Worldcon, NASFiC and Smofcon Bidder Questionnaires Released

Smofcon 35, the convention for conrunners, taking place December 1-3 in Boston, asked Worldcon, NASFiC and Smofcon bidders, and seated Worldcon committees to answer a questionnaire. The responses have been posted at Smofcon’s website under Fannish Inquisition.

There will also be a Q&A session at the con – publishing these questionnaires in advance helps keep that time from being taken up with basic information. If you want to submit a question, see the information at the end of this post.

Smofcon Bids

Worldcon Bids

Seated Worldcons

NASFiC Bids

Submitting Questions to the Fannish Inquisition

At the Fannish Inquisition, all questions will be asked by the Inquisitors. The Inquisitors welcome your questions. They will ask them (possibly edited and combined), leaving you anonymous. Before the convention, E-mail questions to fi@smofcon35.org. At the convention, there will be a drop-off point in the con suite.

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.  😉

New Zealand in 2020 Achieves Critical Mass

When the NZ in 2020 Worldcon bid announced it could only continue if 200 NZ and Aussie volunteers committed to work the con if they won, fans around the world held their collective breath.

Fortunately, the Kiwis got the response they wanted:

You know, it’s really amazing what fandom can do. Thanks to everyone’s passing on the message, poking friends, and generally being amazing, we had a brilliant response over the last two weeks.

With the commitments we had from New Zealand and Australia, we are very pleased to say that a WorldCon in New Zealand is definitely viable.

We will post numbers in the next day or two, but we just wanted to initially say thank you to everyone who passed the message on, and especially those who committed.

Although the December 6 message promised the numbers would be released “in the next day or two” they have not yet appeared. Whatever the total may be, it’s apparently big enough.

[Via Petrea Mitchell.]

New Zealand Worldcon Bid Locking In Regional Help

NZ2020_logo_0The NZ in 2020 Worldcon bid has announced that it can only continue if they get around 200 commitments by December 5 from people willing to work the con.

We are delighted to have anyone volunteer because WorldCons are always multinational and have people from pretty much every continent working on them. But this main push is for New Zealand and Australian fans. Because it’s crucial to have those people on the ground…

If we don’t get enough people in New Zealand and Australia willing to commit, then we will not be able to continue with the bid.

“Think of it as a people-based Kickstarter,” they say, a clever turn of phrase.

The whole appeal is filled with lighthearted responses to obvious points of resistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

2. Yikes! Six years ahead? I don’t know if:
a) I’ll be in the country
b) I’ll be married to Claudia Schiffer by then
c) I plan to join a cult
d) I’ll be destitute and living in a cardboard box under Grafton Bridge.

So, can you help us now, while you are still planning your stalking, sorry, courting, of Ms Schiffer? You can help now or at the convention or both, six years is plenty of warning. With the magic of the internet and those wonderful inventions called aircraft, you can be on the other side of the world and still be a part of this. In fact many of our US and UK friends have offered to help out already, they would love to see our bid succeed.

Future Worldcon Bidders

Here is a summary of ongoing bids for the Worldcon pieced together from the presentations at Chicon 7 and online discussions I’ve seen since then, with some Machiavellian speculation thrown in for seasoning.

2015

There are bids for Helsinki, Orlando and Spokane.

Helsinki, Finland: The recently announced bid for Helsinki in 2015 is chaired by Eemeli Aro, with a committee of (so far) Andrew Adams, Jukka Halme, Lisa Hertel, Crystal Huff, Johan Jönsson, Kristoffer Lawson, Jeff Orth, Ann Marie Rudolph, Nicholas Shectman, Heikki Sørum and Megan Totusek.

The website explains, “We’re an international crew of conrunners, with a Finnish core, and we’re hoping to build the most international Worldcon yet.”

Site selection is less than a year away, but the bid has not proposed a date for the con or identified its facilities.

In fact, fans feel obligated to begin a discussion of the new Helsinki in 2015 bid with mutual assurances that it is real. Not long ago the chair Eemeli Aro and two other top leaders were pushing Mariehamn, Finland in 2016, aka Wårldcon 2016. So far as the internet is aware, they still are.

Nevertheless, Helsinki bidders made a presentation to the Chicon 7 business meeting and ran a bid table at the recent FenCon. Helsinki has styled itself as a real bid from the start, in contrast to the Bermuda Triangle committee which took awhile to become seduced by the possibility of actually winning the 1988 Worldcon. (They made a real race of it before losing to New Orleans.)

The Mariehamn bid’s overarching advantage was that site selection voting for 2016 is to be done at Loncon 3 in the UK. There is no better timing for a European bid that wants to win, as European membership in the current year’s Worldcon will be at its peak. (Remember that The Hague defeated the LA in ’90 bid by a hefty margin at a site selection vote also held in the UK.)

Yet the serious Helsinki bid is sprinting toward an immediate up-or-down vote at a North American Worldcon against two bids for U.S. cities. Do they like their chances anyway?

If not, might this be a subtle way to party on with less risk of winning?

Or could there be an even deeper game involved? Does the committee have a contingency plan to roll over the Helsinki bid to the better year with the benefit of increased public awareness? In recent years several other bids have kept running after an initial defeat, Chicago victoriously, but KC and Columbus both losing the second time around.

Orlando, Florida: Adam Beaton chairs the Orlando bid committee. They propose to hold the con over Labor Day weekend, September 2-6 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World.

Others on the Orlando committee in addition to Beaton are Mary Dumas, Robbie Bourget, John Harold, Eva Whitley, Lynda Manning-Schwartz, Charles Schwartz, Colette Fozard, Adam Ferraro, Pam Larson, Thomas Safer, Arthur Sanders, Katie Katz and Patricia McConnell.

The bid styles itself as a revolutionary approach to Worldcon running, committing to outreach, lowering Worldcon costs, and getting the next generation of fandom excited about Worldcon. These principles are discussed in detail in “The Orlando Manifesto”.

Spokane, Washington: The bid is being run by Alex von Thorn. Bobbie DuFault and Sally Woehrle are the prospective Worldcon co-chairs if they win. Spokane’s dates would be August 19-23.

They propose to use the Spokane Convention Center and nearby hotels, the largest being the Doubletree, Red Lion at the Park and the Red Lion River Inn.

The announced committee is: John Ammon, David Glenn-Anderson, Patricia Briggs, C.J. Cherryh, Bobbie DuFault (Convention Co-Chair), Jane Fancher, Bruce Farr, kT Fitzsimmons, Jerry Gieseke, Char Mac Kay, Randy Mac Kay, Tim Martin, Michael Nelson, Carole Parker, Pat Porter, Gerald Power, Rhiannon Power, Sharon Reynolds, Susan Robinson, Marah Searle-Kovacevic (Bid Vice-Chair), Chris Snell, Danielle Stephens, Bill Thomasson, Tom Veal, Alex Von Thorn (Bid Chair), Tracy Williams, Mike Willmoth (Hotel Negotiation), Sally Woehrle (Convention Co-Chair), Drew Wolfe, Kate Mulligan Wolfe, Chris Zach.

2016

There is a bid for Kansas City, and with caveats, Mariehamn.

Kansas City, Missouri: KC in 2016 proposes to hold the con August 17-21 at Bartle Hall and the Kansas City Convention Center. They have signed a contract with the rights of first refusal with their proposed facilities.

Co-Chairs of the bid are Diane Lacey, Jeff Orth, and Ruth Lichtwardt. The committee is: Chaz Boston-Baden, Margene Bahm, Warren Buff, Aurora Celeste, Barry Haldiman, Sheril Harper, Parris McBride Martin, Tim Miller, James Murray, Paula Murray, Mark Olson, Priscilla Olson, Jesi Lipp Pershing, John Pershing II, John J. Platt IV, Keith Stokes, Beth Welsh, Ben Yalow, Jim Young. No longer named as part of the bid committee is René Walling.

Mariehamn, Finland in 2016, aka Wårldcon 2016: Eemeli Aro and Johan Jönsson are co-chairs, and Jukka Halme is vice chair. The bidders made a presentation at Smofcon last December and when challenged about facilities, Eemeli Aro raised the possibility of anchoring a cruiseliner in the harbor for the duration of the con.

2017

There are three bids in various early stages of activity, Montreal, New York, and Nippon.

Montreal, Canada: Originally announced as a 2019 bid at the 2011 Smofcon, the Montreal committee reportedly now is setting its sights on 2017, in competition with a declared Nippon bid and a possible NY bid.

The Montréal group would bring the con back to the Palais de Congrés, the 2009 Worldcon facility.

René Walling, who chaired that Wordcon, made Montreal’s bid presentation at Smofcon.

New York: Mr. Shirt and his wife, Stacey Helton McConnell, reportedly are considering making a run at hosting a Worldcon in New York for the first time since 1967.

NYC didn’t make a presentation at Chicon 7. According to Petrea Mitchell, the New York bid did not intend to begin active campaigning until 2013.

Some have expressed resistance to a Worldcon run by a pseudonym, while others are undisturbed by people using handles as their fannish identity following the example of the internet.

Nippon: The official site for the bid is www.nippon2017.org which has no information at all, and a www.nippon2017.us site “independent of and not associated with the Bid Committee, but dedicated to encourage and assist them in returning the Worldcon to Japan” which has almost as little to say. Neither site lists committee members or a proposed date.

Andrew Adams told fans at the 2011 Smofcon that the Japanese bid planned on using the same venue in Yokohama as the Nippon 2007 Worldcon. But information shared at Chicon 7 indicated the bid committee is looking at two other sites, also in the greater Tokyo area, in Chiba, and Makuhari Messe in Saitama.

The Nippon in 2017 bid is immediately handicapped by questions about the huge loss incurred by the 2007 Worldcon in Japan whose full dimensions were only revealed this month. Bid spokespersons say funding for 2017 is separate. In a move to bolster their credibility they’ve added Vince Docherty to lead the finance division. A great deal more will need to be done to persuade voters that it is economically practical to hold another Worldcon in Japan.

2018

A New Orleans group is considering launching a bid.

The New Orleans in 2018 Pre-Bid Committee is Raymond Boudreau (Chair), Michael Guerber, Cordelia (Colin) Murphy, Rebecca Smith, Stu Segal, Jessica Styons and Kendall Varnell.

Committee member Jessica Styons told File 770, “Obviously we are in the early stages of building support, gauging interest and staking a claim but we are interested in all comments, offers of support and assistance.” Rebecca Smith, chair of CONtraflow, also is working on the bid.

2019

No bids.

2020

The one serious bid is for New Zealand.

New Zealand in 2020 is led by Norman Cates, a past DUFF delegate. The general committee members are Kevin Maclean (New Zealand),Maree Pavletich (New Zealand), Lynelle Howell (New Zealand), Malcolm Fletcher (New Zealand), Louise McCully (New Zealand), Struan Judd (New Zealand), Daphne Lawless, Andrew Ivamy (Queensland, AU Agent), James Shields (European Agent).

The committee says it’s an open question where they’d hold a Worldcon. There are said to be two facilities in Auckland and one in Wellington that could support a 1500-3000 member con.

Future Worldcon Bids

Here is a summary of ongoing bids for the Worldcon pieced together from the “Fannish Inquisition” at Renovation and online discussions I’ve seen since then:

2014: London

If the bid is successful, the convention will be held from August 14-18, 2014 (Thursday to Monday) in the International Convention Centre, which is part of the ExCeL exhibition centre complex in London’s Docklands. 

London in 2014 bid committee members Claire Brialey and James Bacon just won Hugo Awards at Renovation — Claire for Best Fan Writer and James for Best Fanzine (The Drink Tank, also edited by Christopher J Garcia).

During the ”Fannish Inquisition” at Renovation a member of the audience asked an unusual question and Petréa Mitchell captured the response: “The proposed site does have a variety of hotel types, but sadly, none of them is old enough to be haunted yet.”

2014 NASFiC: Phoenix, Arizona (using a facility in Tempe)

In Reno, Mike Willmorth said the planned location is the Tempe Mission Palms in downtown Tempe, Arizona.  It has been the site for previous events like the 2009 North American Discworld Convention and FiestaCon (Westercon 62).

Asked if Phoenix might try to combine NASFiC with Westercon, Willmorth said no, he was aware Utah is bidding for the 2014 Westercon and he didn’t want to “step on toes.”

2015: There are two bids, Orlando, Florida and Spokane, Washington. Spokane’s dates would be in mid-August, and Orlando’s would be Labor Day weekend.

Orlando, Florida: Adam Beaton made a presentation at Reno, and later answered questions I posed by e-mail:

We do think our facilities are a plus to our bid – we’re also planning on extending our room block far enough both before and after Worldcon so anyone who chooses to also enjoy Walt Disney World and Orlando can do so at a reduced resort rate.  How far is currently under negotiation.

Yes, we are bidding the traditional Labor Day weekend, which will be September 2-6, 2015 (Wed-Sun).  No, we’re not daunted by Dragon*Con in Atlanta – one thing I brought up at the meeting is that we honestly do not feel Worldcon vs Dragon*Con is a zero sum game, meaning for Worldcon to win Dragon*Con has to lose.  There’s enough fandom to go around for everyone.  Frankly, we’d rather work with Dragon*Con (like what Chicon 7 is doing) than try to work against them, which benefits everyone across the board.  

Now having said that, we’re also realists.  We do want people to come to Worldcon, and Disney is fully aware of Dragon*Con.  Disney has said they would like us (the bid committee) to “use the Disney name” to help get people to Orlando for Worldcon while also providing incentives for people to come to Worldcon rather than Dragon*Con, and a lot of what we’re talking about is really still under negotiation.  But two things that we are talking about that may give people an idea of what kinds of incentives to expect are free wireless internet for Worldcon attendees (both in the function space and in their hotel rooms), and “after 4 p.m.” theme park tickets for Worldcon attendees on Sunday to allow our attendees to have the option of visiting the theme parks after Worldcon is over.  

You had also asked about our committee.  Currently we have myself, Steve Davidson, Eva Whitley, Mary Dumas, Gary Farber, Jarrod Cooper, Adam Ferraro, Colette Fozard, and Pam Larson.  We also are fortunate enough to have Frank Wu as our official artist.  

Spokane, Washington: The bid is being run by Alex von Thorn. Bobbie DuFault and Sally Woehrle are the prospective Worldcon co-chairs if they win.

They propose to use the Spokane Convention Center which offers over 320,000 sq. ft. meeting space. The facility provides 23 meeting/breakout rooms, a 25,310 sq. ft. ballroom and a junior ballroom that is 13,730 sq. ft. A long list of hotels are engaged, the largest being the Doubletree, Red Lion at the Park and the Red Lion River Inn.

The bid invites presupports ($20) and “Friend of the Bid” memberships ($120), which can be paid for online at the bid website.

The announced committee is: John Ammon, David-Glenn Anderson, Patricia Briggs, Carolyn Cherryh, Bobbie DuFault (Convention Co-Chair), Jane Fancher, Bruce Farr, kT Fitzsimmons, Jerry Gieseke, Char Mac Kay, Randy Mac Kay, Tim Martin, Michael Nelson, Carole Parker, Pat Porter, Gerald Power, Rhiannon Power, Sharon Reynolds, Susan Robinson, Marah Searle-Kovacevic (Bid Vice-Chair), Chris Snell, Danielle Stephens, Bill Thomasson, Ann Totusek, Tom Veal, Alex von Thorn (Bid Chair), Tracy Williams, Mike Willmoth (Hotel Negotiation), Sally Woehrle (Convention Co-Chair), Drew Wolfe, Kate Mulligan Wolfe, Chris Zach.

2016: Kansas City

Co-Chairs: Team LOL – Diane Lacey, Jeff Orth, Ruth Lichtwardt; Committee: Margene Bahm, Warren Buff, Aurora Celeste, Sydnie Krause, Parris McBride, Tim Miller, Jim Murray, Paula Murray, Mark Olson, Priscilla Olson, Joel Phillips, John Platt, Susan Satterfield, Keith Stokes, Rene Walling.

They have signed contract with the rights of first refusal with their proposed facilities, Bartle Hall and the Kansas City Convention Center. They expect to have close to 80% of the downtown hotel rooms and 60% of the Convention Hall space.

2017: Nippon, and New York. (Neither represented at Reno.)

Kevin Standlee says Mike “Mr. Shirt” McConnell is still planning to bid for New York in 2017.  According to Petrea Mitchell, the New York bid won’t start active campaigning until 2013.

2018: New Orleans

Ray Boudreau spoke for New Orleans, calling it a “pre-bid” although it did have a party at Renovation.

Committee member Jessica Styons told File 770 a few months ago, “Obviously we are in the early stages of building support, gauging interest and staking a claim but we are interested in all comments, offers of support and assistance.” Rebecca Smith, chair of CONtraflow, also is working on the bid.  

2020: New Zealand.

The New Zealand bid is led by Norman Cates, a past DUFF delegate.

There’s an open question where a New Zealand Worldcon would be held:

“We have briefly investigated convention facilities in New Zealand. A World Con in New Zealand is expected to draw 1500 to 2500 (tops) people.  There are two in Auckland and one in Wellington that could support a World Con of this size.”

Update 10/30/2011: Corrected my New Zealand geography gaffe, per comment.

2020 Vision

New Zealand is the owner of a shiny new Worldcon bid for 2020 because a bunch of fans made it rain $20 bills during their national convention last weekend.

Cheryl Morgan reported the news a few days ago:

So, the assembled overseas visitors enjoyed themselves so much at Au Contraire that they threw $20 bills at Norman Cates and encouraged him to bid for a Worldcon. It is all Sean Williams’ fault. He started it.

Cates is a well-known international fan and was the 2004 DUFF delegate.

This bid already has a logo, a website and a Facebook page. The Facebook page displays a photo of Norman Cates with his hands wrapped around Sean Williams’ throat, captioned “Norman Cates thanks Sean Williams for pushing him to run the bid…” Good faanish fun? At least ‘til Sean’s oxygen runs out.

It’s interesting to see lightning striking a second time. Ever since this year’s Worldcon chair Stephen Boucher yielded to a shower of $20 bills people have kept trying. The oddest variation happened this year at NASFiC where Chris Garcia started collecting $20 bills on behalf of the absent Christian McGuire (chair of the last Anaheim Worldcon) without McGuire’s knowledge or consent. The rumor haunted McGuire for weeks afterwards despite his vehement denials.

Unlikely as it is that someone already at Aussiecon 4 needs to get this information from my blog, I will go ahead and mention there is a New Zealand bid table at AussieCon 4 in room 201.

Bidding for Worldcons is the fun part, and with site selection years away New Zealand fans have plenty of time to decide if they want to do the other part. And why not?

[Thanks to James Bacon for clueing me into the story. Editors of other blogs faunching after the credit you deserve for pubbing this news before me should add a comment–because it’ll be cool to have a post with 238 comments.]