Smofcon Scholarships Awarded

CanSMOF has announced the recipients of three scholarships for use in attending SMOFcon 33.

The first scholarship, open to a Canadian citizen or resident, went to Lisa Macklem of London Ontario.

The second, open to a non-North American resident, was awarded to Maree Pavletich of Auckland, New Zealand.

The third, unrestricted, will be shared by Keri O’Brien of Overland Park, KC and Deanna Sjolander of Kansas City, MO.

CanSMOF Inc. created these scholarships to allow promising conrunners to attend the annual SMOFCon, a con for convention-runners. SMOFcon 33 will be in Dallas/Fort Worth TX, December 4-6, 2015.

Smofcon Scholarships Offered

CanSMOF Inc. will provide up to three scholarships for convention runners to apply towards the cost of attending Smofcon33 in Fort Worth, Texas, December 4-6, 2015.

SMOFCon is an annual convention with a focus on the running and organization of science fiction conventions, first held in 1984.

  • The first Scholarship of up to C$500 is open to a Canadian citizen or resident involved in running conventions with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon.
  • The second scholarship of up to C$1000 is open to anyone not residing in North America, involved in running conventions with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon. (North America being defined as Canada, Mexico, the United States of America, the islands of the Caribbean, St. Pierre et Miquelon, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.)
  • The third scholarship of up to C$500 is open to anyone involved in running conventions, regardless of their place of residence or citizenship with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate that their attendance at SMOFCon will benefit their local fandom and/or Canadian fandom.

The recipients will be selected by a committee of Robbie Bourget, Kevin Standlee and René Walling.

Deadline for applications is Friday, October 9, 2015 at 23:59, SST (UTC-11). The application form is available at:

The winners will be expected to submitted a written report about their experience.

Smofcon 2015 Website Updated

Smofcon 33 will be held December 4-6 at the Sheraton Ft. Worth Hotel and Spa in Fort Worth, Texas.

The annual convention for sf conrunners is chaired this year by Tim Miller. His committee includes Robert Jinks (Vice Chairman), Steven Staton (IT), Sam Gayle (Hospitality), Pablo Vazquez (Social Media).

The con’s theme is “From Global To Local: Thriving in the Fannish Biosphere.”

The current membership rate is $50.

Two thumbs up to the committee for illustrating their website with a shot of the Fort Worth Water Gardens as seen in Logan’s Run (1976). These days we overage conrunners must always be ready to make a run for it!

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%).

2015 Smofcon Goes To Fort Worth

Smofcon 33 will be held in Fort Worth, TX from December 4-6, 2015 at the Sheraton Fort Worth Hotel and Spa.

The Texas bid was selected over rival Colorado Springs by a vote of attendees during last night’s Fannish Inquisition session at Smofcon 32 in Manhattan Beach.

The FAQ from the Fort Worth bid (PDF file) has more details about their plans.

While there were other significant differences between the bids that factored into the outcome, attracting the most discussion was Colorado Springs’ assertion that they would not have a formal code of conduct. They considered the core attendees of the con to be trustworthy, having known each other for decades. And they stood by their position at the Fannish Inquisition, with MEM Morman’s valedictory on the subject being, “If you need to call the police, you call the police.”

The two main arguments advanced why Smofcon should follow the trend to have a code of conduct or antiharassment policy were (1) a convention for conrunners should serve as a model, therefore have a policy, and (2) Smofcon actually has many members who have joined fandom more recently, and wants to attract others who haven’t attended before, calling into question the assumption that this group is so homogenous it wouldn’t need to use that conrunning tool.

For photos of what’s been happening this weekend, see Crystal Huff’s Twitter feed or search #smofcon.

Smofcon 32 Program Online

The Smofcon 32 Program can be accessed here. The con runs December 5-7 in Manhattan Beach, CA.

There are daily pages for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

And there is a PDF that can be viewed or downloaded which is labeled “Pre-Con Program” because there are some small changes expected to be made before it is final.

When Secret Masters Blab, Everybody Listens

In preparation for this year’s Smofcon32, happening in Manhattan Beach, CA the first weekend of December, convention bid committees have been invited to participate in the Fannish Inquisition.

The first stage is answering a survey of commonly-asked questions — about dates, facilities, policies, etc. These committees have submitted responses, which are posted on the Smofcon 32 website.

Seated Worldcons

Sasquan 2015 FAQ
Sasquan 2015 the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention August 19-23, 2015 Spokane, Washington, USA\

MidAmeriCon II FAQ
MidAmeriCon II the 74th World Science Fiction Convention August 17-21, 2016 Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Worldcon Bids


Nippon in 2017 Bid FAQ
Montreal in 2017 Bid FAQ
Helsinki in 2017 Bid FAQ
Washington DC in 2017 Bid FAQ

New Orleans in 2018 is still in pre-bid status
San Jose in 2018 FAQ

Dublin in 2019 FAQ

New Zealand in 2020 FAQ
Boston in 2020 Christmas Worldcon Bid FAQ

Dallas/Fort Worth in 2021 FAQ

Chicago in 2022 FAQ


2017 or 2020
San Diego NASFiC Bid FAQ

Smofcon Bids

Colorado Springs 2015 Smofcon Bid FAQ
Fort Worth 2015 Smofcon Bid FAQ

Chicago 2016 Smofcon Bid FAQ

Update 11/24/2014: Added link to Montreal worldcon bid FAQ, which came in later.

Smofcon Scholarships Awarded

CanSMOF Inc., the parent organization of the 2009 Montreal Worldcon, has selected the recipients of two scholarships to attend Smofcon 32, a convention for conrunners. Jean-Louis Trudel of Quebec City and Jared Dashoff of Washington, D.C. will each receive 500 CAD to help defray the cost of attending Smofcon.

One scholarship was designated for a Canadian citizen or resident, while the second was open to anyone involved in running conventions, anywhere.

Smofcon 32 will be in Manhattan Beach, California from December 5-7.