Chengdu, Memphis Officially File 2023 Worldcon Bids

The DisCon III committee announced today that two bidders for the 2023 Worldcon filed by the deadline to appear on the mail ballot: Chengdu, China (@chengduworldcon) and Memphis, Tennessee (@MemphisIn2023).

The committee tweeted that the bid filings will be available on the DisCon III website soon. They will be talking with both bids to set the Site Selection Voting Fee and other details of the site selection process.

CHENGDU IN 2023

Proposed Site: Chengdu, China
Proposed Dates: August 16-20, 2023
Bid Leadership: He Xi, chair
Website:
English: CD-WSFC CHENGDU WorldCon in 2023
Chinese: http://www.worldconinchina.com/
Twitter: Chengduworldcon
SMOFCon 37-1/4 Questionnaire: Chengdu for 2023
Bid Filing: Chengdu in 2023

MEMPHIS IN 2023

Memphis in 2023
Memphis in 2023

Proposed Site: Memphis, TN
Proposed Dates: August 23-27, 2023
Bid Leadership: Cliff Dunn and Kate Secor
Website: Memphis in 2023
Twitter: Memphis in 2023
Facebook: Memphis in 2023
SMOFCon 37-1/4 Questionnaire: Memphis for 2023
Bid Filing: Memphis in 2023

DisCon III provides more information about 2023 Worldcon Site Selection at the link.

To vote in this election, you must be an attending or supporting member of DisCon III. When you vote, you will pay an additional amount called the Advance Supporting Membership rate, which gives you a supporting membership in the 2023 Worldcon, regardless of which site wins the election. This money goes to the winning Worldcon bid regardless of who wins or how you voted….

22 thoughts on “Chengdu, Memphis Officially File 2023 Worldcon Bids

  1. Last year during the kerfuffle over the Jeddah bid there was some discussion of whether Chengdu would/should run into similar objections due to the Uyghur genocide, forced assimilation of non-Han minorities, and the Hong Kong political crackdown (not to mention changes in China’s security laws that would make any Worldcon members who have openly objected to China’s treatment of minorities or of Hong Kong subject to arrest).

    I’ve not heard any rumblings since then, but the moment has arrived. Any idea whether there’s much in the way of strong opinion about this in the Worldcon member community?

  2. I find it difficult to support any Chinese bid for Worldcon as long as the Chinese government is committing atrocities against the Uighur people and against the people of Tibet, and denying liberty to the people of Hong Kong. The Uighur are an old and civilized people, who taught languages and writing and justice to the Mongols. They provided a civilized conduit between the steppe peoples and the Han for centuries. It is wrong for the Chinese Government to oppress them for being Muslims.

  3. Agree with Walt. Also, any time travel is forbidden in Chinese SF (or in any book that might be sold in China), as obviously the current regime is perfect and nothing can be written or filmed that would upset their ideology. Also, mention Tienanmen Square, and go directly to jail.

    I can’t see anyone except good solid members of the glorious Chinese Communist Party supporting this bid.

  4. J.D. Popham: Last year during the kerfuffle over the Jeddah bid there was some discussion of whether Chengdu would/should run into similar objections due to the Uyghur genocide, forced assimilation of non-Han minorities, and the Hong Kong political crackdown (not to mention changes in China’s security laws that would make any Worldcon members who have openly objected to China’s treatment of minorities or of Hong Kong subject to arrest) I’ve not heard any rumblings since then, but the moment has arrived. Any idea whether there’s much in the way of strong opinion about this in the Worldcon member community?

    Worldcon members have been posting objections and reasons all over the internet since the bid was announced in 2018. What are you looking for, another outraged letter by a bunch of clueless authors who are not members of Worldcon, have no idea what they are talking about, and have no intention of doing anything about it other than promoting their books? 🙄

  5. Best of luck to Cliff, Kate, and the Memphis fandom.

    This is one that I might actually attend!

    Regards,
    Dann
    You’ve got to vote for someone. It’s a shame, but it’s got to be done. – Whoopi Goldberg

  6. Yeah, I don’t see how anyone paying attention could have missed the many objections and expressions of concern over the Chengdu bid, many of the specifically mentioning the genocide against the Uighurs as a major reason.

  7. Time travel is not forbidden in Chinese SF. There’s several soap operas with time travel going on Chinese TV now. No idea why that myth continues to spread.

  8. I’ll just say that I am currently planning on attending Discon and I am extremely unlikely to vote for Chengdu.

  9. Andrew Porter> Also, any time travel is forbidden in Chinese SF (or in any book that might be sold in China)

    Much as I personally have reservations about the Chengdu bid, I’m doubtful of the veracity of that statement.

    A quick trawl of CSFDB, via the magic of Chrome’s built in translation tools, shows three different editions of Stephen King’s 11/22/63, from publishers including “Shanghai Literature and Art Publishing House” and “People’s Literature Publishing House” (machine translated names), which sound like mainland, as opposed to Hong Kong or Taiwan-based, publishers to me.

    I also found listings for a Chinese versions of Silverberg’s Hawksbill Station and three of Connie Willis’ time travel novels, again all looking like they were from mainland Chinese publishers. FWIW: Blackout/All Clear was published as recently as December 2020.

    https://csfdb.scifi-wiki.com/admin/series/58

    https://book.douban.com/subject/35119457/ (alternate source, which I think is a much more high profile site than CSFDB, and thus presumably more likely to be subject to any censorship of the subject of time travel)

    NB: I’m more than happy to be corrected by anyone with more knowledge in this area than me – which probably isn’t difficult to achieve – but I get the impression there are lots of half-truths doing the rounds about what is or isn’t banned in China, that don’t stand up to scrutiny.

    EDIT: I see that Hampus beat me on responding to this.

  10. I don’t see the Chengdu bid winning – but I’ll take no chances, and add my vote when the voting happens.

  11. I would love for China to be a place I could vote for a WorldCon to take place in (just like I would love for Saudi Arabia to be such a place). Unfortunately, at the moment, I don’t think I can in good conscience support the Chengdu bid, so I will have to carefully consider my vote.

  12. J.D. Popham on March 1, 2021 at 10:55 am said:

    I’ve not heard any rumblings since then, but the moment has arrived. Any idea whether there’s much in the way of strong opinion about this in the Worldcon member community?

    I know that there are certainly strong feelings against the bid around these parts, but I also know that there are writers and fans in the Worldcon community who have enjoyed Chengdu hospitality and are more positive about the prospect.

  13. I’m not really thrilled by either option. 3 consecutive worldcons in the same half of the same country isn’t great, but right now China is the worse choice.

  14. I wish we had more varied options than defaulting back to US bids as the “less problematic” (though on a practical basis, I can also understand major non-US bids preferring not to go up against each other, which tends to result in the alternative being a US bid).

    But in addition to the political concerns (a point on which the US is on rather shaky moral ground), the skimpy and generic answers to many of the survey questions make me wonder whether the Chengdu bid committee honestly doesn’t understand what the specific fannish concerns are, or think those concerns can be ignored. Take, for example, the question “do the hotels/facilities accommodate accessibility needs,” their answer is: “Both of the hotels surely accommodate accessibility needs.”

    Now, maybe this is a translation issue. Maybe the “surely” in there means “we are sure about the accommodation”. But as it’s worded, it conveys, “we hope the hotels will accommodate accessibility needs but we don’t actually know.” The lack of specific details leans toward the latter reading, as well as suggesting that the committed doesn’t actually know what accessibility concerns people have, based on past experience.

    There are several other Q&A items where there’s a similar lack of specificity and vague assurance. It they don’t know what issues and problems they need to be anticipating and planning for, there isn’t any basis for believing those issues and problems will be addressed to anyone’s satisfaction.

    I want more non-US Worldcons. I want more Worldcons that have a vision of different ways of “doing Worldcon” that will be a delightful surprise and break us out of our generic expectations. But I think that can only successfully be done by committees that understand those expectations. The questions I’d like to ask the Chengdu committee are:

    1) What aspects of a Chengdu Worldcon do you think international members are likely to feel most uncomfortable with, and how would you go about resolving that discomfort in advance?

    2) What aspects of international Worldcon member expectations are the Chengdu Worldcon hosts likely to feel most uncomfortable with, and how would you go about resolving that discomfort in advance?

    By “resolve” I don’t mean “hey, suck it up and deal” on either side, but more in the line of raising the topic for honest conversation and understanding. And I’m not saying that honest conversation would resolve all the important issues. But I do think it would provide a more objective basis for making decisions. As it is, there are a lot of topics where site selection voters are going to be left making decisions based on guesswork because concrete answers have not been provided.

  15. JJ on March 1, 2021 at 1:49 pm said:
    Worldcon members have been posting objections and reasons all over the internet since the bid was announced in 2018. What are you looking for, another outraged letter by a bunch of clueless authors who are not members of Worldcon, have no idea what they are talking about, and have no intention of doing anything about it other than promoting their books?

    JJ – I’m mindful that you and the other File770 regulars are far better connected to the Worldcon community than I am. I haven’t seen much substantive (or otherwise) posted on the subject since last Summer. Hence the question.

  16. rob_matic on March 2, 2021 at 2:24 am said:
    I know that there are certainly strong feelings against the bid around these parts, but I also know that there are writers and fans in the Worldcon community who have enjoyed Chengdu hospitality and are more positive about the prospect.

    Thanks for the response rob_matic.

  17. Hampus Eckerman on March 1, 2021 at 2:52 pm said:

    Time travel is not forbidden in Chinese SF. There’s several soap operas with time travel going on Chinese TV now. No idea why that myth continues to spread

    My understanding is that it was a government reaction to the large number of time-travel to ancient China plots on TV shows rather than a ban per-se or a general ban on time-travel as a plot device. It’s more like the executives at a major US TV network deciding that they’ve got too many time-travel themed TV shows currently running and they aren’t going to do any extra ones…except the TV network is the might of the Chinese government. http://www.chinahush.com/2011/04/03/no-more-time-travel-drama-authority-says-it-disrespects-history/

    Either way, as a reason not to support the Chengdu bid, it is a very thin one. There are far bigger problems than this.

  18. The discussion about time travel bans got me curious. It appears that this is based on a 2011 dictum from the PRC suggesting that time travel was not a suitable plot device for TV/movie programs. It was justified by saying that such stories “disrespect history”.

    While a ban on time travel in literature would not impact written works, how would the PRC respond to hosting a WorldCon that ended up awarding a TV show and/or movie that included a time-traveling element?

    Also relative to fandom might be restrictions on cosplay costumes from 2015.

    Restrictions on other cultural expressions also existed in 2016. The list is…um….extensive. It appears to include a couple of “aw **** no” items from my perspective. A modest warning flag on this one.

    Some of these sites might need to be taken with a grain or pound of salt. YMMV

    Now playing It’s Not My Time by 3 Doors Down.

    Regards,
    Dann
    We adore chaos because we love to produce order. – M.C. Escher

  19. Dann665:

    Again, there is no ban on TV-shows using time travel. Several of them are aired right now, so I can’t see how that would affect a Worldcon in any way.

    Linking to sites with obviously false information doesn’t help anyone.

  20. Pingback: 2023 Worldcon Bid Filing Documents Online | File 770

  21. Now, maybe this is a translation issue. Maybe the “surely” in there means “we are sure about the accommodation”.

    I don’t have a lot of contact with native Chinese speakers, but working with Indians I do notice things like “surely” being used were we might say “certainly”.

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