2012 Site Selection Report

Mark Linneman’s official 2012 Site Selection report now is posted on the Worldcon website. It confirms the vote totals I ran the other day and is studded with fascinating details about the write-ins. Mark says:

There were 25 votes for “none of the above” and 20 expressed no preference. Minneapolis in ’73 received 8 votes, Peggy Rae’s 4 votes, Monkey’s Eyebrow 3, and Dave McCarty’s and Xerps in 2010 2 votes each. Fifteen different locations each received a single vote. There were 189 mail-in ballots and 337 cast at Aussiecon 4.

Single Votes: Chiculub, Chitzen Atzai, Barnes City,IA, Dave Freer’s House, Mons Olympus, Tenopah, NV, Kauai, No Dams, Antartica, Boston in Orlando, New Zealand 2020, Huntsville, AL,Rottonest Island, The Fabulous Bungalow, Perth, Australia.

Hard to guess the intent behind some of these misspellings. On purpose? By mistake? Years ago a friend of mine cautioned, “Intentional misspellings are meaningless when true errors abound.”

It’s Chicon 7

The winning bid for 2012 has now officially morphed into Chicon 7.

The Guests of Honor will be author Mike Resnick, artist Rowena Morrill, astronaut Story Musgrave, fan Peggy Rae Sapienza, and “industry” (it says on the website) Jane Frank.

Mike Resnick has been a dominant figure on the SF scene for many years — just how dominant you can tell from the list of accolades on the Baen site, which begins:

[He’s] the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short fiction; and when you add in novels and non-fiction, he’s fourth on the all-time list. He is the winner of 5 Hugos (from 31 nominations), [and] a Nebula (11 nominations)…

Rowena Morrill is a highly acclaimed artist with a career spanning over 20 years.

Story Musgrave was an NASA astronaut for over 30 years and flew on six spaceflights:

He performed the first shuttle spacewalk on Challenger’s first flight, was a pilot on an astronomy mission, conducted two classified DOD missions, was the lead spacewalker on the Hubble Telescope repair mission and on his last flight, he operated an electronic chip manufacturing satellite on Columbia…. He is a concept artist with Walt Disney Imagineering, an innovator with Applied Minds Inc. and a professor of design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA

Peggy Rae Sapienza chaired Bucconeer, the 1998 Worldcon, and has provided leadership at lot of other Worldcons. She assisted Nippon 2007 in many ways while serving as its North American agent. Her father, Jack McKnight, machined the first Hugo Awards in 1953. Peggy Rae was active in the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society in the late 1950s. She won the Big Heart Award in 1983.

Jane Frank has been a collector for decades and has run WoW-Art since 1991, selling illustrative genre art.

John Scalzi will be Toastmaster.

Update 09/05/2010: Aussiecon 4 later issued a very nice press release, which I have added after 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.

The Last Minute

Chicago in 2012 bidder Helen Montgomery is encouraging people to get site selection memberships before the August 9 postmark deadline for mail ballots.

Chicago is unopposed, but Helen offers two arguments for taking the time to vote:

1)  If you are a Friend of the Bid (i.e. you gave us $100 or more), then $80 of that money has been held aside to pay for your conversion to an attending membership – but only if you voteIf you do not vote, you forfeit your automatic conversion to an attending membership.  If you do not vote, you will need to purchase a supporting or attending membership, and we guarantee that will cost more than the voting fee.

2)  Everyone’s voting fee will go to the winning bid (which we hope will be us!) and will be used as the “startup” money for the convention.  The more people who vote, the better the financial position the convention will be in at the start, which helps us do more fun stuff at the convention.

Any Worldcon is anxious to have a solid amount of startup money, and it’s true that only the winner of a two-horse race benefits from a rival’s success at turning out voters who have no interest in a con held in the opposing town.

Yet there’s rarely a push to get people to join a Worldcon at the lowest rate available. Every Worldcon budget I’ve ever seen depends on receiving additional revenue from fans who join later at the graduated membership rates.

I expect Chicago to have a very healthy number of members, eventually, still one must have enough money for publications and other immediate needs and maybe they have reason to be concerned.

Remember, it’s not just a matter of being willing to buy a voting membership to join Chicago — only supporting or attending members of Aussiecon 4 are eligible for those memberships. Aussiecon 4 will be a smaller-than-average Worldcon, of course, and the non-Australian members are the ones more likely to be interested in joining a  Chicago Worldcon, which leaves a lot of fans faced with buying an “unnecessary” $50 supporting membership in this year’s Worldcon for the privilege of joining Chicago at the lowest rate. Aussiecon had around 1100 North American members in June 2010 (see PR 3), compared to over 2500 North American members of Anticipation in April 2009 (see their PR4), so that $50 is a barrier for a lot more fans today than it was a year ago. That’s why it would be no surprise to discover that a lot more fans than usual are putting off the decision to buy a 2012 membership ‘til they’ve decided for sure they’re attending the con.

The full message follows the jump. Continue reading

Aussiecon 4 Extends Site Selection

Aussiecon 4 extended the 2012 site selection mail-in deadline to August 9. The original deadline was July 31. However, the Aussiecon 4 PR with the paper ballot was delayed at the Australian post office. The change was announced about 10 days ago after consultation with the only filed bid, Chicago in 2012 but it may be news to some of you. Go to the website, get the ballot and send off your voting membership if you haven’t already because it will never be any cheaper to join.

2012 Worldcon Site Selection Ballot Available

Chicago was the lone bidder for the 2012 Worldcon to file by the deadline and therefore is the only city listed on the site selection ballot now posted at the AussieCon4 website.

Aussiecon 4 members who purchase site selection memberships may cast their ballots by mail, or in person at Aussiecon 4. The deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots is July 31. Voting at the convention will be open until 6 p.m. Saturday, September 4.

Sowing Dragon’s Teeth

When Mike Resnick raised questions about the Worldcon’s future in an SF Signal comment chain his approach there was to describe symptoms, assess possible causes and urge intelligent changes to fix them. Yet in crafting his editorial for Universe about the same topic Resnick inexplicably took a radically different approach.

Readers of Universe presumably now believe that Worldcon’s inept volunteers cheated posterity out of 120,000-member Worldcons by scorning gamers, anime and comics fans, and have ruined the Worldcon brand by sending it out of the U.S. too many times. Worldcon now reaps what it has sown. Attendance is flat and Resnick says publishers are abandoning the shrinking Worldcon. Writers inevitably will follow them to Dragon*Con and Comic-Con as he has.

A bidder for a future Worldcon says he recently received a similar warning from an unnamed past Worldcon guest of honor. (That would have to be someone different than Resnick, who hasn’t been GoH.)

Conrunners would worry about these warnings and criticisms anyway, and a few are especially anxious about the unopposed Chicago in 2012 bid’s plan to hold the con over Labor Day weekend. That would be the first time a U.S. Worldcon has been held opposite Dragon*Con since 2004.

These are hard times for conventions that cater to the written word as Worldcon does. Worldcons in the 1990s typically had around 6,500 attendees. Since 2000 only two Worldcons have drawn 6,000 and the others rarely topped 4,000. I’d like to stop the incredible shrinking Worldcon so I agree it is a good idea to identify and address the genuine problems. They are not the ones Resnick chose to dramatize, and there are good reasons why worrying about Dragon*Con won’t contribute to solving them.

[This long post continues after the jump.]

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For the Record, It’s the Hyatt Regency

Writing about Chicago in 2012’s pulp magazines made me realize I never followed up the story I wrote before the Worldcon promising they’d announce the name of the facility they panned to use if they win. They did, and most of you know it already, just the same I’ll let myself be guided by the principle that every story is news to someone.

If Chicago gets the 2012 Worldcon, they’ll bring it back to the Hyatt Regency. The committee got bids from two major hotels, researched the supplemental facilities that might be needed in either case, and had long, detailed internal discussions before choosing the Hyatt.  The hotel has hosted three Worldcons before, a fact that made the bidders honestly more willing to look another facility: if they found something they liked better that would help convince fans they’re not resting on their laurels. However, the renovated and expanded Hyatt is a fine place to hold a Worldcon and I applaud their choice.

Chicago in 2012 Adds Online Pulps

So many writers have been interested in contributing stories to the Chicago worldcon bid’s series of collectible pulps that extra issues will be created and posted at the Chicago in 2012 website where fans can read them for free.

The series of paper issues are available to fans who buy $20 for a “pulp collector” membership to support the bid. There have been five mini-magazines so far, each with a story by a well-known sf writer and a cover by a notable artist.

The authors and titles of the stories to date are: Frederik Pohl, “Bialystok Stronghead and the Mermen” (8/08), Mike Resnick, “The Paternal Flame” (11/08), Matthew Woodring Stover, “South Loop Whipsaw” (2/09), Phyllis Eisenstein, “Boltzmann Schiaparelli and the Lizard King” (6/09), and Gene Wolfe, “Planetarium in Orbit” (8/09).

The cover artists have been: Frank R. Paul, delphyne woods, Stephan Martinière, Randy Broecker, and Deb Kosiba.

The next paper issue will be released in November at Windycon.

The first free online issue was posted in September, featuring Richard Garfinkle’s “Eternal Quadrangle” and a cover by Alessandra Kelley. Others will follow in the months no paper issues are scheduled to come out.