. Otherwise, everything would be available electronically, to everyone who had given us a valid email address.

The Souvenir Book will be given to all Attending members in Helsinki, as well as it will be posted to all Attending members unable to be on site, and to all of those Supporting members who had paid for the Paper Publications. All other Supporting members would receive the electronic version of the said Souvenir Book.

I, as the Chair of the convention, feel that I need to apologise for the less than clear way we have made this announcement. It was never our intention of not being upfront about this matter, but we have clearly not been informative enough of this matter.

I have taken in the feedback we’ve received, and have made a decision that we should find a way for every Supporting member who wants a paper copy of the Souvenir Book to receive one. I cannot promise that this will be done for free, but for a nominal sum.

We will send this information to all our members both before and after Worldcon 75.

Supporting memberships originally were created as a way for non-attending fans to be affiliated with a Worldcon and make a small financial contribution to its budget. In 1946 fans paid $1. For the 1963 Worldcon, the arrangement was $2 to join the con (and receive publications including the Program Book, now called the Souvenir Book) and another dollar to attend (so in today’s terms, $2 supporting, $3 attending.)

Online distribution of Worldcon progress reports (in PDF and other formats) has lately become the default, with a charge added for receiving paper copies. (And because PRs are another tool for publicizing the convention, Worldcons have been making them freely available for download by nonmembers.)

Earlier this week the Dublin in 2019 Worldcon bid explained what its publications policy will be. As concerns the Souvenir Book, they plan to offer printed copies to all members, full and supporting as part of the membership.

Hampus Eckerman’s Cabinets of Curiosities

Filer taking home collection to Worldcon 75

By Hampus Eckerman: It was a simple tweet from Worldcon 75. They were looking for exhibits or fan projects to display. And with no impulse control, I found that I had volunteered about 10 minutes later. And after much to and fro, I have gotten a little nerd space of my own. Two glass cabinets with strange curiosities and an attached wall space of around 3.5 x 2 meters (12 x 7 feet).

So what will I display? I’m not sure of what to name it. A Halloween collection is one name for it, but it is mostly a collection of weirdness, curiosities and strange things, bought in approximately 50 different countries. I have human brains from a Swedish effects studio, I have devil masks from Panama, skeleton figures from Mexico, a mummified opossum from Chicago, a mouse with a punk mohawk from Los Angeles, snakewine from North Korea and much more. I also have pictures from the 20 different countries I traveled to together with a plush Cthulhu, visiting things such as the penis festival of Kawasaki and the cockroach races of Brisbane.

And of course, I have Fred, the Skull-Faced Lynx.

What I will be able to bring will be decided by how much I can fit into a car together with three persons and their luggage. But I hope people will have some fun looking at and discussing all the weirdness I have collected over the years.

2017 Worldcon’s Fifth PR Available

Worldcon 75 has posted Progress Report 5 [PDFfile], the last one before the convention in August. The A4 version is the first to be posted.

Many items in the PR explain aspects of Finnish conrunning that may seem out of the ordinary, like their security arrangements, or provide information and advice about what to see in Helsinki, and how to navigate around town.

Clare Boothby’s clever article “Some Common Book-Related Problems” offers fans solutions for many different needs. Here’s one of the most newsworthy:

I have books in a language I can’t read!

We’re collecting books in all languages for Cittadini del Mondo (Citizens of the World), a small charity in Rome that provides refugees with shelter, medical care, legal assistance, language training, special aid for women and pregnant women, and help navigating the daunting paperwork process of applying for aid from government and international aid programs. They also run an Intercultural Library to help refugees feel connected, respected, and welcome. We’re seeking donations of books, especially in the languages they need most: Chinese, Arabic, Bengali, Urdu, Ethiopian, Hindi, and French, as well as Spanish, Korean, and other African, central Asian, Middle Eastern and eastern European languages. If you have books to donate (maybe you’re a writer and have copies of your work in translation?) then bring them to the donation box in the Fan Lounge.

Worldcon 75 Publishes Member List, Issues Clarification About Public vs. Private Names

Two days ago, Worldcon 75 announced that they had added a list of members to their website.

We’ve added a list of attending members to our website at http://www.worldcon.fi/ourmembers! Here you can find a list of attending members who have given permission to publish their names when they registered.

If you want to have your name added to or removed from the list, go to https://members.worldcon.fi and request a login link to edit your Public Name fields on your membership information.

This was shortly followed by confusion on Twitter:

In addition, some members reported that their name was publicly posted, despite having checked the “do not publish my name” box on the Site Selection form.

Worldcon 75 then responded:

The confusion apparently stems from the Public Name fill-in text fields in the online membership purchase form and the “Edit Personal Information” section on the Worldcon 75.

Some people believed that “Public First Name” and “Public Last Name” were intended to hold the member’s Badge Name, a provision which has been common on registration forms for past Worldcons and many other fan cons, and filled those fields in accordingly.

That is not the case. In fact, according to Worldcon 75, these fields are intended to be filled in only if the member wishes to have their name included on the public member list on Worldcon 75’s website and in the convention Programme Book.

The list on the website at http://www.worldcon.fi/ourmembers appears to be automated, and additions, changes, and deletions made by members to those Public Name fields should be reflected on the list after a short delay.

No provision has been made for members to provide a Badge Name for the convention.

Worldcon 75 members can request a new e-mail with their personalized link by going to http://members.worldcon.fi and entering the e-mail address used on their Worldcon 75 registration.

One Week Left To Vote On Hugos

The 2017 Hugo voting period ends a week from today, July 15 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

Worldcon 75 members got an email from Hugo Administrator Nicholas Whyte today telling them that time is of the essence, and urging them to avoid a last-minute rush to the polls:

Remember that your online ballots may be updated at any time. We encourage our members not to wait until the last minute to file their Hugo ballots. The servers could become overloaded and cause difficulty getting all your rankings saved before the ballot deadline closes.

Whyte also announced a correction to the John W. Campbell Ballot – one that does not change any of the finalists:

When the final ballot for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer was first announced, Sarah Gailey was incorrectly listed as being in her first year of eligibility. In fact she is in her second year of eligibility.

New writers have a two-year window of eligibility for the award, so this is actually Gailey’s last year for consideration.

2017 Hugo Voter’s Packet Offers Interactive Games

Max Gladstone and Choice of Games have teamed up with the 2017 Hugo Awards to offer voters the unique opportunity to play two interactive adventure games based on the Best Series Finalist The Craft Sequence.

Voters can follow their personalized Hugo voting link to sign in, read the instructions, then enter their name at the bottom of the page. The page will then load their voting ballot and the links to the Hugo Voters Packet for each category; go to the Best Series section of the ballot and click on the “Get Steam Token for The Craft Sequence games” link. This will submit a request to Choice of Games, who will send a token to the voter which can be used to access the full games for free via the Steam platform (this is a free software download; see the linked page for system hardware and OS requirements).

The first 2 chapters of both of these interactive games are available to play online for free at the Choice of Games website:

Worldcon 75 members can request a new e-mail with their personalized link by going to members.worldcon.fi and entering the e-mail address used on their Worldcon 75 registration.

Worldcon’s YA Award Study Committee Releases Report

Next month in Helsinki the Worldcon 75 Business Meeting will vote on whether to ratify an award to honor the best Young Adult book of the year. The motion gained initial passage in 2016. A second favorable vote will make it an official part of the convention’s annual activities.

In advance of the business meeting, the YA Award Committee has published its report on the Worldcon 75 website: http://www.worldcon.fi/files/YA_Award_Full_Report.pdf

The proposal was passed in 2016 without choosing a name for the award. After canvassing the public and discussing ideas internally, the committee is recommending that it be called the Lodestar Award.

From lode (“journey, course, guide”) + star; a Lodestar is a star that guides or leads, especially in navigation, where it is the sole reliable source of light—the star that leads those in uncharted waters to safety. The guiding star frequently appears in speculative fiction and is tied to the notion of the hero’s quest. While it evokes stargazers and adventurers, it also calls to mind distant galaxies and travel through space. It therefore applies to both Fantasy and Science Fiction, is international in scope, and has symbolism that is cross-generational.

The Business Meeting will have to decide if approving an award name is permissible this year, or requires its own motion and ratifying vote. If the award is ratified without a nickname being approved, it is expected to begin life as simply the “YA Award” given by the Worldcon. The YA Award is not a Hugo, but would be voted on by Worldcon members at the same time that they vote on the Hugos and Campbell Award.

Among those who participated in the public survey, 52% wanted the YA Award named for a person, but 48% did not. The report says the committee also found this question “tricky and contentious” and a section is devoted to outlining the arguments for and against:

Arguments for Using Personal Names

– A person’s name recalls the history of SFF literature

– The Hugo/Campbell Awards are themselves named after editors

– Celebrates professionals who influenced current Worldcon readers/writers

– 52% of the respondents said they would prefer the award to be named after a person when asked to choose a category of naming type

– Avoiding author names in order to prevent offensiveness can border on discrimination or erasure

Arguments against Using Personal Names

– 48% voted that the award should be called something other than a person’s name

– Award should celebrate SFF worlds and ideas, not individual people

– Award designation shouldn’t be about “us” and what we liked, but instead about current and future teens

– Better to have more universal name that can have meaning for each generation, rather than one that may become outdated and meaningless to later readers

– Worldcon is an international community, but individual authors are inherently associated with specific nations and languages

– Not the award’s job to “educate” the youth by naming the award after one particular author

– Teens’ changing social expectations make the work of several of the suggested authors objectionable

– Because early SFF YA was a didactic genre, most writers had agendas that will be unacceptable to people today

– Naming an award after a person expresses approval for all the author’s books, including any that are unfitting

– Ties the award too closely to the life of the named person, so that their baggage carries over to the award

– Many people on public forums said emphatically that they were opposed to a personname

– Attempts to name award after person will lead to very heated and contentious debates, which will hurt the award

The committee decided not to recommend anyone’s personal name. They surveyed the public about six abstract names: Anansi, Lodestar, Ouroboros, Spellcaster, Tesseract, and Worldcon.

“Tesseract” received the most favorable response of six prospective award names in the public survey, however, feedback comments revealed that Tesseract is the name of a Canadian speculative-fiction publishing house (Tesseract Books), as well as a long time anthology begun in 1985 and edited by Judith Merril (the Tesseract Anthology has had 20 volumes).

After acquiring the Shortlist Voting Survey results, the Chairs reached out to EDGE/Tesseract Books. The publisher asked that we not use the name. Therefore, given the term’s established use by SFF colleagues and Canadian fandom, as well as the explicit request of Tesseract Books, the committee agreed that the name Tesseract should not be used.

That is why the committee has recommended the award be given the second most popular name in the survey, Lodestar.

The report includes many tables of data extracted from the survey and stratified according to age, Worldcon participation, and a Likert-scale response to the six names.

The report also says the committee declined a publisher’s offer to sponsor the award if it would be named after a particular author.

Angus Killick from Macmillan Children’s Publishing contacted WSFS to suggest the name L’Engle for the award. He manages the division’s marketing. Killick explained that they and the L’Engle family were interested in any way of honoring L’Engle, given that 2018 is the release of the Wrinkle in Time movie and it is the 100th anniversary of L’Engle’s birth.

The members of the study committee are: Anna Blumstein (chair); Helen Gbala and Katie Rask (Co-chairs); Warren Buff, Tim Illingworth, Joshua Kronengold, Laura Lamont, Julia Mccracken, Farah Mendlesohn, David Peterson, Christine Rake, Marguerite Smith, Adam Tesh, Clark Wierda, Lewis Wolkoff (Committee Members); Leigh Bardugo, Kate Elliott, Daniel José Older (YA Author Members); and Kevin Standlee (WSFS Parliamentary Advisor).

Especially when considering the prior history of WSFS committees assigned to work on the issue, this committee deserves congratulations for its hard work and transparency, and its valiant effort to navigate the rocks and shoals of existing brands and the divided opinions in social media.