Normally, most people vote for Worldcon site selection on site. Normally, people have the opportunity to hear from the site selection bids in person. But we do not live in normal times, and with all site selection moving to remote this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic CoNZealand arranged a special early question-and-answer panel for the 2022 Worldcon bids about a month before the convention. What follows is a summary of the bid presentations, questions, and answers—while I have tried to stay true to what was said, I do not promise transcription-level accuracy….
Here are a few of the questions and responses:
…Q: Chicon 7 had numerous access issues. How have you fixed them?
Chicago: The hotel took the non-ADA accessible areas out of circulation and put new, accessible function rooms in. The big accessibility chokepoint is getting into the exhibit hall, and we’ll have to work this out. But everything else should be ADA-compliant. Also at least with the Hyatt we know what the likely problem points are and can plan for them. If you had specific pain points at Chicon 7, let us know.
Q: What is the availability of assistance for mobility access, including renting mobies?
Jeddah: A lot of the rooms have workarounds but they’re not officially recognized are fully accessible (about 10% are officially recognized as such). Already working with a few companies for chairs on-site but not sure if they’ll be available to be taken offsite.
Chicago: Will have rental options for mobies, wheelchairs, etc. Guessing that there will be a pre-rental period and then we’ll have extras on site.
Q: What online virtual content do you intend to include?
Chicago: Haven’t totally decided yet, but we expect to have a pretty strong virtual component. In 2012 we had coprogramming with Dragon*Con, so we’re used to doing that kind of virtual thing. So it’s on our radar but we don’t have specifics yet.
Jeddah: Want to broadcast everything live for all the members, with at least audio streaming and hopefully video streaming. Our platform for live interpretation incorporates a live feed for sessions in both languages. Everything will be recorded for all members and stay up for as long as the server does. We also plan on having live feeds for all public spaces (e.g. the art show and dealer’s room) so online attendees can interact with in-person attendees….
Much more at the link.
(2) SPACE COMMAND. There will be a Space Command Convention on the Mr Sci-Fi YouTube channel this Sunday, starting at 10 a.m. Marc Scott Zicree says, “We will have live events all day, including interviews, and the premier of Ripple Effect, Space Command’s special episode, written and filmed during the COVID-19 Pandemic!”
(3) HORROR IN THREE PARTS. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] A History of Horror With Mark Gatiss on YouTube is a three-part series on the history of horror films Gatiss did for the BBC in 2010. In the first episode, he looks at silent films and sees such rarities as Lon Chaney Sr.’s makeup kit and the shrine of mementoes kept by Boris Karloff’s daughter. (Did you know Karloff is the only person not a president who has been on three US stamps?)
(4) THE FIFTIES. I discovered that a game I play, Baseball Mogul, has a blog – and it’s latest post is about “The Thanos Button”.
…Clicking this button randomly disintegrates half of the players in the database. It also eliminates half of everyone on earth, with corresponding adjustments to the population level of each team’s fan base.
At the beginning of Avengers: Endgame, the camera flies over an empty Citi Field, showing us that major league baseball is just one of the casualties of Thanos’ “snap”. If the baseball season can be cancelled for a virus that has killed 100,000 Americans, then surely it would be stopped by a super-villian killing more than 160 million Americans.
Well, arguments have been made on both sides. But what we do know is that, financially, Major League Baseball would be fine. Eliminating 50% of all major league players would cause team payrolls to drop by 50% — but demand for tickets would only drop by about 30%. At least in the short term, Major League Baseball would actually be more profitable….
Fox has released a statement on casting for non-white characters on “The Simpsons.”
“Moving forward, ‘The Simpsons’ will no longer have white actors voice non-white characters,” the network said Friday.
The move comes as several television shows have pulled episodes featuring blackface from their streaming platforms, and amid a nation dealing with controversial depictions of race on TV and film.
On “The Simpsons,” Hank Azaria has been the voice of the black cartoon character Carlton Carlson. He also was known for voicing Apu, a character which has long been criticized for portraying a racist depiction of an Indian person. Azaria announced in 2017 he would no longer voice the character.
[Peter] Jackson, Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens drew heavily from J.R.R. Tolkien’s rich source material to fashion a living, breathing world, complete with its own history. This also created a lot of confusion for moviegoers who had never read the books, or delved too deeply into Tolkien’s accompanying tales, such as The Silmarillion. Here’s 10 references in the Lord Of The Rings movies that only fans of the books truly understood.
Arachnophobes were horrified by the reveal of Shelob in Return Of The King, and for good reason! She’s an eight-legged nightmare who did more to demonize spiders than any other film since Arachnophobia.
What the film didn’t touch upon was her origin story. Far from just a fat, grotesque spider, Shelob is actually a child of Ungoliant, a fearsome arachnid who allied herself with Melkor during the First Age, before the two became bitter enemies. Ungoliant is briefly mentioned by Radagast the Brown in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
…Mr. Glaser joined forces with the editor Clay Felker in 1968 to found New York magazine, where he was president and design director until 1977, imposing a visual format that still largely survives. With his friend Jerome Snyder, the art director of Scientific American, he wrote a budget-dining column, “The Underground Gourmet,” for The New York Herald Tribune and, later, New York magazine. The column spawned a guidebook of the same name in 1966 and “The Underground Gourmet Cookbook” in 1975.
Mr. Glaser started his own design firm, Milton Glaser Inc., in 1974. A year later he left Push Pin, just as he was being given his own show at the Museum of Modern Art.
“At a certain point we were accepted, and once that happens, everything becomes less interesting,” he said in an interview for “Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History,” an exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in 1989.
(8) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.
June 1953 — “In Hoka Signo Vinces” was published. A Hoka novella, it was written by Poul Anderson and Gordon Dickson, it was published by Other Worlds Science Stories which ran from 1949 to 1957. It’s currently available in Hoka! Hoka! Hoka!, a Baen Books anthology which also includes the first Hoka story, “The Sheriff of Canyon Gulch”.
(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.
[Compled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz.]
Born June 27, 1850 – Lafcadio Hearn. Greek-Irish author who became a naturalized Japanese citizen and professor at Waseda U., first living in France, Ohio, Louisiana, the West Indies. Ten dozen short stories for us; collections of legends and ghost tales; translated Flaubert, Gautier, Maupassant, Zola; LH’s Kwaidan was made into the Kobayashi film; a dozen-and-a-half posthumous collections, recently by Princeton and U. Chicago. (Died 1904) [JH]
Born June 27, 1908 – Henry Kiemle, Jr. Much work for Westerns; fifty interiors for us. Here is “Elixir” (James Blish). Here is “The Shadow-Gods” (Vaseleos Garson). Here is “The Life Detour” (David Keller). You can read more about HK here. (Died 1969) [JH]
Born June 27, 1927 – Tibor Csernus. Hungarian painter living in Paris after 1964. Among much other work ten dozen covers for us, a few interiors. Here is The Players of Null-A. Here is Bug Jack Barron (under French title). Here is We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Here is Genocides. Kossuth Prize. Knight of the Order of Arts & Letters. (Died 2007) [JH]
Born June 27, 1948 – Esther Rochon, 72.Grand Prix de la science fiction et du fantastique québecois four times. Governor-General First Prize at age 16. A score of novels, three dozen shorter stories. Co-founded Imagine; two covers for it, here is one. Has not neglected fanzines, e.g. you can see her in Lofgeornost. [JH]
Born June 27, 1952 – Mary Rosenblum. Author and cheesemaker. Mystery fiction too under another name. Five novels; five dozen shorter stories in Analog, Asimov’s, Lightspeed, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Translated into French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish. Compton Crook and Sidewise Awards. (Died 2018) [JH]
Born June 27, 1978 – Bernard Quiriny, 42. Author, critic, Professor of Public Law at U. Burgundy, literature column for Chronic’art. One novel so far, five dozen shorter stories. Recurring character Pierre Gould is “eccentric…. poet, dandy, book-lover, just a bit of a misanthrope”. Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, Prix du Style, Prix Victor Rossel, Prix Robert Duterme. [JH]
Born June 27, 1952 — Mary Rosenblum. SF writer who won the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel for The Drylands. She later won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History Short Form for her story, “Sacrifice.” Water Rites and Horizons are the only ones available digitally. (Died 2018.) (CE)
Born June 27, 1959 — Stephen Dedman, 61. Australian author who’s the author of The Art of Arrow-Cutting, a most excellent novel. I really should read Shadows Bite, the sequel to it. He’s the story editor of Borderlands, the tri-annual Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror magazine published in Perth. Apple Books has nothing for him, Kindle has The Art of Arrow-Cutting and a few other titles. (CE)
Born June 27, 1972 — Christian Kane, 48. You’ll certain recognize him as he’s been around genre video fiction for a while first playing Lindsey McDonald on Angel before become Jacob Stone on The Librarians. And though Leverage ain’t genre, his role as Eliot Spencer there is definitely worth seeing. (CE)
Born June 27, 1975 — Tobey Maguire, 45. Spider-Man in the Sam Raimi trilogy of the Spidey films. His first genre appearance was actually in The Revenge of the Red Baron which is one serious weird film. Much more interesting is his role as David in Pleasantville, a film I love dearly. He produced The 5th Wave, a recent alien invasion film. (CE)
Born June 27, 1987 — Ed Westwick, 33. British actor who has roles in the dystopian Children of Men, S. Darko (a film I couldn’t begin to summarize), Freaks of Nature (a popcorn film if ever there was one), the “Roadside Bouquets” episode of the British series Afterlife (which I want to see) and The Crash (which may or may not be SF). (CE)
(10) COMICS SECTION.
Close to Home has an elevator gag that reminds me of Attack the Block.
(11) TO BOLDLY GO BLEEP. Twitter’s Swear Trek is a prolific GIF creator of – you guessed it!
How’s this for a commitment to high fantasy realism: Amazon is reportedly seeking visually distinctive actors — or, in its casting agency’s own words, “funny looking” people — who’re believed to be potential candidates for its Lord of the Rings prequel series in New Zealand.
Yahoo! Entertainment reports that BGT Actors Models & Talent — the same Auckland-based agency that helped cast extras for Peter Jackson’s LOTR film trilogy — has put out an open call for “funny looking” New Zealanders who have out-of-the-ordinary facial features and body types.
(13) SEVEN YEARS BAD LUCK?“Nasa Astronaut Drops Mirror Into Space During Spacewalk”. Though I suppose the bad luck doesn’t start to run until the mirror is broken – hits something, re-enters the atmosphere, or hangs around until the heat death of the universe (which we know is going to be really bad luck).
An astronaut has dropped a small mirror into space by accident, Nasa has said.
Commander Chris Cassidy lost control of the mirror while leaving the International Space Station for a spacewalk to work on batteries, and it floated away at about a foot per second, the space agency said.
The object is now just one part of the vast amount of space junk that is in orbit around the Earth.
Cassidy had been conducting an otherwise uneventful spacewalk with Bob Behnken, who arrived at the space station on board a SpaceX craft last month.
Mission Control said the mirror somehow became detached from Cassidy’s spacesuit. The lost item posed no risk to the astronauts, spacewalk or the station, Nasa said.
(14) WON’T STAND FOR IT. A petty inconsistency is the hobgoblin of internet comedy.
NASA has released open-source instructions for a 3D-printed necklace designed to help you stop touching your face. We’ve heard time and time again that we shouldn’t touch our mush with our fingers to limit our chances of contracting COVID-19. However, it’s not always easy to avoid that reflex.
To remind you to keep your mitts at bay, three engineers at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Lab created Pulse. The necklace has a proximity sensor with a 12-inch range and a coin vibration motor, which activates when you move your hand towards your head. The closer your fingers are, the more intense the vibrations get….
(16) MUPPETS. The Muppets visited The Late Late Show with James Corden:
Although James Corden, Reggie Watts and The Muppets can’t be together in a studio, the group comes together on video chat to sing The Beatles classic “With a Little Help from My Friends.” Sing along with Kermit, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Swedish Chef, Animal, Gonzo and so many more.
… Given the choice to feature a crime plot, it is curious how The Great Muppet Caper does not decide to pastiche the many different types of crime films. The film is more interested in emulating splashy, Golden Age of Hollywood musicals. Which is fine. It is also partially a love story, partially a tale of mistaken identity, partially a satire of the high-fashion world. When it does refocus the burglaries that Kermit and Co. are trying to solve, it does not resemble a detective story as much as a journalistic investigation. See, Kermit, Fozzie Bear, and the Great Gonzo are all reporters who fail to break a story about a jewel heist that happens during the opening number, right behind them. Fired from their newspaper, they set off for London, to try to interview the woman, Lady Holiday (Diana Rigg), who has been robbed. While across the pond, they end up on the trail of serial thieves, the ringleader of whom is Lady Holiday’s deadbeat brother Nicky (Charles Grodin, hooray!). But truthfully, most of the movie is about Kermit falling in love with Miss Piggy, an aspiring fashion model who impersonates her boss, Lady Holiday, because she wants to impress Kermit.
[Thanks to John Hertz, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Lise Andreasen, Chip Hitchcock, Martin Morse Wooster, Bill, Andrew Porter, John King Tarpinian, Michael Toman, and Mike Kennedy for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Andrew.]
The advance membership tokens required for voters in the 2022 Worldcon Site Selection can now be purchased through the CoNZeland website.
Full information about buying tokens and guidelines for voting in 2022 Site Selection are available at the link. The deadline for CoNZealand to receive postal mailed ballots is July 13, and the deadline for email ballots is July 29 at 12:00n New Zealand time.
Whether you vote by mail or online, you must pay an Advance Supporting Membership (Voting) Fee of NZ$72 to vote in the 2022 Worldcon site selection. Payment may only be made via the information on the CoNZealand website, using your credit card. No checks or cash will be accepted by mail. Voters must purchase their site selection token before July 29 for their ballot to be counted.
CoNZealand is scheduling a one-hour moderated session on June 28, 06:00 NZT where members can hear each 2022 Worldcon bid make a presentation and respond to questions asked by one of the moderators. The link has not yet been distributed.
CoNZealand attending members can submit questions to be asked of the bids via this form. Submissions will be anonymous. The committee adds:
All submitted questions will be edited to remove any personal attacks. We will encourage questions to be hard, but we will not permit them to be insulting.
We will follow the general format that has been used recently….
15 minutes will be allotted for each presentation and there will be a 30 minute questioning period of both bids to follow.
Responses the two bids have already made to Frequently Asked Questions can be read online:
Guidelines for voting in 2022 Site Selection are here. The deadline for CoNZealand to receive postal mailed ballots is July 13, and the deadline for email ballots is July 29 at 12:00n New Zealand time.
CoNZealand has opened site selection voting for the location of the World Science Fiction Convention in 2022. There are two filed bids, for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Chicago, Illinois, USA. Full information is available at the convention’s website.
Email ballots will be accepted via the process explained at the link. For those who wish to cast their ballot by postal mail, CoNZealand asks that you send it as soon as possible, as there are delays in global mail due to the global pandemic.
Whether you vote by mail or online, you must also pay an Advance Supporting Membership (Voting) Fee of NZ$72 to vote in the 2022 Worldcon site selection. Payment may only be made on the CoNZealand website, using your credit card. No checks or cash will be accepted by mail. HOWEVER, the system to make online payments for site selection tokens is not available yet. CoNZealand will announce it online and to the members when it is ready. Voters must purchase their site selection token before July 29 for their ballot to be counted. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
CoNZealand will host a one-hour moderated session on June 27/28 where members can hear each 2022 bid make a presentation and also hear the bids respond to questions submitted by members to the moderators. Attending members can submit questions to be asked of the bids via this form.
The bid committee to bring the Worldcon to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2022 (JeddiCon) styles itself The Jeddi High Council. The Master of The Order – bid chair — is Yasser Bahjatt. He’s been to Worldcons, and Olav Rokne forwarded several photos he took of Bahjatt on a panel at the San Jose Worldcon of 2018. (Thanks to Steven H Silver for the panelist identifications.)
This was the alternate history panel “If This, Then What?” The panelists in order from left to right: Kaja Foglio, Steven H Silver, Yasser Bahjatt, Kay Kenyon, Harry Turtledove. (Foglio only appears in the last picture.)
The JeddiCon bid committee wants to bring the Worldcon to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in 2022. When their bid went public in January, File 770 asked for more information about their conrunning experience. Here’s the background they shared.
Thank you for your interest in JeddiCon and its
committee (The Jeddi High Council).
The Jeddi High Council members are all top
professionals in their fields. Bellow you will find their summery bio that
includes the event running experiences that they each have:
Master of The Order Yasser Bahjatt
Yasser has bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering
specialized in Computer Engineering, he is also an alumni of Singularity
University’s Graduate Study Program.
Yasser has been managing eSports events since 2003
with some events growing to several thousand players competing across 27
locations located around the kingdom. He was also the organized and
co-organized several TEDx events in Jeddah.
He has been a driving force for cultivating and
growing the SciFi culture in Saudi and across the Arabian world.
Lore Keeper Rami Hamzah
Rami Hamzah is a proactive knowledge seeker since he
began to explore and make sense of written forms during his emerging literacy
phase of his life. That’s when his journey began by a coincidence when he found
the ancient “One Thousand and One Nights” book in his hand at the age of 7
He was always fascinated by Fiction and historical
Rami worked on managing logistical support of the
opening and closing ceremony of Saudi Professional League 2015/2016. He had a
multi-dimensional study/career path through the past 20 years in Information
Technology, Logistics, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service.
Master Thamer Alturaif
Thamer M. Alturaif is a Chemical engineer from King Abdelaziz university with a master’s in business administration from university of Colorado. Throughout his career as an HR professional Thamer managed numerous events and activities scaling from small events like workshops/trainings/townhalls up to companywide initiatives like roadshows and annual seminars. Biggest project was overseeing the deployment and management of over 3000 temporary employees from different nationalities during Hajj operations in the 2019 season.
He studied medical technology and is currently working
in Laboratory Information Sciences and is still waiting for the lab accident
that will grant him superpowers…
He was part of the planning committee for the 2nd
annual Laboratory week hosted by King Faisal Specialist Hospital Jeddah.
Master Ahmad Sabbagh
Ahmed has bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and
Production Engineering, and he also has an MBA.
Ahmad was in charge of organizing Buyer & Seller
Conference in Indonesia and Bangladesh. And was also managing logistics
Master Tameem Qashqari
He is a member of Geekfest community and he has
participated in organizing Geekfest Jeddah. He was responsible for developing
the marketing pitch to corporations to secure sponsors for the event.
He hosted the Low Priority Queue podcast which is A geek-centric podcast of three fanboys with great intentions, but absurdly poor taste.
Residing for eternity where gamers go to die
Master Ashraf Fagih
He has a PhD in Computing from Queen’s University in
Canada and served as an assistant Professor at King Fahd University of
Petroleum & Minerals.
Between 2015 and 2017, Ashraf served as Vice Rector
for University Relations & Community Outreach at King Fahd University of
Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He was directly involved in
the organization and crowd management of major university events including the
graduation ceremony and all VIP reception affairs.
Since 2018, Ashraf has been appointed as the head of
Communication-then Operations- of King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture
(Ithra); the flagship initiative of Saudi Aramco Company. Ashraf was directly
involved in the programming, supervision and promotion of a wide set of
cultural and scientific activities offered by Ithra, attended by more than 1.2
million visitors over the course of the past 18 months.
Master Raneen Bukhari
Raneen grew up in what she calls “a business/art
environment”, Her mother is an artist and her father a businessman. She has
worked on and led the planning and organization of many events over many
different fields. In 2013, she was in charge of the launch campaign for NICE
stores in AlKhobar. She is also the co-creator and curator of LOUD Art, a
traveling platform for emerging experimental artists, organized annually from
2012 to 2016. Bukhari is a co-organizer of Huna Art, a casual art talk that has
been happened bimonthly from 2013 to 2016. She has organized 28 art exhibitions
in Saudi and around the world. Most recently, she just finished working on
Desert X AlUla as logistics and shipping director.
If you have any more questions please do not hesitate
The bid committee styles itself the Jeddi High Council, led by Master
of the Order Yasser Bahjatt (Yoda), who was born in Michigan but has lived in Jeddah
since he was 5. He is a computer engineer by profession, but also is the author
of Yaqteenya: The Old World, “the first Arabian alternative history
The bid website adds:
Yasser has been actively building the SciFi culture in Arabia since 2012 when he announced the Initiative Yatakhayaloon that he co-founded with his parter Ibraheem Abbas to jump start the contrary SciFi culture in Arabia (TED Talk). Since then he has been attending the WorldCon to talk about Arabian SciFi and to promote it globally.
Other committee members are Grandmaster Khalid Alsameti (Kenobi), Lore
Keeper Rami Hamzah (R2-D2), Ahmad Sabbagh (Ackbar), Dr. Ashraf Fagih (Anakin) a
Saudi writer and novelist, Mohammed Albakri (Mace), Raneen Bukhari (Rey), Tamim
Kashgari (Tarkin), and Thamer Alturaif (Vader).
File 770 sent an inquiry through the contact page on their website asking about their conrunning experience but has yet to receive a reply.
As is well known, visitors to Saudi Arabia are subject to various cultural and religious restrictions, which can be read about in the entry on the country’s “Local laws and customs” posted by the government of the United Kingdom. Some of these include —
…Local laws require men and women to dress modestly covering shoulders and knees in public, avoiding tight-fitting clothing or clothes with profane language or images. It is not mandatory for female travellers to wear the traditional robe or abaaya. Information on important laws and etiquette around dress codes is available to visitors on the Visit Saudi website.
…Homosexual or extra-marital sexual relations, including adultery, are illegal and can be subject to severe penalties. It’s also illegal to be transgender. Transgender people travelling to Saudi Arabia are likely to face significant difficulties and risks if this is discovered by the authorities. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
CHICAGO IN 2022. The Chicago bid has been wooing voters for a few years now. Their most recent Smofcon questionnaire, Chicago for Worldcon 80 in 2022, said, “We will likely be at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in downtown Chicago, the site of four prior Chicago Worldcons.”