Aliette de Bodard Named Special Guest of WFC 2018

Aliette de Bodard

The World Fantasy Convention 2018 Baltimore has added Special Guest Aliette de Bodard. She joins WFC’s roster of guests along with Michael J. Walsh and Tom Kidd.

Aliette de Bodard is a Nebula, Locus, and BASFA Award winner. Her short stories are often set in an alternate universe based on a fusion of Aztec and Asian cultures. She lives and works in Paris, France. More information about Bodard can be found on her webpage.

The World Fantasy Convention 2018 in Baltimore is a joint effort of The Baltimore Science Fiction Society and the Washington Science Fiction Association. It will be held at the Marriott Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, Nov 1 – 4, 2018.

Attending membership rates are currently $175. Registration options and more information about the World Fantasy Convention 2018 can be found at the con’s website.

Villafranca’s Winning World Fantasy Award Design Revealed

Vincent Villafranca’s design for the new World Fantasy Award trophy has been chosen the winner by the World Fantasy Awards Administration and the Board of the World Fantasy Convention following a year-long public competition.

Villafranca, the Chesley Award-winning sculptor and designer of the 2013 Hugo base, was among several artists invited to participate:

Professional artists already proficient in 3-D arts working within the fantasy/horror community were invited to submit designs in the first instance, and those shortlisted were then asked to supply a model and specifications. A professional foundry provided a quote to produce the awards in the future, to ensure it would be within the budget of the seated World Fantasy Convention as well as future conventions.

Villafranca will be at the 2017 WFC in San Antonio, Texas, where the awards will be presented for the first time.

Last year’s WFA winners, given certificates at the 2016 award ceremony in Columbus, OH will get copies of the new statuette, too, once they have been cast.

The press release reiterated the Board’s reasons for asking artists to do the design work without payment, which had aroused intense discussion among professional artists:

There is no financial remuneration for the winner, as the Awards Administration and the Board of the World Fantasy Convention are not fund-holding entities; each convention is run by a discrete group of people and is self-funding, so this was not a commercial opportunity for the winning artist. However, Vincent Villafranca will receive two life memberships to the World Fantasy Convention as a small token of our thanks.

Semi-finalist Misty Hawkins will receive two memberships to the 2017 World Fantasy Convention.

The move to replace the WFA’s bust of Lovecraft, designed by Gahan Wilson, gained impetus in 2014 when Daniel Jose Older collected over 2,500 signatures on a petition calling for the replacement of “avowed racist and a terrible wordsmith” H.P. Lovecraft on the World Fantasy Award. Discussion snowballed in social media and many authors – including past WFA winner Nnedi Okorafor – urged award administrators to move on from the Lovecraft image. Within a few months The Guardian was reporting that the board of the World Fantasy awards “was ‘in discussion’ about its winners’ statuette”. When Sofia Samatar won in 2014, she made a statement about the controversy in her acceptance speech, saying “I just wanted them to know that here I was in a terribly awkward position, unable to be 100% thrilled, as I should be, by winning this award, and that many other people would feel the same, and so they were right to think about changing it.” However, the Board continued using the Lovecraft trophy through 2015.

Given the reason for changing the trophy, it will be interesting to see how authors receive the decision to perpetuate the Lovecraft image in the WFA nominee pins —

The Board of the World Fantasy Convention and the Awards Administration would like to thank world-famous artist Gahan Wilson, who sculpted the original WFA Statuette. The bust of HP Lovecraft, which was in use for more than four decades, was donated in perpetuity and will continue to live on in the shape of the nominee pins given out to all those shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award.

A thorough interpretation of the new design was also part of the press release:

The Awards Administration wanted something representational that would reflect the depth and breadth of the fantasy field, from horror to high fantasy and all stops in between. Trees—good trees, evil trees, prophetic trees, harboring trees, forests full of demons, forests of sanctuary—turn up throughout art and literature from the very beginning. They represent life, strength, nature, endurance, wisdom, rebirth, protection; they symbolize the link between heaven and earth. In Christian mythology, mankind starts with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Norse mythology, the entire structure of the universe is dependent on the giant ash Yggdrasill, the World Tree, which many Eastern European countries see as a home to the spirits of the dead. Indian mythology has the cosmic tree Asvattha, and there are plenty of fantastical trees in Greek and Roman mythology too, including dryads, the nymphs who inhabit trees, the Dodona grove of prophetic trees, and Argo, Jason’s ship, which maintained the magical properties of the tree which provided its wood.

The Green Man is a magical figure in many countries; druids are tied to the oak and the ash; some oak trees were thought to be oracular. Yews guard the entrance to the underworld, rowan keeps witches away. In Native American myth the hero Gluskap created humans by shooting an arrow into the heart of a birch. In Persia, the tree which grew from the decomposing corpse of the first human split into a man and woman, and the fruit became the other races of mankind. Buddha reached enlightenment under a Bodhi tree, which in turn inspired Robert Jordan’s Chora trees.

Trees bestride fantasy literature, from Roger Zelazny’s The Chronicles of Amber to Robert Holdstock’s WFA-winning Mythago Wood cycle, C.S. Lewis’ Narnia chronicles to Michael Sullivan’s Age of Myth cycle, the godswoods of Westeros in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Ents and Enid Blyton’s Magical Faraway Tree.

But not all trees are nurturing: it’s the treatment of a Chora sapling which begins a bloody war in Jordan’s books. Tolkien’s Mirkwood is as evil as its denizens and Weasels and Stoats rampage around Kenneth Grahame’s Wild Wood; J.K. Rowling’s Whomping Willow has terrified millions, while Patrick Rothfuss’ Cthaeh, lurk unseen in the branches of a giant tree in the fae realm. There’s the baobab tree in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince, Ray Bradbury’s The October Tree, the apple tree in The Wizard of Oz, and many more.

Vincent Villafranca has encapsulated the worlds of fantasy in the branches of our new award, and we thank him.

The 2017 World Fantasy Convention takes place in San Antonio from November 2-5.

2017 World Fantasy Award Judges Named

Judges have been empaneled for the 2017 World Fantasy Awards, for work published in 2016.

  • Elizabeth Engstrom (USA)
  • Daryl Gregory (USA)
  • Nalo Hopkinson (USA)
  • Juliet Marillier (Australia)
  • Betsy Mitchell (USA)

The judges will be reading and considering eligible materials until June 1, 2017. All forms of fantasy are eligible, e.g. epic, dark, contemporary, literary.

The award trophies will be presented at World Fantasy Con 2017 in San Antonio, TX to be held November 2-5.

The award categories are: Life Achievement; Best Novel; Best Novella (10,001 to 40,000 words); Best Short Story; Best Anthology; Best Collection; Best Artist; Special Award — Professional; Special Award — Non-Professional.

[Thanks to Peter Dennis Pautz for the story.]

World Fantasy Con 2018 Membership Rates Rise January 1

World Fantasy Convention 2018, hosted by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society and Washington Science Fiction Association, will be held at the Marriott Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, Nov 1 – 4, 2018.

Membership rates are currently $150, and will increase on Jan 1, 2017.

The confirmed guests are Michael J. Walsh and Tom Kidd, with plans to add more in the future.

See the WFC2018 website for more information.

2018 World Fantasy Convention Awarded To Baltimore

Ann Marie Rudolph and Bill Lawhorn will co-chair the 2018 World Fantasy Convention, to  be held November 1-4 in Baltimore, MD.

Their first two announced Guests of Honor are Michael J. Walsh and Tom Kidd.

The convention’s themes will be:

Ports in a Storm

During a major storm, there is nothing safer than a good port. Situated in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, WFC2018 plans to explore all forms of safe havens. From churches to oases and ports, there are many places of sanctuary which provide respite for characters in fantasy, horror, and weird tales. Each of these places will be explored.

Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, was first published in 1818. It remains relevant and has influenced writers throughout its history. There are multiple films, novels, and homages to the work. WFC2018 plans to explore these influences and its derivative works.

The 2018 World Fantasy Con’s conduct, accessibility and other policies are posted here.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

Outrage Greets 2016 World Fantasy Con Program

Darrell Schweitzer released the program for the 2016 World Fantasy Convention and promptly came under a hail of criticism from writers.

Much of it was directed at a program title found to be offensive – “Spicy Oriental Zeppelin Stories.” During the afternoon the item was renamed “Outrageous Aviation Stories, Flying Pulp Oddities.”

Other Twitter users complained that women are underrepresented in the overall count of writers mentioned by name in panel topics, as are fantasy works written less than 20 years ago.

Sarah Pinsker discussed her concerns in a series of tweets, now collected on Storify.

Here are some of the highlights of the conversation.

SARAH PINSKER

KEN LIU

https://twitter.com/kyliu99/status/760221655532732417

CARL ENGLE-LAIRD

LIZ BOURKE

HEATHER CLITHEROE

JAYM GATES

GREG VAN EEKHOUT

JOHN SCALZI

DAVE PROBERT

ANN LECKIE

DAVID MACK

DONGWON SONG

WESLEY CHU

KAMERON HURLEY

ANDREA PHILLIPS

And in the meantime Justin Landon has been tweeting suggested revisions to make the problematic items workable – or snarkier, depending on how they struck him….

JUSTIN LANDON

World Fantasy Awards Final Ballot

The final ballot and named Life Achievement awards for this year’s World Fantasy Awards has been announced.

The awards will be presented in October at this year’s World Fantasy Convention in Columbus, OH:

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

  • David G. Hartwell
  • Andrzej Sapkowski

NOVELS

  • Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant (Knopf/Faber& Faber)
  • N. K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season (Orbit)
  • Naomi Novik, Uprooted (Del Rey Books/Macmillan UK)
  • K. J. Parker, Savages (Subterranean Press)
  • Anna Smaill, The Chimes (Sceptre)
  • Paul Tremblay, A Head Full of Ghosts (William Morrow & Co.)

LONG FICTION

  • Kelly Barnhill, The Unlicensed Magician (PS Publishing)
  • Usman T. Malik, “The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn” (Tor.com, Apr. 22, 2015)
  • Kim Newman, “Guignol” (Horrorology, edited by Stephen Jones, Jo Fletcher Books)
  • Kelly Robson, “Waters of Versailles” (Tor.com, June 10, 2015)
  • Bud Webster, “Farewell Blues” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Jan./Feb. 2015)

SHORT FICTION

  • Selena Chambers, “The Neurastheniac” (Cassilda’s Song, ed. Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. Chaosium Inc)
  • Amal El-Mohtar, “Pockets” (Uncanny Magazine, Jan.-Feb. 2015)
  • Sam J. Miller, “The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History” (Uncanny Magazine, Jan.-Feb. 2015)
  • Tamsyn Muir, “The Deepwater Bride” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/Aug. 2015)
  • Alyssa Wong, “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers” (Nightmare magazine, Oct. 2015)

ANTHOLOGY

  • Ellen Datlow, ed., The Doll Collection (Tor Books)
  • S. T. Joshi, ed., Black Wings IV: New Tales of Lovecraftian Horror (PS Publishing)
  • Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles, eds., She Walks in Shadows (Innsmouth Free Press)
  • Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., ed., Cassilda’s Song: Tales Inspired by Robert W. Chambers’ King in Yellow Mythos  (Chaosium Inc.)
  • Simon Strantzas, ed., Aickman’s Heirs (Undertow Publications)

COLLECTION

  • C. S. E. Cooney, Bone Swans (Mythic Delirium Books)
  • Leena Krohn, Leena Krohn: Collected Fiction (Cheeky Frawg Books)
  • V. H. Leslie, Skein and Bone (Undertow Publications)
  • Kelly Link, Get in Trouble (Random House)
  • James Morrow, Reality by Other Means: The Best Short Fiction of James Morrow (Wesleyan University Press)
  • Mary Rickert, You Have Never Been Here (Small Beer Press)

ARTIST

  • Richard Anderson
  • Galen Dara
  • Julie Dillon
  • Kathleen Jennings
  • Thomas S. Kuebler

SPECIAL AWARD – PROFESSIONAL

  • Neil Gaiman, Dave Stewart, and J. H. Williams III, The Sandman: Overture (Vertigo)
  • Stephen Jones, for The Art of Horror (Applause Theatre Book & Cinema Book Publishers)
  • Robert Jordan, Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, and Maria Simons, The Wheel of Time Companion: The People, Places and History of the Bestselling Series (Tor Books)
  • Joe Monti, for contributions to the genre
  • Heather J. Wood, for Gods, Memes and Monsters: A 21st Century Bestiary (Stone Skin Press)

SPECIAL AWARD – NONPROFESSIONAL

  • Scott H. Andrews, for Beneath Ceaseless Skies: Literary Adventure Fantasy
  • Jedediah Berry and Eben Kling, for The Family Arcana: A Story in Cards (Ninepin Press)
  • John O’Neill, for Black Gate: Adventures in Fantasy Literature
  • Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein, for Letters to Tiptree (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, for Uncanny Magazine
  • Helen Young, for Tales After Tolkien Society

[Thanks to Peter Dennis Pautz for the story.]

2016 World Fantasy Awards Nominations Accepted Until June 15

The nominating ballot for the 2016 World Fantasy Awards has been posted. Voters have been given an incredibly short turnaround time: the deadline is June 15.

Eligible to nominate are those who were members of of the World Fantasy Con in Washington D.C. (2014) and Saratoga Springs (2015), or of this year’s convention in Columbus.

The form itself confusingly says “The ballot must be postmarked by May 31, 2016”, however, the June date was announced today on WFC’s Facebook page by WFC Board Co-chair Meg Turville-Heitz.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

World Fantasy Con 2016 Publishes Policies, Announces GoHs

The 2016 World Fantasy Convention, which will be held October 27-30 in Columbus, Ohio, announced three of its Guests of Honor today.

  • Mercedes Lackey
  • Larry Dixon
  • L.E. Modesitt, Jr

The committee also responded to criticism for failing to post a Code of Conduct or an accessibility policy before the February 1 rate hike by publishing both today.

These statements are on the registration page.

Code of Conduct:

We do not tolerate harassment of the people at our convention in any form.

In order to take action, we need to know about any incident during the convention.

Everyone is entitled to a harassment-free convention experience, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, or physical appearance.

Harassment includes, but is not limited to, inappropriate physical contact, unwelcome sexual attention, offensive verbal comments, deliberate intimidation, stalking or following someone, making harassing photography or recordings, and disrupting talks or other events.  Anyone asked to stop any unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately.

A request to “stop” or “go away” means exactly that.  If anyone engages in harassing behavior, the convention committee may warn the offender, remove the offender from the room, or expel the offender from the convention with no refund at the Chairs’ discretion.

If you feel that you are being harassed, or if you notice someone violating hotel or convention policies, we respectfully suggest the following:

  1. If you feel comfortable doing so, point out the inappropriate behavior to the persons involved.  Often this will solve the problem immediately.
  2. If you do not feel comfortable talking with the persons involved or if talking to them does not resolve the issue, please report the situation, in person, immediately to the Operations Staff, or a Convention Committee member.  Try to provide a name (found on all badges) and/or a physical description of the person or persons involved.
  3. In order to take action, we need to know about any incident during the convention.

The Code of Conduct they’ve adopted is nearly identical to the 2014 WFC’s anti-harassment policy, which was reviewed as a successful model at the time.

And the committee’s statement about accessibility says:

The philosophy of our Accessibility Policy is about giving equal access to everyone.

The Hyatt Regency Columbus is an ADA compliant hotel. They have a limited number of ADA hotel rooms for different needs, these are available on a first come first serve basis. The hotel also has public “facilities” that are ADA compliant.

We have made arrangements for signing to be available (upon request) for GOH panels and the Sunday Banquet.

We have reserved the ADA ramp for the Sunday Banquet.

We will have a local phone number on the website for members to make their own arrangements, at their own expense, for mobile wheelchairs (scooters / mobies). We are doing some pre-pricing and will put the number on the website once we have it.

Mari Ness, who earlier opined that four out of the last five World Fantasy Cons have had accessibility issues, made this response:

Earlier today, before the policies were posted, she explained her reasons for making an issue about WFC’s delay in providing an accessibility policy, and for not assuming the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will avoid all problems:

I haven’t registered yet for World Fantasy Con because I use a wheelchair and I don’t know if the convention will be accessible. “Held in an ADA facility” isn’t enough; I’ve had accessibility issues in ADA facilities.

Also:

What I HAVE asked for, repeatedly, is some form of public statement from World Fantasy Con about their accessibility policy. And I have done this because of repeatedly running into accessibility concerns at previous World Fantasy Cons.

And because last year, I paid the same price as other members, and didn’t get the same access to the convention. I had to stay on ground level while my fellow panelists got to go up on the stage.

That’s the moral wrong: I’m paying the same, but I’m not getting the same access.