2020 World Fantasy Con Awarded to Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City will host the 2020 World Fantasy Convention (WFC). The announcement was made at the conclusion of this year’s WFC in San Antonio.

When the event comes to Utah beginning October 29, 2020, it will take place at the Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

“We’ve been working on this bid for more than a year,” said Dee Ann Larsen, Salt Lake resident and co-chairperson of the 2020 convention. “To say we’re thrilled is an understatement.”

Larsen and co-chairperson Ginny Smith will conduct the convention under the auspices of the Utah Fandom Organization, a nonprofit committed to bringing quality science fiction and fantasy events to Utah.

It will be the first WFC to be held in the Beehive State. “We’re excited to introduce the WFC members to our state,” Smith says. “And because Utah has a huge number of fantasy lovers, we think it’s a perfect match.”

The World Fantasy Convention will be held in Baltimore, Maryland in 2018, and Los Angeles, California in 2019. Memberships in the 2020 WFC will become available at the end of the Baltimore conference, at which time a website with more information will be launched.

[Based on a press release.]

WFC 2019 Awarded To Los Angeles

World Fantasy Con 2019 will be held in LA at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel from October 31 – November 3.

WFC 2019’s guests of honor are author Margo Lanagan, editor Beth Meacham, and artist Chris McGrath, with Robert Silverberg as Toastmaster.

The WFC board accepted the Southern California Institute for Fan Interests, Inc’s bid to run the 2019 event. SCIFI, Inc. is past sponsor of three Worldcons (1984, 1996 and 2006), the 1999 NASFiC, and several Westercons.

The WFC 2019 theme will be Fantasy Noir.

Fantasy Noir is a relatively new genre and has gained significant popularity in recent years.  Sometimes described as “magical cities in decay,” noir’s combination of urban grime and sleazy glamour brings a realistic and deliciously nasty flavor to the fantasy genre.  Fantasy Noir blends the setting, characters and plot structure of a Hardboiled Detective/Occult Detective mystery story with the more colorful elements of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Noir heroes are often extremely flawed or bad people or – on occasion – an honest cop or hero figure whose morality is distinctly at odds with the way the world works. Flawed protagonists are often motivated by greed, lust, anger, and revenge as much as higher motives. When they do something genuinely noble, it can be with great reluctance. A hero’s honesty and nobility often results in horrific personal consequences for himself and others.

Current membership rates are:

  • Attending Membership: $150.00
  • Supporting Membership: $50.00

The Attending Membership Rate will increase on December 31, 2017.

Participant Says World Fantasy Con Program Audience Still Struggles With Diversity Conversation

Panelist Rebecca Kuang came out of the “Borrowing from History: Intention and Appropriation” item at World Fantasy Con 2017 in San Antonio and dispatched these tweets to express her dissatisfaction with the experience.

According to the schedule, the other panelists were Russell Blackford (moderator), Elizabth Crowens, Meg Turville-Heitz, and Jacob Weisman.

[Thanks to JJ for the story.]

World Fantasy Con 2017: Partial List of Programs

WFC 2017 has released a partial list of draft program topics.

  • Alternate Africas: The Growing List of Fantastic Alternate and Secret Narratives Set in Africa
  • Beards and Intrigue: Queering the Historical Fantastic
  • Calamity Jane Defeats Conan: The Persistence of American Folklore in Fantasy Literature
  • Exceptional Characters in Horrible Times
  • The Fiction of Mildred Clingerman
  • Gender Fluidity in Fantasy
  • History — Secret, Hidden, or Otherwise
  • Keeping Texas Weird
  • Kitsune and Dragon: Thoughtful Approaches to Alternate Eastern Asias
  • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: Still our Modern Prometheus
  • Metaphors and Metadata: Libraries in Fantasy Literature
  • Molly Weasley Was a Bad Ass: Aged Protagonists in Fantasy
  • New Twists On Traditional Myths & Archetypes : What are the Pitfalls?
  • The Old West: Not Entirely Wild but Always a Fantasy
  • Once More Around the Bloch
  • The Other in Fantasy when Everyone is an Other
  • Place Matters: Geography’s Influence on Fantasy
  • Pulp Era Influences: the Expiration Date
  • Putting Historical Persons into your Fantasy
  • Religions of the African Diaspora: Beyond Zombies, Ancestors, and Giant Apes
  • Research, Research, Recherchez: History is Easy to Get Lost In
  • The Role of the City in Fantasy Settings
  • Small Presses that Open their Doors to the Unusual: Past and Present
  • Urban Legends in the Age of Fake News
  • What’s the Difference Between Dark Fantasy and Horror

More information about the convention’s scope, theme, timeline and goals is available on the Programming main page.

World Fantasy Convention 2018 Announces Kaaron Warren as GOH

Kaaron Warren

World Fantasy Convention 2018 – Baltimore has announced another Guest of Honor, Australian author Kaaron Warren. She joins previously announced Guests of Honor Scott Edelman, Tom Kidd, and Michael J. Walsh, Special Guest Aliette de Bodard, and Toastmaster Linda D. Addison.

Kaaron Warren won the Shirley Jackson Award for her novella “Sky,” which also was a 2013 nominee for the World Fantasy Award. Her 2016 novel, The Grief Hole (IFWG Publishing Australia), is the first to win all three Australian genre awards: the Aurealis Award, the Ditmar Award, and the Australian Shadows, as well as winning the Canberra Critics Circle Award. Her first novel, Slights (Angry Robot Books, 2009) won the Australian Shadows Awards, Ditmar Award, and the Canberra Critics Circle Fiction Award. Her story, “Death’s Door Café,” was a World Fantasy Award nominee in 2015.

Warren also has published two other novels and seven collections of her short stories. Her stories have appeared in Australia, the US, the UK, and elsewhere in Europe, and have been selected for both Ellen Datlow’s and Paula Guran’s Year’s Best anthologies.

Kaaron Warren lives in Canberra, Australia. In addition to writing, she was a Fellow at the Museum for Australian Democracy. In 2018 she will be the Established Artist in Residence at the Katharine Susannah Prichard House in Western Australia.

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

World Fantasy Convention 2018 Announces Toastmaster

Linda Addison

The World Fantasy Convention 2018 – Baltimore has selected Linda D. Addison as Toastmaster. She joins previously announced Guests of Honor Scott Edelman, Tom Kidd, Michael J. Walsh, and Aliette de Bodard.

Addison is poetry editor for Space & Time magazine as well as an author and poet with over 300 poems and short stories in print.

Addison is the first African-American to win the Horror Writers’ of America Bram Stoker Award, which she has won four times. She won for poetry collections in 2001 for Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes (Space & Time Books) and in 2013 for The Four Elements written with Marge Simon, Rain Graves, and Charlee Jacob (Bad Moon Books). She won for poetry in 2007 (tie) for Being Full of Light, Insubstantial (2007 Space & Time Books) and in 2011 for How To Recognize A Demon Has Become Your Friend short stories and poetry collection (2011 Necon E-Books). Her Dark Duet (Necon E-Books), a collaborative book of poetry written with Stephen M. Wilson was a 2012 finalist.

The Black Writers Alliance nominated her collection, Consumed, Reduced to Beautiful Grey Ashes, for its Gold Pen Award. Her work frequently appears on the Honorable Mention list for Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror (edited by Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link and Gavin Grant) and The Year’s Best Science-Fiction (edited by Gardner Dozois). She also has been nominated for a SFPA Rhysling award.

Addison has fiction in three landmark anthologies that celebrate African-American speculative writers: the award-winning anthology Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction (Warner Aspect), Dark Dreams I and II (Kensington), and Dark Thirst (Pocket Book).

She co-edited Sycorax’s Daughters, an anthology of horror fiction & poetry by African-American women (publisher Cedar Grove Publishing) with Kinitra Brooks and Susana Morris.

The World Fantasy Convention 2018 in Baltimore is a joint effort of The Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS) and the Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA). It will be held at the Marriott Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Nov 1 – 4, 2018. The convention is chaired by Ann Marie Rudolph and Bill Lawhorn.

The Attending membership rate is currently $175. Registration options and more information about the World Fantasy Convention 2018 can be found on its website.

Scott Edelman Named World Fantasy Con 2018 Guest of Honor

Scott Edelman

Congratulations to Scott Edelman, newly-added World Fantasy Convention 2018 guest of honor, joining the previously announced slate of Tom Kidd, Michael J. Walsh, and Aliette de Bodard.

Edelman began his career as an assistant editor and writer for Marvel Comics in the ‘70s. In addition to writing comic books and trade paperbacks, he edited its fan magazine FOOM! In 1976, he became a freelance writer for both Marvel and DC on a range of books.

He edited Science Fiction Age for its entire eight-year run from 1992 to 2000. He worked for the Syfy Channel for more than thirteen years, editing Science Fiction Weekly, SCI FI Wire, Sci-Fi Universe and Sci-Fi Flix. He also edited SCI FI Magazine, previously known as Sci-Fi Entertainment.

Edelman has had more than 85 short stories published in magazines, anthologies and several highly regarded short story collections. He has been a Stoker Award finalist seven times in the fiction categories, and a Hugo Award finalist for Best Editor four times, in 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999.

He won the Sam Moskowitz Award for outstanding contributions to the field of science fiction fandom in 2004.

Currently Edelman hosts a podcast, Eating the Fantastic, in which he interviews writers and others over a good meal. His most recent short story collection, Liars, Fakers, and the Dead Who Eat Them (Written Backwards) was published in March 2017. For more information on Edelman, visit his blog at his blog.

The World Fantasy Convention 2018 will be held at the Marriott Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Nov 1 – 4, 2018.

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.