Smofcon Scholarships Available

CanSMOF Inc., parent non-profit organization of Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon, is offering two scholarships to conrunners to attend Smofcon 29 in Amsterdam. SMOFcon will be held December 2-4, 2011.

Each scholarship will be worth up to C$1000. One will go to a Canadian, preferably someone who has not attended SMOFcon before. The other will be awarded without restrictions.

The full press release follows the jump.

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CanSMOF Awards Scholarships

CanSMOF Inc., parent non-profit organization of Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon, has announced the winners of its two $500 scholarships given for the purpose of allowing promising conrunners to attend the Smofcon 28 in San Jose.

Kent Pollard of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan won the scholarship open to a Canadian citizen or resident. Norman Cates of Wellington, New Zealand won the scholarship open to anyone regardless of their place of residence or citizenship.

Psychological Distance

The day after Aussiecon 4 ended, Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon, issued a press release drawing attention to the “changing of the guard.”

“With four of the last six Worldcons held outside the U.S., it’s great to bring Worldcon to Reno for the first time,” said Patty Wells, Renovation’s chair. “We hope to welcome back many fans who may have missed the last couple of conventions as well as reach out to new fans who have never been to Worldcon.”

I hadn’t thought that 2009’s “outside the U.S.” Worldcon was really that far away, Montreal being a mere 331 miles from the center of the publishing universe in New York. But when I said so several fans answered that the requirement of crossing the U.S. border was a more important deterrent than the trivial distance involved. (We had this discussion before Peter Watts’ border experience — I wouldn’t have to be convinced now.)

How many fans will feel that a Worldcon held in Reno is psychologically less far away than the geographically-nearer Worldcon in Montreal?

The full press release follows the jump.

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Chicago in 2012 Confirmed in Early Returns

Chicago’s uncontested bid to host the 2012 Worldcon reportedly polled 447 votes out of 526 cast by members of Aussiecon 4. Another 20 ballots expressed no preference, while the remaining 59 were scattered among write-ins that will be identified later in an official report.

The figures were released in advance of the Sunday Business Meeting at which the site selection result will be officially announced and the Chicago committee will announce its guests of honor.

Around that time PR#0 will be distributed, the 2012 Worldcon’s website will go live, and Aussiecon 4 will put out a press release to the media.

This site selection vote total, 526, is the smallest for any year since 1974 (the earliest listed by Smofinfo). It’s only a shade less than the number of votes cast in 1975 at Aussiecon 1 (528) and in 1985 at Aussiecon 2 (527), but hundreds fewer than were cast in 1999 at Aussiecon 3 (820) so this isn’t something people were expecting simply because the vote was being held Down Under.

The 2012 committee be starting with substantially less funds than most Worldcons do. Something that will help is the pass-along funds they’ll receive from the 2009 Worldcon. The last public figure I saw indicated three future Worldcons (2010-2012) would get $22,500 from Anticipation’s surplus.

Meantime, Secret Masters of Fandom looking for their fanpolitical fix should read Kevin Standlee’s summary of the Main Business Meeting.

Standlee has also announced there is a low-res video recording of the Preliminary Business Meeting available for viewing.

You can also keep up with what is happening through the convention’s onsite newsletter, Voice of the Echidna.

The newsletter reports that attendance at close of business Friday consisted of “1582 preregistered members on site, as well as 52 walk-in full members. On Friday, there were 67 Friday day members.” I guess this means 1701. Which is a very enterprising number.

Anticipation Is Makin’ Me Wait

Actually the waiting is over! Chris Garcia has posted the highly entertaining Fanzine Cover In An Hour featuring art improvised at Anticipation by Taral, Marc Schirmeister and Steve Stiles.

The zine’s official title is rather longer and here is Chris’ explanation of how he ended up with “Go Drop Dead” An Anticipation Fanzine in an Hour…kinda

The theme for the art, which I got from the audience was…tentacles and airships! It did my heart good, being such a fan of both Cthuhlu and Steampunk. I asked folks for a suggestion for a title, particularly bothering Marc [Schirmeister], who told me to ‘Go Drop Dead”. That is how titles are made!

In one of several short articles between the drawings of tentacles and airships Chris Garcia pays tribute to poutine, a Canadian comfort food that may possibly taste good but does not photograph well. It looks a lot scarier than all those sketches of Cthulhu.

Anticipation Pass-Along Increased

Congratulations to Anticipation, the 2009 Worldcon in Montreal, for increasing the amount of surplus funds it is passing on to future Worldcons.

The first checks were delivered at Smofcon to Aussiecon 4 and Renovation, with an equal amount reserved for the next Worldcon to adopt the pass-along policy (maybe the winning 2012 bid.)

Earlier this month René Walling, who co-chaired with Robbie Bourget, announced the amount each of the three Worldcons is receiving has been raised to US$22,500 in total.

Simply multiply by three and it works out that Anticipation’s surplus was at least $67,500, which is remarkable coming from one of the smaller Worldcons.

The pass-along policy is a commitment to distribute at least one-half of a Worldcon’s surplus to the next three Worldcons that make the same promise.  A con may pass on much more than 50% if it chooses, of course. In any event questions about the size of Anticipation’s surplus will be answered by its financial report to the Aussiecon 4 business meeting (or earlier, if Robbie and René decide.)

Paul Krugman’s Anticipation

Economist Paul Krugman’s appearance at last year’s Worldcon received a couple paragraphs of analysis in a lengthy profile by Larissa MacFarquhar for The New Yorker.

“Last August, Krugman decided that before he and Wells departed for a bicycle tour of Scotland he would take a couple of days to speak at the sixty-seventh world science-fiction convention, to be held in Montreal. (Krugman has been a science-fiction fan since he was a boy.) At the convention, there was a lot of extremely long hair, a lot of blue hair, and a lot of capes. There was a woman dressed as a cat, there was a woman with a green brain attached to her head with wire, there was a person in a green face mask, there was a young woman spinning wool. There was a Jedi and a Storm Trooper. Those participants who were not dressed as cats were wearing T-shirts with something written on them: “I don’t understand—and I’m a rocket scientist,” “I see dead pixels,” “Math is delicious.” Krugman has always had a nerdy obsession with puns….

Krugman explained that he’d become an economist because of science fiction….. “If you read other genres of fiction, you can learn about the way people are and the way society is,” Krugman said to the audience, “but you don’t get very much thinking about why are things the way they are, or what might make them different. What would happen if ?”

[Thanks to Gary Farber for the link.]

A Satisfied Customer

Taral bought copies of the 2009 Hugo Award DVD and has this to say about the experience:

I just got the two copies I ordered from the website. While the disks were reasonably priced, the shipping & handling was outrageous, I thought. It was actually more than the cost of the DVD! I bought two, since it made the S&H seem a little less ridiculous, spread out over a pair.

The packaging is the standard plastic snap-shut case, with art borrowed from one of the con pubs. Nobody asked me, but I don’t mind that. I do mind that there was no credit to the artist, anywhere.

Production seemed good, though, to be honest, there was more than enough space for the Opening & Closing ceremonies as well. I noticed some edits. It’ll play on the computer with some program like Power DVD, but not Windows MP. Plays on the TV of course.

I’ve read Taral’s evaluations of many things over the years and taking everything into account I believe this is a favorable review…

Smofcon Ripples

Smofcon 27 was held in Austin over the weekend and produced plenty of interesting news.

This year’s Worldcon, Anticipation, distributed checks for pass-along surplus funds, $17,000 each to Aussiecon 4 and Renovation, and is holding another $17,000 for the winning 2012 bid. 

There presently is only one 2012 Worldcon bid, for Chicago. During Smofcon the bid committee revealed it has chosen Dave McCarty to chair the Worldcon if they win. He is beginning to set up the committee structure.

Bidders for future Smofcons made presentations. The two bids for Smofcon 2011 are Maui (James Daugherty and Bobbi Armbruster) and Amsterdam (Vince Docherty, presented by Steve Cooper).  There also is a bid to hold Smofcon in Pennsylvania in 2012, either in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia (Laurie Mann and Joni Dashoff).