Worldcon 75 Developments

Karen Lord. (Photo by Marlon James.)

Karen Lord. (Photo by Marlon James.)

(1) Karen R.A. Lord has been named Worldcon 75’s Toastmistress.

(2) Worldcon 75 has released Progress Report 3. Download it free here.

If you have paid for paper publications, you will also receive a printed PR3 in the post early next month. If you have not paid for paper publications, you are still welcome to print out this PR3 and savor its wisdom and knowledge in a nice warm sauna or elsewhere, or to enjoy its pixels directly on your screen.

(2) PR3 contains articles on:

  • Words of Wisdom from our Guests of Honour
  • We introduce our Toastmistress!
  • Hugo Nomination information and ballot
  • Finnish foods and where to find them
  • A brief history of Finnish fandom, part 2
  • and much more!

(4) Storycom will provide support for two Chinese fans to attend Worldcon 75 who are willing to work this year’s con and help with a future Chinese Worldcon bid. Here is the bilingual link for the funding: http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/DN8UO45YFxeANe_IReUExQ

Worldcon 75 Attending Funding for Chinese Fans

In order to encourage Chinese fans to take active part in Worldcons and enhance the communication between Chinese and international fandom, Storycom sets up this Worldcon 75 Attending Funding. 2 active Chinese fans will be selected and granted RMB 10,000 each, for their attendance in and work for Worldcon 75, which will be held in Helsinki in August 2017. The beneficiaries should buy attending memberships for Worldcon 75, book their flights and hotels, as well as apply for visa by themselves, with the help of Storycom. The beneficiaries should also volunteer to work for Worldcon 75 and promise to take active part in attending and organizing both domestic and international science fiction activities in the future.

1. The applicant must be a Chinese citizen and live in mainland China.
2. The applicant must be a science fiction fan and have experience in organizing science fiction activities.
3. The applicant must be available during August 9-13, 2017 and can attend Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland. He/she should also volunteer to work for Worldcon 75 before the con actually takes place.
4. The applicant should promise that he/she will help with future Chinese Worldcon bid if there is any.
5. The applicant’s English proficiency should meet the requirements of working for Worldcon 75.

Applications will be judged by:

  • Xia Jia, science fiction writer, Associate Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University
  • Jukka Halme, Chair of Worldcon 75

Crystal Huff Resigns as Co-Chair of Worldcon 75

Crystal Huff, who spent years working to bring the Worldcon to Helsinki and, after they won the bid for 2017, became co-chair of Worldcon 75, resigned today citing the need to give family and career priority. She will continue working on the con in another role.

The committee responded on Twitter:

[Thanks to Mark-kitteh for the story.]

Worldcon 75 Apologizes for ‘Grave Mishandling’ of Weingart Firing

A growing controversy over Dave Weingart’s termination as Music department head, fanned to life by his explanation and complaint on LiveJournal, and the 2017 Helsinki Worldcon committee’s effort to explain and justify their actions on Facebook, now has been defused by the Worldcon 75 issuing an apology and taking down its Facebook thread about the matter. Weingart says he has also received a verbal apology from one of the chairs.

Worldcon 75 would like to apologise for the grave mishandling of a personnel issue over the past few weeks, in particular regarding communication, the delays in our responses, and for our role in escalating the situation. Specifically, we would like to apologise to both our current and former staffers, who are now experiencing harassment from various parties. We would also like to apologise to our staff and to the Worldcon community at large for the lack of transparency in how this issue was handled and for our missteps in communication about it.

In order to prevent issues like this from recurring, we are taking steps to improve our internal hiring practices, our staff services communications, and our public-facing communications.

  1. Worldcon 75 will no longer discuss this personnel matter with the public. We have deleted the earlier statement on this topic with the full knowledge and blessing of the current and former staffers involved.
  2. We will ensure that our staff services and social media teams are well-versed in compassionate communications across cultural differences and have a range of solutions available to them when issues arise.
  3. All senior staff will receive further management training and information.
  4. Communications with staff about behaviour and conduct expectations will be timely and explicit. All staff will have an opportunity to discuss any expectation placed on them with staff services and the chairs.
  5. Worldcon 75 will publish our Code of Conduct on 31 October 2016. We have a draft in review and are working with all our staff to make sure that it clearly communicates the values of Worldcon 75.
  6. An internal conflict-resolution policy will be formulated and published to staff by 1 December 2016.
  7. We reaffirm our commitment to making this convention a fun and safe experience for all our staff and members through clever, competent, and kind management.

… Thank you, Jukka Halme, Crystal Huff, and the Staff Services Division of Worldcon 75

Weingart had already made private his LiveJournal posts about the controversy in reaction to Vox Day linking to them from Vox Popoli:

Because Vox Day and his miserable crew of people have glommed onto my disagreement with Worldcon 75 I have made my DW/LJ posts mentioning any other party private. I’ve done likewise with my FB posts.

After Worldcon 75 took down its Facebook thread, Weingart responded:

The wording of Worldcon’s posted apology is something I agreed to verbally on the phone with one of the co-chairs on 2016-10-10, when I was also given a verbal apology. Worldcon’s deleting their other post on this subject (on the Worldcon 75 page) was done with my explicit permission as well.

Whatever the disagreement, neither Worldcon 75 nor I want Vox Day to have anything to do with this.

[Thanks to Karl-Johan Norén and Dave Langford for the story.]

Worldcon 75 Chair Responds

Jukka Halme

Jukka Halme

[There’s been quite a bit of discussion here about accommodations for the Helsinki Worldcon, the relative convenience of getting back and forth to the 2017 Worldcon site, and whether voters were aware of the facts. Chair Jukka Halme left a response in comments, and it seemed a good idea to make it a post so more will see it.]

Hello, Worldcon 75 Co-Chair Jukka Halme here.

I’d like to thank Terhi (and others) for addressing a number of issues here and giving answers we should have on our website. We have every intention of adding more information there about Helsinki, hotels, traveling, eating, parties etc. This will take time and effort, but I believe we’ll have more than a fair amount of this info available before the end of 2016. Comments and questions are always welcomed, especially if they come directly to us, via email (info@worldcon.fi) or various SoMe channels.

We apologise for any miscommunication, but I’m afraid I have to beg to differ with, or at least comment on, some of the claims raised here.

When bidding, we did mention that there was a hotel attached to the Helsinki Exhibition and Congress Center Messukeskus. We were always clear to point out, however, that it is the only hotel close to Messukeskus and that most people would have to find accommodation somewhere else, namely Downtown area. This fact was never hidden, obfuscated or covered up. We apologise that this information did not reach everyone, but the bid never hid this fact.

As to traveling to the convention site from the centre of Helsinki, I cannot even remember how many times we explained the various ways of reaching Messukeskus. It takes five minutes to travel by train from the Helsinki Central Railway station to Pasila, and back. And those trains leave every other minute during day.

Trams are slower, but will make the same trip in 20-25 minutes or so. Adding walking time from and to the hotel makes it more or less what Terhi states in one of her many messages. As we said on our bid FAQ: “There are about 40 hotels within 20 minutes’ travel by public transport”.

On Twitter, Mark Gerrits made this nice map: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer?mid=1Iiu0EwyuGmmRYsmNY-IlnDJ5T4k Helsinki does have a fair number of other hotels besdes the ones shown here, but these should be the ones we have blocked rooms.

Walking distance from the Central Railway station to Messukeskus is 2,5 miles or 4 kilometers. It would take me forever, or about 45 minutes and I’m a slow walker.

I understand that not everyone is Finnish, or even European, and have ways different from us. I know, shocking. “Si fueris Romae” and all that.

It’s a big world, and we really would like to bring a piece of that world to Worldcon with our little convention here in Helsinki next year. I welcome you all: Tervetuloa!

Pixel Scroll 3/27/16 (I’ll Never Be Your) Star Beast of Burden

(1) DANGER WILL ROBINSON! “’Lost in Space’ robot saved from Valley Village fire” reports Daily News.

TV and movie props that included a robot reportedly from TV’s “Lost in Space” were saved from destruction late Wednesday in Valley Village due to the efforts of Los Angeles firefighters.

The LAFD responded about 11:30 p.m. to a garage fire in the 5100 block of Whitsett Avenue. Firefighters attacked the blaze, which was electrical in nature, a fire department spokesman told a photographer at the scene.

The home belongs to a prop designer and special effects artist who was out of town at the time, according to a caretaker who woke to the smell of smoke.

(2) JOCULARITY. Two Easter hams are heard from.

(3) HEARSAY. Mark Evanier’s friend has convinced him this weekend’s blockbuster is “Not the World’s Finest” – as he explains at News From ME.

I don’t have a whole lot of interest in seeing the new Batman Vs. Superman movie, a film which has achieved something I didn’t think was possible. It actually caused my dear friend Leonard Maltin to use the word “sucks” in his review. Even Rob Schneider never managed that and lord, how he tried.

(4) PARAGRAPH FROM A FUTURE TRIP REPORT. GUFF delegate Jukka Halme outlined how he spent the day.

Sunday at Contact 2016 has been a small whirlwind. Moderated my first panel (Through New Eyes), which went really well. Chatted way too long at the Fan Fund table with the Usual Suspects. Bought books. Just a few. Waited ages for my Pad Thai at the hotel restaurant, that was brimming with people and not too many employees, Presented a Ditmar, with a little bit of Bob Silverberg routine (VERY little) to Galactic Suburbia. Held an auction for fan funds, which went smashingly well. And missed the bar, since this is a dry state and while it is apparently OK to sell alcohol during Easter Sunday, places either close up really early, or everybody had left the bar.

(5) AN AUTHOR’S USE OF NAVAJO CULTURE. “Utah author features Navajo characters, history in new science fiction thriller” in Deseret News.

After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, Robison Wells, who lives in Holladay, fell in love with both the area and the people he served. When he wrote his newest book, “Dark Energy” (HarperTeen, $17.99, ages 13 and up), which features several Native American characters and is scheduled to be released March 29, he worried about portraying them in the correct way.

“I wanted to show respect for the culture,” he said. “I didn’t want to appropriate their culture or their traditions.”

He sent his manuscript out to a lot of Navajo readers to get their reactions and tried to adjust his book accordingly. He knew writing a story centering on Native American characters and history would be a difficult and controversial thing to do, but he felt that it was such a compelling story that he had to tell it.

(6) ADDRESS FOR HAMNER CONDOLENCES. Anyone wishing to send a letter or card to the family may do so at the address below.

Jane Hamner
P.O. Box 220038
Newhall, CA 91322

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born March 27, 1963 — Quentin Tarantino

(8) TODAY’S BLOOD-PRESSURE BOOSTER. Jason Sanford says “The Retro Hugo Awards must be fixed”.

If any particular Worldcon wants to give out Retro Hugos, then e-book and/or online anthologies of eligible authors and stories must be made available to those nominating for the awards. And that must include works which are not in the public domain. Yes, it would take time to do this but I imagine most publishers and/or author estates would be willing to make the stories available for members at no cost.

But even if voters have access to stories from decades ago, it’s still unlikely that as many people will take part in the Retro Hugo nominating process as takes part in nominating for the regular Hugos. This, unfortunately, leaves the Retro Hugos open to missing important works and to being gamed.

To fix this here’s my next suggestion: Use a combination of juries and regular Worldcon members to nominate works for the Retro Hugos. 

I know juries seem like the ultimate insider power play, but when you’re dealing with stories published 75 or 100 years ago it can be useful to have experts in that genre time period also nominating stories. Perhaps the jury could nominate two of the five works in each category, and Worldcon members could nominate three of five. This also seems like a sensible way to make sure the nominated stories are truly the best that year has to offer.

(9) CAN MUSK AFFORD A MARTIAN ODYSSEY? “Neil deGrasse Tyson to Elon Musk: SpaceX Is ‘Delusional’ About Mars”. A writer at The Motley Fool explains Tyson’s reasons.

In less than 10 years from now, SpaceX may or may not beat NASA in the race to Mars. Astrophysicist, Hayden Planetarium director, and host of the National Geographic Channel’s StarTalk Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is placing his bet on “not.”

“The delusion is thinking that SpaceX is going to lead the space frontier. That’s just not going to happen…” Tyson said in an interview with The Verge. Tyson laid out his arguments for why fans of a solo SpaceX trip to Mars suffer from a “delusion.” According to Tyson, there are three main reasons SpaceX cannot go to Mars on its own.

Reason 1: Cost

“So if you’re going to bring in investors or venture capitalists and say, ‘Hey, I have an idea, I want to put the first humans on Mars.’ They’ll ask, ‘How much will it cost?’ You say, ‘A lot,'” Tyson said in the interview.

Tyson says it’s “very expensive” to go to Mars. How expensive? Some estimate $30 billion, but a bill of $160 billion isn’t out of the question, and critics in Congress charge that the total cost could reach $500 billion….

(10) CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE? Camestros Felapton is away traveling for a month. During their absence, Timothy the Talking Cat has taken over the blog, and has been busy posting such literary gems as “Timothy retells Dune”.

…Now there was this posh elitist liberal progressive family called the Artyfarties. They like super sucked at making money. The dad was a real wimp and the mum was in some sort of feminist cult. The son looked like the crazy guy in Agents of Shield but younger and more wimpy. The kid Artyfarties thought he was so much smarter than everybody but was a big wimp.

Now Boss Harkonen took pity on the Artyfarties. Big mistake! But he had a kind heart and he hated to see the Artyfarties suck so badly at businessing. So Boss Harkonen says to Dad Artyfarties: “You can run this planet for me. It is the only place you get Old Spice Magic which makes people young and makes spaceships run. It’s a classic monopoly, you can’t go wrong. Just don’t screw it up!” ….

(11) MEASURING SUCTION. Which is worse? Timothy the Cat’s retelling, or David Lynch’s? It’s close. Here’s Jonathan K. Dick’s evaluation of the movie at A.V Club, Dune can’t capture the novel’s incalculable brilliance”.

So what the hell is wrong with Lynch’s Dune? Before the collective “everything” echoes through the internet, it’s important to understand that the phrase itself “Lynch’s Dune” should already throw up the kind of red flags usually reserved for impending, air-raid level danger. Four years removed from his time behind the chair as director for the spirit-lifting biopic The Elephant Man and its eight Academy Award nominations, Lynch received the go-ahead from producer Raffaella De Laurentiis to direct the film adaption of Dune. This after 20 years, no less than 10 directors, producers, screenwriters, scripts, and general filmmaking anxiety that included the likes of Ridley Scott, Rudy Wurlitzer, Robert Greenhut, and of course the brilliantly documented attempt by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

(12) FIRST SEASON FLINTSONES COSPLAY? The Traveler from Galactic Journey amusingly interprets cosplay at this weekend’s WonderCon in terms of what fans knew in 1961 — “[March 27, 1961] What A Wonder! (WonderCon)”.

These are generally smallish affairs compared to their business-oriented cousins, with attendance running into the hundreds.  But for the fan who normally has a local community of just a half-dozen fellows (and perhaps many more as pen pals), going to a convention is like a pilgrimage to Mecca.  One meets people with completely different experiences, different perspectives.  There is the opportunity to get news from far and wide on exciting new projects, both fan and professional.  And the carousing is second to none, both in the heights of enthusiasm and creativity.

Take a look at my newly developed roll of shots from “WonderCon”, a sizeable affair held last weekend in Los Angeles.  These are some dedicated fans, some fabulous costumes, and some terrific times!

First off, a few attendees who came in street clothes: …

(13) MILESTONES ABOVE THE SKY. Motherboard advises that “‘In Space We Trust’ is a Beautiful History of Exploration”

In the timeline (which for all its beauty will entirely monopolize your CPU usage) you navigate the history of space as a young cosmonaut. The timeline begins with the October 4, 1957 launch of Sputnik and takes the user through all the major space milestones: first spacecraft, journeys to other planets, landings on celestial bodies.

Each milestone is accompanied by a series of stunning animations, a brief description of the event and a link to a Wikipedia page on the topic in case you want to read more. Your journey is orchestrated with an ethereal soundtrack that is overlaid with sounds from space like cosmonauts on a radio or rocket engines igniting.

 

 [Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Martin Morse Wooster, and Will R. for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

Adventure Interruptus

Jukka Halme’s GUFF travel schedule looked like it might be shot to hell on the very first day.

My goodness! Where has the time gone? It’s already the 19th of March and I’ll be taking off in less than 10 hours! Kääk! I have so many things I need to do.

While I’m tripping the Australia fantastic, I’ll try to be more active with this blog, my Facebook page and Twitter, but all that will depend on my chances of getting online. Here’s hoping.

My Australian schedule looks something like this:

21.3. Arriving in Sydney at 6:50AM

Flight delayed due to broken windshield. Will miss my connecting flight from Singapore to Sydney. Everything will be revealed when we get to Chengi. I hope.

Finnair shows his flight is still en route at this writing.

He also told his Facebook friends —

Not only did they replace the windshield, but they found an malfunctioning antenna in the fuselages that added the repair time. Added excitement!

Follow developments on Twitter, @jukkahoo, and his blog, Eating Muffins in an Agitated Manner.

Update 03/20/2016: Halme has made it to Singapore and expects to reach Sydney about four hours later than originally scheduled. // Halme has arrived —

Jukka Halme Wins GUFF

Jukka Halme

Jukka Halme

It should not come as a surprise that Jukka Halme from Finland, the only announced candidate for GUFF, has been officially confirmed as the winner, although one of the administrators makes it sound as if there was some suspense. Instead of giving a vote total she jokes, “Stats forthcoming after Mihaela has her math lesson.”

Jukka Halme will travel to Brisbane for Contact, the 2016 Australian Natcon, to be held March 25-28.

Voting Opens for 2016 GUFF Delegate

GUFF voting has begun and will continue until September 30. Known as the Get Up-and-over Fan Fund or the Going Under Fan Fund, depending on which direction it’s running, GUFF exists to provide funds to enable well-known fans from Europe and Australasia to visit each other’s national conventions.

It’s a one-horse race this time –

Jukka Halme

Model 1967 recovering illustrator, editor, writer, reviewer, con runner, fanzine-fan etc, who is currently part of a bid to bring Worldcon to my hometown of Helsinki. Chaired three Finncons, been involved with a number of other conventions since 1989. Besides doing pretty much everything there is program-wise, does also mean quizzes at cons. Married, with two small dogs and an apartment filled with books. Never been to Australasia, but would love to see the place and meet the fandom. And have a pint or two with you. I might be persuaded NOT to bring Finnish candy with me!

Jukka’s nominators are Bellis, Cheryl Morgan, James Shields, Damien Warman & Juliette Woods jointly, and Sue Ann Barber.

Halme will attend Contact 2016 in Brisbane, Australia if elected.

Voting eligibility and other rules are explained here.

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.

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.