Night Vale Bids For Worldcon

cpb-wtnv-logo-pillowWhat kind of bid is the Night Vale Worldcon bid?

TO CONTACT THE BID: SPEAK QUIETLY INTO YOUR PILLOW AT MIDNIGHT IN A LANGUAGE LONG SINCE DEAD

That kind.

The bid takes its inspiration from “Welcome to Night Vale”, the most popular podcast on the internet, which is formatted as community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

They launched with a party at Arisia in Boston last night. Don’t you wish you’d been there?

Keep in touch with the Night Vale In Eternity Worldcon Bid via Facebook.

The members of the committee are —

Amber Aquini, Adam Bayer, Adam Beaton, The Blob who lives in the housing development out back of the elementary school, Susan Bertan Braviak, Aurora Celeste, Erika, The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, Aaron Feldman, Tamika Flynn, Meg Frank, Will Frank, Sarah Frost, Earl Harlan, Kristina K. Hiner, Crystal Huff, Madeline LeFleur, Hiram McDaniels, Keri O’Brien, Jennifer Old-d’Entremont, Old Woman Josie, Jesi Pershing, Jon Peters (you know, the farmer?), Suzanne Thurgood, Andrew Trembley, Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez, David Weingart, Pamela Winchell, and you.

2015 Hugo Nominations Open

The Sasquan Hugo nominations webpage is now live. Eligible to nominate for the 2015 Hugo Awards and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer are —

  • Attending or supporting members of Sasquan (the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention),
  • Attending or supporting members of Loncon 3 (the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention).
  • Attending or supporting members of MidAmeriCon II (the 2016 World Science Fiction Convention), and

A PIN is required. Please read the instructions at the website for resesrching your PIN (LonCon 3 PINs are not valid there, another has been assigned).

Nominations close March 10 at 11:59PM (2359 hours) Pacific Daylight Time.

Update: The Hugo Administrator has now added a printable nominating ballot for anyone who wants to vote by post.

Update 01/17/2015: The committee issued a press release today. It follows the jump.

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O Sasquan, My Sasquan

The social media strategy of this year’s Worldcon, Sasquan, is far from seamless.

We’re halfway through January and fans have been questioning the committee about when Hugo nominations will be accepted.

Tonight Sasquan tweeted

Hugo nominations will open on JANUARY 16, 2015. The nominations page is… http://fb.me/1LUxDJyIk 

So naturally I click that link. It sends me to a Facebook page with this message:

Hugo nominations will open on JANUARY 16, 2015. The nominations page is http://sasquan.org/hugo-awards/hugo_nominations/

General information about the Hugo awards is available at http://sasquan.org/hugo-awards/

PLEASE NOTE THAT THOSE PAGES WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL JANUARY 16th.

And true to their word, those links deliver a 404 error message. (Why did I click? “Trust but verify” as the saying goes.)

Sasquan would present a more competent image if its tweet went to a working information page on its own website, rather than another social media platform which has the same info, and if it would refrain from posting URLs anywhere until they are live.

Did Sad Puppies Save Worldcon?

A comment by Daniel on Vox Day’s blog put this amusing spin on yesterday’s story about the 2014 Worldcon financial report:

Semi-on topic: thanks to record memberships, LonCon finished with a cash surplus of…

…about £1,000.

Without Larry and Vox last year, they would have been deep in the red.

There you have it: all the people who joined to stuff the ballot box for Larry Correia’s “Sad Puppies” slate kept the Worldcon afloat.

Now I know how that English schoolboy felt in Hope and Glory when he discovered his school had been bombed by the Luftwaffe — “Thank you Adolf!”

Loncon 3 Estimates Razor-Thin Surplus

An initial report shows the 2014 Worldcon with a very small surplus – around £1,000.

The financial review came during a Loncon 3 post-mortem held at Smofcon 32 in December with co-chair Steve Cooper, division heads Helen Montgomery and Eemeli Aro, deputy division head Theresa (TR) Renner, and adviser Vincent Docherty. They distributed a handout at the session that summarized total income at £939,393.77 and expenses at £938,475.33, leaving an estimated surplus of £918.44 (a little less than US$1500).

Vince Docherty says of the initial estimate –

In regard to the figures we provided, note that we made those available with a strong health warning, as they are interim at best, and in the case of the financial figures, still subject to receiving final income or expenses and some items where we suspect a review will result in a cost reduction. These will ideally be resolved in time for the official finance report for Loncon 3 which will be presented at next year’s WSFS Business Meeting.

Kevin Standlee had this to say about the narrow margin:

While the convention was certainly successful, it’s frightening to read the financial figures that currently show a projected surplus of less than £1,000 on a gross of more than £900,000. Basically, Loncon 3 needed every one of those members to hold a once-in-a-generation Worldcon in an incredibly expensive city, and we shouldn’t expect a quick return.

Vince Docherty commented for File 770

I think that Kevin’s point has some general merit: London is very expensive and we knew we needed additional income as compared to Glasgow, though we also knew we would get more members by being in London, as Eastercons there have shown, with their much increased attendance. In fact we had many more members than originally expected, and were able to adjust the budget accordingly, over time. US (and Canadian) Worldcons typically generate about $1m of income and have costs of about three-quarters of that, which means they can afford reimbursements (typically ~$100k), Pass-along-funds and still leave a generous surplus for other things (which sometimes doesn’t get disbursed for many years!) and therefore can have a lighter-touch approach to budgeting.

  • The Loncon 3 committee are still working on the numbers, but to help illustrate the discussion at SMOFcon we provided an informal snapshot of member and financial data for the SMOFcon discussion, which showed it was the largest Worldcon to date in terms of overall registrations (and one of the largest in warm bodies) and the largest in terms of budget in money-of-the-day;
  • We expect L3 will at least have broken-even and might have a small amount of surplus, though it will take some time to finalise the details;
  • This is normal for Worldcons outside North America, given the much higher facilities costs, and is consistent with the last two Glasgow Worldcons, which had final surpluses (before pass-along-funds, as a % of income) of about 3% and 7% respectively (*);
  • The final financial figures also represent the result of a careful approach to budgeting and release of resources over time, which should not be understood as meaning we always expected to only have a safety margin of less than 1% – in fact a contingency of much more than that was always built into the budget and approval to proceed with committing to new things was only done once we were confident we could do so. As mentioned above, we hope the final balance will be more than the snaphshot report shows, once the various outstanding items are closed.

(*)
Financial report by 1995 Worldcon;
Financial report by 2005 Worldcon

Loncon 3, economically, was a much larger project than the previous two UK Worldcons, both held in Glasgow (1995 and 2005).

That included some changes for the better: Loncon 3’s membership income was almost twice that of the 2005 Worldcon. The 2014 bid forwarded £77,830.20 of surplus funds to the con, compared with only £13,605 in 2005. And Loncon 3 received £50,396.75 in pass-along funds from recent Worldcons compared to £41,614 received by the 2005 con.

But Loncon 3 did not have the government help available to the Glasgow Worldcon in 2005, a £88,500 subvention grant provided by the Glasgow City Council to support large events.

That surely would have been welcome, considering the much higher facilities costs in London — Loncon 3’s facilities division estimates it spent £342,172 (about US$534,000). That is both a good deal more than the 2005 Glasgow Worldcon’s facilities expense –  £263,474 – and vastly more than the budget of the San Antonio (2013) Worldcon’s Facilities Division — $82,000.

Other data: Loncon 3 also shared its refined membership and attendance statistics at Smofcon:

The total warm body count (including dealers with passes) was 7,310. The total number of individuals who joined in any capacity was 11,125.

The no-show rate for all attending types was approximately 11.3% (Attending 12.2%, Other 5 Day 18.0% and Day Admissions & Hall Passes 6.4%).

Dublin 2019 Worldcon Bid Proposes Code of Conduct

Dublin_2019 COMPRecent Worldcons have had antiharassment policies but the Dublin in 2019 Worldcon bid believes they are the first to establish a Code of Conduct for a bid campaign.

“It’s very important to us that we make the Dublin in 2019 bid as safe and welcoming as Worldcon itself, should we win, and we feel this is a really important part of the bid from the start,” writes Esther MacCallum-Stewart. They are soliciting comments on the proposed text.

A draft of this Code of Conduct is open for consultation until early January. Everyone, whether they are aware of Worldcon, or entirely new to this historic convention, can comment on what we are doing. We would like help to make this the best bid ever, and that includes making it the safest. We would especially like feedback on our decision to include a newer concept: Code of Conduct contact team members. They are specifically chosen for this task, are not on the Committee or Bid Team, and they can help handle an issue raised in a sensitive manner.

Comments can be provided by e-mail to info@dublin2019.com or through Twitter or Facebook.

The Code of Conduct text follows the jump.

This post also displays their new logo (above) and banner art (below).

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Bids That Draw Help From Around The World

By Crystal Huff: For the past few weeks, New Zealand in 2020 has been soliciting volunteers to go to their website and fill out a form indicating interest in helping staff the convention if they should win. Without a significant amount of staff around the world, they were concerned their endeavor would be doomed to failure even if they got the votes in 2018.

I’m pleased to report that they’ve reached their goal in volunteer recruitment, at least for now. They’ve not released actual numbers yet, but I hope we’ll see them soon. Folks who want to volunteer for NZ but haven’t yet should still head over to NZ in 2020 Needs You and fill out the form toward the bottom, below their announcements.

I find this particularly fascinating because we are using recruitment methods more in line with modern technology and social media. NZ spread the news only on their Facebook and Twitter accounts, so far as I’m aware — as a NZ pre-supporter, at least, I didn’t get any email about it. I note that this effort for NZ has been wildly successful, and possibly even caused them to surpass a statistic on Helsinki in 2017 that I’m quite proud of: Team Helsinki has recruited staff and volunteers representing the bid in 25 countries. In Ye Olde Days, I am under the impression that Worldcon bids were only expected to represent themselves in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. We’ve gone to conventions in Singapore, China, the Caribbean, and, well, all over the world! Worldcon bidding might now actually be a worldwide thing!

But then, you know most things come down to the Helsinki bid, for me. Not surprising that I’m only volunteering for NZ after we know how the vote for 2017 goes. If we get a Worldcon in Helsinki, it’ll impact several of my other potential projects.  ;)