2019 Site Selection: Validating Postal Votes

[Facing]: Johan Anglemark, Mark Linneman, Eemeli Aro, Emma England. [Opposite] Paul Taylor, Ben Yalow, Kate Secor.

By James Bacon: (Chair of the Dublin in 2019 bid). I’m observing the postal vote process. The administrator and the team are assisted by members of the Dublin in 2019 team and committee, people from six countries are taking part. Walter Jon Williams has joined us for a few moments, as I look on. Neutral separators are handling and ensuring it’s all correctly managed.  Worldcon 75 staff check against, their data and the level attention to detail and slow and steady methodical progress is taken seriously. The integrity of the procedure is impressive and I’m stunned at the knowledge of those here who deal with inevitable errors that may have occurred.

Here with me from the Dublin Team are Emma England, Ben Yalow and Paul Taylor. The bids are welcome and indeed expected to help and participate in the whole process, everything is run by volunteers, although this is something I have not done before and it feels like we are momentarily connected to people from far-flung places who want to participate in the decision-making process of who will get to host the Worldcon in 2019.

From Worldcon 75 there is Kate Secor, Michael Lee, Eemeli Aro, Mark Linneman and Johan Anglemark.

The large stack of envelopes is impressive and I’m allowed to photograph some of the stamps which I like. I love post and in many ways this is fabulous post.

Post has arrived at the US address from New Zealand, Germany, Canada and of course United States. The votes arriving at the Helsinki are even more varied with votes from Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Austria, New Zealand, and Germany.

The process takes over two hours but the atmosphere is lovely and it’s an amazing thing to see the mechanics of this process which has existed in this form since 1983.

Science Fiction has permeated so much of our culture that some of the stamps used have particular relevance and make me smile.

More votes will be hand-carried and passed to the voting table from tomorrow and then of course everyone present here is entitled to vote.

 

The Unbearable Lightness of Puppies 5/7

aka Slate Expectations

Today’s lightness comes from Katherine Tomlinson, amalythia, David Gerrold, Brad R. Torgersen, Cat Valente, Voss Foster, Andrew Knighton, Nick Mamatas, William Reichard, P. Llewellyn James, Cheryl Morgan, Bonnie McDaniel, Lisa J. Goldstein, Eemeli Aro, Kate Paulk, Pat Patterson, Tom Knighton, Dan Ammon, John Scalzi and Alexandra Erin. A couple of these are older items that seem to have been missed by earlier roundups. (Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editors of the day Kary English and Daniel P. Dern.)

Katherine Tomlinson on Kattomic Energy

“Hullabaloo over the Hugos” – May 3

When I first heard about the gaming of the system, it was disappointing but I spent decades in L.A. where gaming the system at awards time is a fine art. (Remember how many people were shocked, SHOCKED that Pia Zadora got a Golden Globe Award?)

But I grew up reading science fiction and fantasy. I write it now. And the stories I write and the characters I create reflect the world I live in. Complicated. Diverse. And women do more than open hailing frequencies and get rescued from towers.

The idea that there are writers out there who are trying to hijack two entire genres of writing to advance their political agenda is just not tolerable. I’m not a member of the WSFS but even so, I have skin in the game. Because I love these genres. And it is a delight to discover writers whose work inspires me. And entertains me. Call me a “pissypants” if you like (see above Slate article) but what that cabal of writers did will NEVER be okay for me. And it wouldn’t be okay if they’d had a liberal, left-leaning agenda either.

 

 

amalythia on Medium

“I Do Not Wish to Offend – Short Story” – May 6

[amalythia has written a story in response to Kameron Hurley’s short story “It’s About Ethics in Revolution”.]

There is a large bell in the center of town that used to ring every morning. But then the Minister’s daughter complained that the noise triggered her, by waking her up from her sleep. It doesn’t ring anymore. Instead we’re awoken by a phone call from our manager. My roommate sleeps right through it. I heard her mumble something about not coming in. Again. Ever since our last manager seemed to disappear overnight, when she threatened to fire her for incompetence, no one dares question her. I wear my tag: 0678. I think I had a name at some point, perhaps the one inscribed on the pendant my mother left for me. They don’t allow names anymore, as certain names might offend some people. I wouldn’t want to offend them.

 

David Gerrold on Facebook – May 7

… Second, after we reaffirm our commitment to inclusiveness, we need to consider whether or not the Hugo nominating rules need to be adjusted. I believe that the administrators of the award should have the power to disqualify slate-ballots, but the mechanisms for this might be controversial. (It should be possible to do a computer analysis of the balloting. If 25 or more ballots come in with identical nominees in every category, and they match a publicized slate…that could be considered compelling evidence.) Other proposals have been offered as well, and I expect there to be some vigorous discussion…..

But the point I’m working toward is a difficult one — it’s a conversation that we tend to shy away from. But any functioning community, does have the right to protect itself from disruptive agencies. Groups can and do disinvite those who spoil the party.

The SFWA expelled Vox Day for his unprofessional behavior. Fandom as a community, and the Worldcon as an institution, should have the same power to invite someone to the egress. Other conventions have taken steps to protect themselves from toxic and disruptive individuals — and based on the back-and-forth conversations I’ve seen, and as unpleasant a discussion as this will be, maybe it’s time to have a discussion about the mechanisms for shutting down someone who has publicly declared his intention to destroy the awards.

That’s the point. We cannot talk about healing while the knife is still being twisted in the wound. I can’t speak for the sad puppies, I can’t tell them what to do — but I would hope that they would recognize that being perceived as standing next to a man who wants to destroy the system is not the best place to stand. Despite what’s being said in their own echo chambers, the larger narrative isn’t a good one for the puppies.

 

Brad R. Torgersen in a comment to David Gerrold – May 7

Thing is, no matter how much “daylight” Larry and I put between ourselves and Vox Day, there are people on “your” side, David, who insist that it’s all the same thing. That there is no difference at all.

For five weeks, Larry and myself have had to hear it (from “your” side) about how awful we are.

We invited everyone to the democracy, and we have been awfulized for it. The SP3 voters have been awfulized. Awfulization has been the fad sport of the season. By people who pat themselves on the back for being “inclusive.”

As long as Fandom (caps f) insists on doing “sniff tests” about voters and fans (small f) being the “wrong kind” of people, there won’t be healing. Definitely not. This is the wound Fandom (caps f) has inflicted on itself, after decades of quiet exclusivity. Of telling authors and artists and fans (small f) they’re not the expected, or correct, or sufficiently “fannish” kind of people that Fandom (caps f) deems worthy.

This is why so many fans and professionals *avoid* Worldcon. WSFS. The Hugos. Etc. Because the “sniff test” is very glaring, and if the engineers of “inclusive” exclusivity (they know who they are) succeed in making it so that the poll tax (membership fee) is exorbitant, or that only attending members get to vote on the Hugo, or that the democracy is scuttled altogether (judges “your” side picks, always make sure “your” side gets the answers it wants) then Worldcon gets that much smaller, that much more exclusive, that much less relevant.

Vox Day is a side show. A red herring. Don’t water that weed.

What is Worldcon doing to prove that it is, in fact, WORLDCON? Because any given Comic Con, Dragoncon, et al., beats the pants off Worldcon, in terms of audience youth, audience enthusiasm, and connection to the broader SF/F realm.

To paraphrase a line from one of my favorite films, this isn’t the field you built in your garage anymore.

You can’t arrest Vox Day. You can’t turn off his blog. You can’t touch him. So why fixate on him endlessly?

If Worldcon begins to boast memberships on the order of 30,000 to 55,000 then Vox Day and his influence cease to exist. There is no bloc that can hope to survive those numbers.

So, go big.

Or stay small, and shutter the windows and doors.

One of those choices has a future. The other does not.

 

Cat Valente in a comment on File 770 – May 7

Tintinaus: Regardless of what Dave Freer thinks of me–a writer I barely know who misquotes me at every turn and who, when we met, replied monosyllabically to my friendly overtures while looking like he wanted nothing more than for me to leave, only to go online four years later and claim to know a whole lot about my thoughts and feelings–it makes me sad (AS SAD AS A PUPPY) to hear my SF work once again dismissed as “gussied up” fantasy.

Essentially nothing SFnal I write gets classified as SF. It can take place on other planets, concern itself with science and technology, even have ray guns, and it somehow always gets dismissed with a wave of the hand and an assurance that it’s “just” fantasy. I can think of a lot of science fiction authors with much less hard science than I’ve used in my stories who are never questioned as to which side of the genre they write on. I am genuinely curious whether it’s because I use that pretty language, that I’ve written more fantasy than SF–or maybe my science really is that bad. Or maybe it’s that “hard” SF gets written by men, and the whole conversation is incredibly gendered.

Thing is, I’ve never claimed to write hard SF. I didn’t want to write SF at all for a long time because I was convinced the science fiction community did not want me and would not accept me–funny how that’s still kind of true. I can write about programming and physics till I’m blue in the face but it’ll never be SF for some reason.

And what I said, what I have said over and over at conventions, is that you don’t need a background in math and science to write SF. That’s what research is for. I research like a bear and I would think anyone who’s read my books would laugh at the idea that I think everyone should be ignorant and uneducated–I mostly get called a pretentious, elitist asshole, not a champion of dumbing down. I was trying, as I always do, to assure young writers that they are allowed to write SF even if they don’t have a degree in physics, because I don’t know if people realize how intimidating it can be to even attempt science fiction with a lot of people yelling about getting off their lawn if you’ve never interned for NASA. Or are a dude.

I do not have a science background. I research and I research hard because it’s more difficult for me than folklore and myth, which I’ve studied all my life. But I maintain it’s absurd to say SF can only be written by scientists–absurd and elitist and exclusionary. And honestly, show me the diamond-hard science in the Puppy slate. Show me the PhD peeking out from behind the dust jacket. The kind of SF they advocate, with the buxom ray guns and the strapping spaceships, is NOT hard SF. It’s adventure fiction “gussied up” as science fiction. And that’s fine, but it has no more real science than my gussied up fantasy.

 

Voss Foster on Demon Hunting & Tenth Dimensional Physics

“I Will Walk With You”  – May 6

Now, I’m not a shodan in Aikido (in 4th grade, I had a white belt in karate…), and I don’t have the same presence as Vonda McIntyre. I also hate wearing those badge ribbons. One or two is my max. But I’m 5’10”, and close to 300 pounds (and dropping, yay me!), and I generally look intimidating. But even if I didn’t, like she said, it’s a presence, it’s someone by your side. And I will do that, and happily so. If you feel like you need someone, whatever side of the issue you fall on, I will walk with you.

 

Andrew Knighton

“Change, Reaction and Pain – Coping With Cultural Backlash” – April 29

I love that the world is changing. I love the variety that brings and the novelty it creates within our culture, even as the dark fingers of uncertainty send tremors of fear through my body.

Unfortunately, fear of change is currently rearing its big, ugly head all over geek culture.

The most prominent and hideous example of this is the treatment of feminists in computer gaming. There are some great designers and critics out there critiquing the domination of gaming by white, straight, male gamers and characters, and the way this excludes others. This has triggered a huge backlash, in which people have been called the vilest names and even had their lives threatened for expressing their opinions on a medium they love.

Then there’s the fuss, for the second year in a row, around science fiction and fantasy’s Hugo awards. I think there are a lot of problems with the Hugos, but they’re certainly high profile within the core of sf+f. This year, a reactionary group have managed to dominate the nominations with a slate of conservative, white, male authors. It’s a shame, but it is at least getting people engaged with the awards, and may favour the pro-diversity arguments in the long run.

 

Nick Mamatas in a comment on Ask.fm – May 7

Screw real politics, what about the hugo’s? Torgersen write anymore slash or did Correia just cry for like the twentieth time about how life is unfair and everyone was so mean to him at worldcon?

Brad made a mildly homophobic remark regarding Scalzi, which half the planet had to blog about because it was just soooo awful and apparently now the US will fall to ISIS because how can Brad’s soldiers trust him now?

Anyway, under Sharia law, launching politicized slates for the Hugos is barred, so I guess the problem has solved itself!

 

William Reichard

“Cry ethics and let slip the puppies of war” – May 7

In which I am called a liar, though perhaps not in a way that’s literally, dialectically true but is actually more true because it lets me see the truth, which is that I am lying. Maybe. Or something.

 

William Reichard

“The day I got mentioned on Vox Day’s blog” – May 7

His Voxness mentions me in what may be some kind of compliment, though it may also translate as “you are fairly amusing…for a slave boy with inherently limited mental capacities and basic worth.” But hey, us Rhetoricals take what we can get, right? I know from long experience that my flame-retardant suit is far too flimsy to sustain me in any battle with the mighty forces arrayed off my port bow and preparing to decloak at any sign of hostile intent, so my only hope is to position myself as a jester, dancing merrily on the sidelines and dodging the occasional peach pit. So, hopefully, everyone’s still laughing.  Ergo…where was I again?

 

P. Llewellyn James on The Refuge

“Hugo : ‘Skin Game’ the Best Novel?”  – May 6

There are five books nominated for Best Novel for the 2105 Hugo awards. The winner will be chosen by a few thousand votes from among those who have registered as a member of WorldCon. But what does the wider audience of readers think of the books? Here are some Amazon statistics as of today May 6th. Voting closes on July 31st.

I’m using two measures – the overall sales rank, and my own invented ‘approval rating’, or calculation of positive to negative reviews ((5star + 4star)/(2star + 1star))….

Predictions

The overwhelming favorite on the basis of its approval rating is Skin Game, which is also the second-best seller in Kindle format.

The best-selling book in Kindle format is Lines of Departure, and it has the second-best approval rating.

 

Cheryl Morgan

“A Little Awards News”  – May 7

Also yesterday the Arthur C. Clarke Award continued its journey away from science fiction and towards literary respectability. This year the award went to a beautifully written piece of sentimental twaddle aimed at the sort of pretentious hipsters who think that suffering an apocalypse means being unable to have iPhones, Sunday supplements and skinny flat lattes. It is a very long time since a book without a trans character made me as viscerally angry as Station 11 did. However, I don’t appear to have sent any death threats to the Clarke jury. Nor have I vowed to destroy the award, or even decided that it is “broken”. In fact I rather suspect that the Clarke will do better next year without any help from me. Clearly I am doing this social media thing all wrong.

Then again, I am confident that the winner of this year’s Hugos will be a far better science fiction novel than the winner of the Clarke.

 

Adult Onset Atheist

“SNARL: Flow” – May 6

This is a review of “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, November 2014)

Overall this was an engaging novella. This is such a grand departure from the other four nominees that I will have awarded this story five whole stars (out of 10) by the time I have done reviewing it. I am sure it would have not scored as well if the competition was not so utterly dreadful.

 

Bonnie McDaniel on Red Headed Femme

“The Hugo project: ‘Totaled’” –  April 30

The Hugo Project: “Totaled”

(Note: this is the newest in a series of posts wherein I review as many of the 2015 Hugo nominees as I can, and explain why I will or will not vote for them.) Hot damn. I finally stumbled upon a decent story. Actually, this story is pretty good, even if its premise is downright terrifying.

 

Lisa J. Goldstein on theinferior4

“The Hugo Ballot, Part 4: Short Stories” – May 6

“On a Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli takes place on a planet where “the living and the spirits of the dead coexist side by side” for the sentient race there, the Ymilans.  One day a human, Joe McDonald, dies on Ymilas, and then manifests in spirit form.  The human chaplain learns from the Ymilan chief cleric that Joe’s soul has to make a pilgrimage to the north pole so it can “move on,” and so the three of them — the chaplain, the Ymilan, and Joe’s ghost — set off from the Terran base near the equator.

I would have liked more description of the Ymilans — all we’re told about them is that they’re “large.”  I would have also liked more description of the trek across half the planet, but we see only electrical storms, and, towards the end, “diminishing hills.”  I would have liked some sense of ceremony or ritual when the soul dissipates, but here Antonelli seems to have anticipated readers like me, because he has the Ymilan cleric say, “I’m sorry, I forget your people put a great deal of stock in theater and rituals, which is to be expected in such an immature race.”  Okay, then.

 

Eemeli Aro in a comment on Charles Stross’ Antipope – April 5

[Comments about Worldcon site selection seemed tangential when I started doing these roundups, but after T.C. McCarthy’s tweet and the ensuing discussion here, I am going to link to this so I know where to find the quote in the future.]

Eemeli Aro:  This is what I posted about Castalia House on a mailing list earlier today (for context, I’m chairing the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid and somewhat involved in both Finnish and Worldcon fandoms):

I’d like to note that Castalia House has practically no connection with Finnish sf fandom, and they have never had a presence at any Finnish con. The only communication with the proprietor (Markku Koponen) that I’ve been a party to is a post by him to a Finnish sf mailing list last April, where he states (translating), “As must be clear to most, Castalia House is ideologically opposed to the majority of practically all fannish groups in this country.”

So in brief, no, the Finns that are members of Sasquan on account of having participated in the 2015 site selection vote or that have purchased a membership since then to participate in said process this year are unlikely to be aligned with the supporters of works published by Castalia House.

We do, on the other hand, have a thriving small press and short story scene, and a rather unique fanzine tradition, all of which is well integrated with Finnish fandom at large. Of course that’s mostly hidden from American eyes, as it tends to produce content in Finnish. If you’re interested in such, though, we do have a few things coming out this spring and summer that will be in English.

 

Kate Paulk on Mad Genius Club

“A Mad Genius Goes To RavenCon – Part the Final” – May 7

With a mere hour remaining ere her final panel of the day, Kate the Impaler did rest for a time, whereupon a member of that most secret guild of SMOF did approach her and divulge that the campaign to end the sorrow of young canines was indeed sending waves of shock through the grand halls of fandom, and how in response some sought to wrest that jewel of fandom, the Convention of World, from any locale where the friends of sorrowful young canines might gather, and take it to a far distant place that in isolation they might gather in force and thereby bring about changes to the Rules of Hugo, thus condemning the young canines to eternal sorrow. (For those not inclined to translate: read up on the contenders for the 2017 Worldcon, pay your $40 and vote. You’ll be a supporting member for 2017 before the price rise kicks in, and you get to choose where it is. Vote for the best candidate. Ignore that I like Washington, DC as a venue. I only like it because it’s the only one I could drive to).

The warrior maiden did assure the SMOF that voting would indeed be encouraged, and promised that no secrets would be divulged, for yea, as the house of fandom is divided, so too is the secret guild of SMOF.

 

Schlock Magazine

“Pop Culture Destruction – Forgive Me, For I Have Failed To Destroy Pop Culture”  – May 7

If you’ve been following any goings on in the world of genre/science fiction literature you’ve surely heard of last month’s controversy surrounding the Hugo Awards, which got hijacked by literal fascists in the name of promoting what amounts to little more than right wing propaganda. And that’s before internet scum collective GamerGate got involved. In any case, writer Philip Sandifer has this excellent roundup of the sorry debacle on his blog, to which I can only add that, at this point, the Hugos can only fixed with the application of a bullet to the head.

 

Pat Patterson on Papa Pat Rambles

“Laura Mixon Gets It Right” – May 4

Again: if you have not read Laura’s report, do so. I do not know whether she will win the Hugo in the “Best Fan Writer” or not; she is competing against four other respected fan writers, three of whom I consider to be personal friends. I plan to vote for Nunaya Bidness, but if I were on the slate against her, I would consider that to be an honor-by-association.

 

Tom Knighton

“Woman wants to ban men at literary readings, a fisking” – May 6

I’m sorry, but you can’t claim on one hand that women are self-censoring from raising their hands, and then say it’s not their fault that they’re not raising their hands.  Women aren’t punished for asking questions as adults.

She claims that the moderators don’t notice them, but you know who moderators are far more likely to notice? People raising their damn hands, for one!  Yes, I know they skipped over Livingston, and while she wasn’t their target, they really couldn’t know that, but how prevalent is the situation?  Honestly, maybe it’s just personal.  If these are the same folks, maybe they just don’t like her for some reason?

 

Dan Ammon on The Shield

”Why and How The Hugo Awards Should Be” – April 18

But that doesn’t matter. What matters here are the fact that sci-fi books aren’t being judged on their merit, but their politics. So here’s how I propose to fix that:

A) THE NEUTRAL BENIGN COMMITTEE

What I propose is an apolitical committee that votes on which books, comics, scripts, short stories, etc, should receive nominations to the awards, based on their merit. How would this come into existence? Simply by finding the most apathetic people alive, have the Hugo voters, lefty and righty alike, deliberate and nominate them, then subject these nominees to a lie detector test to make sure they are actually apolitical, and not being paid off by either side.

 

 

Alexandra Erin on Blue Author Is About To Write

“Sad Puppies Review Books: GREEN EGGS AND HAM” – May 7

green-eggs-and-ham-217x300

Sadly much like 1984 this book ends with the protagonist giving in before the onslaught. He does love Big Brother. He does like green eggs and ham. He will eat them with the fox. In a perverse mockery of holy communion, he will eat them with the goat (like Pan or Baphomet, or other guises worn by Satan). This is preparing our children to have not just their food supplies controlled but also their minds and very souls.

A child indoctrinated by this book is not only trained to give in to the illegitimate application of government authority but is also primed to use these techniques to convince others. Unless your children are strong-willed and well-trained to recognize these tricks and traps I recommend keeping this book the hell away from them.

If you have raised your children right as I have done with mine then your best bet is to take a hands-on approach. I read this book to my children, taking care to explain the subtle SJW traps that were on every page. I am pleased to report that they showed no interest in it afterwards.

Gosh It All To Hecksinki in 2017

Crystal Huff shared this link to the most recent “Finnish educational video” by the Helsinki in 2017 Worldcon bid.

Eemeli and Saija Aro’s children, Lumi and Papu, teach viewers some key Finnish cuss words.

Anybody ready to swear a mighty oath to vote for the bid now will have the vocabulary to do it.

“I am now trying to learn how to say ‘oh, poopnuggets!’ in Finnish,” says Crystal.

I bet that’s something Rosetta Stone doesn’t teach…

Shamrokon Miscellany

Shamrokon, the 36th Eurocon, came to an end today in Dublin, the ”city that helped Bram Stoker work out how to describe what a vampire’s skin would look like”.

GUFF delegate and Tim Tam smuggler Gillian Pollak said the candy was key to the success of the Shamrokon auction which raised “an extra 555 euros.”

Legendary Irish fanzine fan Thomas Ferguson handed out copies of Götterdämmerung Redux, the best writing from 11 issues of the Belfast SF fandom fanzine.

And throughout the weekend some of the bids campaigning at Shamrokon have been drawn into the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I’m not going to make an exhaustive list, but in my favorite two fans get the works — Helsinki in 2017 bidder Eemeli Aro is doused by a one-boy bucket brigade then, on the other side of the world, Adam Beaton gets deluged before calmly replacing his trademark red porkpie hat on his soggy head.

Finland Bids for Worldcon in 2017

The Helsinki in 2017 committee has published more details about its composition and goals.

Eemeli Aro will chair the bid with Karoliina Leikomaa as the bid’s Project Manager. Currently, the other bid committee members are Crystal Huff, Jukka Halme and Hanna Hakkarainen.

The proposed venue is the Messukeskus, Expo and Convention Centre Helsinki. They propose to hold the convention to in August.

The announcement is signed by Eemeli Aro, Juha Autero, Tuomas Colliander, Hanna Hakkarainen, Jukka Halme, Benedict Hirvi, Crystal Huff, Tomi Junnila, Pasi Karppanen, Sanna Kellokoski, Harri Kiiskinen, Karo Leikomaa, Susanna Leppälahti, Mika Loponen, Hanne Martelius, Mitja “WuMing” Mieskolainen, Sini Neuvonen, Sari Polvinen, Ben Roimola, Mikko Seppänen, Vesa Sisättö, Shimo Suntila, Vilgot Strömsholm, Jukka Särkijärvi, and Elisa Wiik.

Presently the http://helsinkiin2017.org/ URL just leads to a Google doc of the announcement. They’re also on Twitter @helsinkiin2017.

Hugo Multiplication Tabled

An impassioned march on the Worldcon Business Meeting is expected Friday morning to make sure no Hugos are subtracted. Then, depending on how much of the agenda survives the preliminary meeting, members may get a chance on Saturday to play Santa by adding two new Hugos and radically expanding eligibility for another.

For the third consecutive year voters will be asked to create a YA Hugo category. This time called Best Youth Book, the Hugo would be given to “a science fiction or fantasy book published in the previous calendar year for young adults, middle readers, or children.”

The 2012 motion to create a Best Young Adult Fiction Hugo failed 51-67, however, losing a relatively close vote represented an improvement from the year before when the YA Hugo motion never made it to the floor, being disposed of by a vote to object to consideration.

Attendees of this year’s Business Meeting will also be invited to further subdivide the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo by adding a category for short length works.

Proposed by Eemeli Aro and seconded by James Bacon, John Coxon, and Jesi Pershing, this new Hugo would be given to a “video, audio recording or other production, with a complete running time of less than 15 minutes, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects.”

They say an extra category will “provide a more even ground for the promotion and popularization of both more and less professional short films, filk songs, commercials, and even acceptance speeches” which are now being overwhelmed by episodes of TV shows.

The existing Long Form category would continue to cover work more than 90 minutes in length, but be renamed “Best Dramatic Presentation, Feature Length Long Form.” The Short Form category would become “Best Dramatic Presentation, Mid-Length Short Form” and cover works 15 to 90 minutes in length.

Lastly, Joshua Kronengold and Lisa Padol want to transform the Best Fan Artist Hugo into something that can also be won by “musical, dance, jewelry and costuming artists.”

The new eligibility definition would be — “An artist or cartoonist working in any visual or performance medium whose work has appeared through publication in semiprozines or fanzines or through other public, non-professional, display (including at a convention or conventions) during the previous calendar year.”

Illustrators and cartoonists appearing in fanzines and semiprozines would remain eligible. Kronengold and Padol, in a commentary, say animators and artists working in special effects would also be eligible. But the motion’s fate could depend on wooing votes from costumers and filkers onsite at LSC3. Saturday is also the day of the masquerade, so costumers might need to juggle the demands on their schedules if they want to vote for the change.

Two Worldcon Apps Released

LoneStarCon 3 now offers fans two mobile apps to track Worldcon program information. Both are available for iOS and Android devices and should work on all current and recent operating system versions.

The official in-house application developed by David Brummel has a user interface following the classic iOS app style appearance. In addition to program information, it will communicate real-time party information and a newsletter feed. Get it at www.LoneStarCon3.org/mobile/.

There also is an interactive program guide developed by Eemeli Aro designed to run on full size screens as well as handheld devices. The program guide is integrated into LSC3’s website for regular user browsing. Find it at www.LoneStarCon3.org/guide/.

Both applications allow marking of individual program items as favorites, so the user can create a personal convention schedule.

The first Worldcon app was produced by Renovation two years ago and Chicon 7 followed suit. Congratulations to LoneStarCon 3 for providing this convenience again.

Alternative Facilities for Helsinki in 2015 Bid

Do they celebrate April Fool’s Day in Finland? Eemeli Aro made sure they did this year.

The Helsinki in 2015 Worldcon bid wants to host the con in the Helsinki Exhibition and Conference Centre. But what if things don’t work out? The bid has lots of alternatives, shown in three short YouTube videos.

Laakson Ratsastusstadion, an outdoor event center.

“Plan B”, grandma’s apartment.

Helsinki City Transport, using public spaces around the city. (I especially like their idea of forcing Smofs hold the Business Meeting on the snow-covered, stone steps of whatever official building that is).

Says Aro, “Today seemed like a good day to make this public.”

Watch the videos and you’ll know why everyone hopes they’re allowed to use the Exhibition Centre. Jukka Halme and Eemeli Aro explore its nooks and crannies in another series of five YouTube videos posted here.

Mitchell: Bid Type Signifiers

[Editor’s Note: At Smofcon Finnish fan Eemeli Aro presented a Mariehamn in 2016 Worldcon bid that left the internet wondering whether he was serious or not. The debate inspired Petréa Mitchell to devise a set of criteria for diagnosing hoax convention bids which she posted to the SMOFS list. Having some experience perpetrating hoax bids myself, I was thoroughly entertained by her thought experiment. Petréa has given her permission to repost it.]

While waiting to get a definitive statement from the Mariehamn bid on its intended level of seriousness, I got to thinking about how we tell hoax bids and non-hoax bids apart, because I am a bit of a social psychology geek. (I’m a programmer, and my particular interest is in usability issues, which means having to learn a lot about how the human brain works.)

When I tried making a list of sensible-sounding criteria, I realized most of them actually don’t work. To wit:

(1) Date: Works if it’s obviously outrageous, e.g. Christmas, or in the past, or a year centuries in the future.

(2) Location: Again, has to be really obvious, like fictional (Xerps, Z’ha’dum), or not a city (Aberdeen Proving Ground). “Too small/out-of-the-way” is a criticism that gets made of actual Worldcon bids from time to time (remember the discussion about perceived lack of air connections to Spokane recently?).

(3) Silliness of campaign: IIRC, most of the content on the Australia in 2010 Web site when it first appeared was the timeline of how the bid started with an ill-chosen remark. The first Orlando bid poster is riffing on the Cuban Missile Crisis. Serious bids have no trouble getting silly, so this actually doesn’t work as a signifier.

(4) Degree of online presence: The site for Mariehamn consists of a single page, but between that, its Facebook page, and it Twitter account, it has more of an online presence than all the apparently-serious-so-far bids for 2017-2019 combined.

(5) Degree of organization: I’m guessing that most people would expect all the hoax bids to be run by a bunch of slackers and everything else to be polished efforts by well-organized groups. OTOH, I expect everyone on this list has encountered the occasional counterexample.

(6) SMOF density: Thinking over some recent hoax bids I’m familiar with, I think the hoaxes may actually have a slightly higher average level of conrunning experience involved.

So the confusion over the Mariehamn bid is due to #3-#6 being useless, sounding plausible on #1, and mixed appraisals of #2.

Given how many of these don’t work, it’s a wonder that most of the time everyone’s able to tell immediately which ones are the serious bids and which are the hoaxes.

[Postscript: We’re now reliably informed that Mariehamn is not a serious bid.]

[Petréa Mitchell regularly contributes to several fannish blogs and writes a quarterly sf-oriented fanzine named Picofarad, “The zine of little capacity.”]