CoNZealand Accommodation Information

CoNZealand has announced that 2020 Worldcon members will be able to book selected Wellington, New Zealand accommodations at special rates beginning December 3, 2019 at 9 a.m. (NZ time, UTC+13).

“We have negotiated special rates or discounts for members at 14 hotels in Wellington in close proximity of our venues,” say CoNZealand Co-Chairs Kelly Buehler and Norman Cates.

Details about the hotels and rates are posted at www.conzealand.nz/hotels; however, booking links and discount codes will only be provided beginning December 3 on the CoNZealand website.

The Co-Chairs advise, “Members need to be aware that the process for booking accommodation for CoNZealand is different from other Worldcons. Wellington doesn’t have a housing bureau or any other central booking agency. That means individuals will need to book their own rooms, and these will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.”

Members should also keep in mind that the convention will use two main locations, which are approximately 600 metres (about 4/10 of a mile) apart: The TSB Arena, Shed6 and the Intercontinental Hotel will be used is mostly for panels, workshops, dealers and exhibits during the day, and the Michael Fowler Centre and West Plaza will host large events like Masquerade, Hugo Ceremony, major speeches, dances, parties and the World Science Fiction Society business meeting. 

CoNZealand encourages members to select a hotel close to the centre they expect to spend the most time at. More information about their facilities is available at https://conzealand.nz/about-conzealand/about-our-facilities.


Most hotels will need a credit card to guarantee the reservation, and some may place a charge on the card at the time of booking. Hotels also have different cancellation policies, meaning that after a certain date it will be expensive to change plans.
 
The individual conditions for each hotel are noted on the CoNZealand website.

“While we’re pleased we’re able to offer members special rates, we also note that visitors’ choice is not limited to the options listed on our website,” Buehler and Cates say. “Wellington boasts a large range of accommodation options, including backpackers and AirBnBs, and visitors are welcome to shop around for housing best suited to their needs and budgets. We look forward to seeing you all here!”

Bookings for people with accessibility needs opened on November 5, with information emailed directly to those who had indicated they had accessibility requirements in their membership registration.

[Based on a press release.]

CoNZealand Assumes Role as Next Worldcon

With Dublin 2019 – An Irish Worldcon ending its five-day run, CoNZealand has picked up the reins as host of the next World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon).

CoNZealand will be the 78th Worldcon and will take place from Wednesday, July 29 to Sunday, August 2, 2020. Guests of Honour are the authors Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon, New Zealand artist Greg Broadmore, and fandom star Rose Mitchell. George R.R. Martin, a longtime friend of Worldcon, will be Toastmaster.

New Zealand is the second southern hemisphere country ever to host a Worldcon, following Australia, where four Worldcons have taken place. New Zealand’s own National Science Fiction Convention has been running since 1979, and the country has attracted significant fan tourism since the release of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, which were filmed and produced in New Zealand.

“We’re excited to be able to bring one of the world’s most important science fiction conventions to New Zealand fans, and bring the international science fiction community to Middle Earth,” said CoNZealand Co-Chairs Norman Cates and Kelly Buehler.

Dublin 2019 sold out, with more than 5,800 members attending and more than 7,380 memberships sold in total including supporters. In addition, more than 500 day passes were sold.
 
“It has been a thrill to welcome fans to Ireland and I want to thank everyone who contributed to the experience,” said Dublin 2019 chairman James Bacon. “That includes programme participants, volunteers, and all the members, as well as venue staff. We wish CoNZealand every success with New Zealand’s debut Worldcon.”

[Based on a press release.]

Pixel Scroll 5/23/19 Cirque Du Scroll

(1) A NICE ROUND NUMBER. Air New Zealand just might take up George R.R. Martin’s suggestion to fly a bunch of his fans to next year’s Worldcon, CoNZealand.

(2) CONZEALAND. Here’s an interview with the 2020 Worldcon chair recorded not long ago, but before the events in the first item.

We are back with our video coverage from Wellygeddon 2019, this time we talked to Norman, one of the awesome people behind CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, which is happening on 29th July – 2nd August 2020, and they are looking for volunteers!

(3) NO CHESSIECON THIS YEAR. Chessiecon 2019 has been cancelled. The convention had been planned for November 29-December 1, 2019 in Baltimore. Refunds are promised. The committee says the con will return in 2020. Chair Joshua Kronengold explained:

None of us wanted this outcome. However, lack of responsiveness from the hotel, combined with information from current and former staff about its current state, has led us inexorably to a lack of confidence that the Red Lion is capable of hosting a convention to our standards. This hotel has been used by first Darkover since 1988 and Chessiecon from the start, but over the years we have received an increasing number of complaints about it, and this year the problems have become untenable. The committee discussed the options in considerable depth before reaching this decision, but see no way to continue for 2019 without sacrificing the quality of our convention. We decided it would be more productive to focus our energies on future years….

(4) THEY’LL BE BACK. Terminator: Dark Fate comes to theatres November 1, 2019.

Welcome to the day after Judgment Day. …Linda Hamilton (“Sarah Connor”) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (“T-800”) return in their iconic roles in Terminator: Dark Fate, directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool) and produced by visionary filmmaker James Cameron and David Ellison. …Also stars Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, and Diego Boneta.

(5) NEXT KGB. Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series hosts Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel present Chuck Wendig and Keith R.A. DeCandido on Wednesday, June 19th.

Chuck Wendig

Chuck Wendig is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Aftermath, as well as the Miriam Black thrillers, the Atlanta Burns books, Zer0es/Invasive, and Wanderers coming in July 2019. He’s also written comics, games, film, and more. He was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, an alum of the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, and served as the cowriter of the Emmy-nominated digital narrative Collapsus. He is also known for his popular blog, terribleminds.com, and books about writing such as Damn Fine Story. He lives in Pennsylvania with his family.

Keith R.A. DeCandido

Keith R.A. DeCandido is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his fiction writing career. His media tie-in fiction — which earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 — covers 33 different universes, from Alien to Zorro. His original work includes stories set in the fictional cities of Cliff’s End and Super City, as well as the somewhat real locales of New York and Key West. His 2019 novels include Mermaid Precinct, the latest in his fantasy police procedural series; Alien: Isolation, based on the classic movie series; and A Furnace Sealed, launching a new urban fantasy series taking place in the Bronx, where Keith currently lives with assorted humans and felines.

The event takes place Wednesday, June 19, starting 7 p.m. at KGB Bar, 85 East 4th Street (just off 2nd Ave, upstairs), New York, NY

(6) DOLLARS AND SENSE. Patch O’Furr winds up a three-part series in “How furries resist a commercialized fandom (Part 3)”.

“Resistance” can mean something unintentional, like friction. It doesn’t necessarily mean a deliberate anti-commercial mission. At the roots of fandom, noncommercialism probably meant doing DIY things the mainstream wasn’t doing. Now, when some furries make a living from business with other fans, you can call it organically indie. That’s not exactly a coordinated alternative, like socialistic co-ops….

How commercialism creeps in and complicates the fandom: There’s an exchange when fandom had roots in the mainstream, built an alternative place, and then influences the mainstream back. To win over fans as consumers, outsiders might tiptoe up to a line between respectable and weird, but not cross it. They may get resistance while the line protects independence. In fandom or out, engaging can be shaky for projects that need serious support (like a movie that needs a budget to get made right.) Worthy projects can fail because you can’t please all the people all of the time. Others can succeed by pleasing people while scamming or exploiting the base that made it possible.

If furry is commercializing, it can be seen in success of furry game devs, Youtubers, or Esports stars (like SonicFox). On the outside, furries show up in commercials/ads and music videos of non-indie artists. Psuedo-fursuits at Walmart or cheap knockoffs at DHGate may rise closer to fandom quality….

(7) AMONG THE STARS. The Harvard University Press does a “Q&A with Jo Dunkley, author of Our Universe: An Astronomer’s Guide”, which includes a shout-out to a Dublin 2019 guest of honor:

The book features many of the great names we would expect to see—the Galileos and Einsteins—but you also draw attention to unheralded and underappreciated astronomers, many of them women. Is it fair to say that some of the lost remarkable work done over the past 100 years has been done by women, either as individuals or in teams, like the Harvard Computers?

They have had a huge impact. The Harvard Computers in the early twentieth century, including Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, and later Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, were responsible for making sense of the different types of stars, understanding how to measure vast distances in the universe, and figuring out what stars are actually made of. Other pioneering women include Vera Rubin, who solidified the evidence for invisible dark matter, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. She discovered an entirely new type of spinning star that is so dense that a teaspoonful would weigh as much as a mountain.

(8) FANAC FOR THE MASSES. SF fan Louis Russell Chauvenet coined the word “fanzine” in 1940. It has since permeated popular culture – witness  the LA Zine Fest (happening May 26) which encourages people “make a fanzine about a band, artist, activist, organizer, writer…anyone who inspires you!”

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born May 23, 1921 James Blish. What was his best work? Cities in FlightA Case of Conscience? I’d argue it was one of those works. Certainly it wasn’t the Trek novels though he pumped them out — nearly ninety all told if I’m reading ISFDB right. And I hadn’t realized that he wrote one series, the Pantropy series, under a pen name (Arthur Merlyn). (Died 1975.)
  • Born May 23, 1933 Joan Collins, 86. Edith Keeler in the “City of the Edge of Forever” episode — initial script by  Harlan Ellison with rewrites by Gene Roddenberry, Steven W. Carabatsos and D. C. Fontana. I see she’s done a fair amount of other genre work including being Baroness Bibi De Chasseur / Rosy Shlagenheimer in the “The Galatea Affair” of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and The Siren Lorelei in the “Ring Around the Riddler” and “The Wail of the Siren” episodes of Batman
  • Born May 23, 1933 Margaret Aldiss. Wife of Brian Aldiss. She wrote extensively on her husband’s work including The Work of Brian W. Aldiss: An Annotated Bibliography & Guide. He in turn wrote When the Feast is Finished: Reflections on Terminal Illness, a look at her final days. She also co-edited the A is for Brian anthology with Malcolm Edwards and Frank Hatherley. (Died 1997.)
  • Born May 23, 1935 Susan Cooper, 84. Author of the superb Dark is Rising series. Her Scottish castle set YA Boggart series is lighter in tone and just plain fun. I’d also recommend Dreams and Wishes: Essays on Writing for Children which is quite excellent.  
  • Born May 23, 1979 Brian James Freeman, 40. Horror author. Novels to date are Blue November Storms, This Painted Darkness and Black Fire (as James Kidman). He’s also done The Illustrated Stephen King Trivia Book which he co-authored with Bev Vincent and which is illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne. He publishes limited edition books here.
  • Born May 23, 1986 Ryan Coogler, 33. Co-writer with Joe Robert Cole of Black Panther which he also directed, as he will Black Panther 2. Producer, Space Jam 2 (pre-production) 

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Brevity comes up with another delightfully dreadful Game of Thrones-themed pun.

(11) THE GODFATHER MEETS THE FAIRY GODMOTHER. The way Steph Post sees it, “Fairy Tales Are Really Just Hard-Boiled Crime Stories” – at CrimeReads.

…Modern crime fiction has nothing on the ingenuity, brutality and sheer bizarreness of the offenses committed in classic fairy tales. Moreover, fairy tales are ruthless. Our contemporary crime novels have the monopoly on moral ambiguity, true, but fairy tales take no prisoners and often offer no redemption. Mercy is not a hallmark of the genre and even the kindest, most benevolent maid-turned-princess isn’t afraid to take out her wicked stepmother.

(12) SYMBOLS OF THE RENAISSANCE. Mlex writes, “I recently had an opportunity to interview Prof. Arielle Saiber, author of Measured Words.” Hear what they had to say in this podcast — “On Measured Words: Computation and Writing in Renaissance Italy”.

A conversation with Arielle Saiber, Professor of Romance Languages at Bowdoin College. Covering topics that range from hallucinatory landscapes to Dante’s primum mobile, our conversation touched on the quest for harmony between the computational aspects of math and the physical aspects of writing, printing, and typography. Based on the lives of four scholars who lived during the Italian Renaissance, we explore their use of symbols and codes, their modes of teaching and expression, and the interdisciplinary nature of their work.

(13) THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING. At Death Is Bad, Eneasz Brodski explains his reasons for thinking the “Final Episode of Game of Thrones was kinda good, in a way”.

…But when you take it all together–the amazing series, the precipitous decline, and the absolute travesty of Season Eight… it final episode comes through as a good mood piece. This episode was the final death rattle of a show we once loved. It was a funeral for vision and beauty. Everything was dark and dreary and awful, and even the sunny day at the end was basically a spiteful sun-god laughing at all men’s follies; rather than cheerful.

(14) CUTTING OUT THE MIDDLE (AND EVERY OTHER) MAN. This robotic delivery concept is making news today:

Ford is teaming up with Agility Robotics to explore how the company’s new robot, Digit, can help get packages to your door efficiently with the help of self-driving vehicles. Not only does Digit work collaboratively with self-driving vehicles, but it can also walk up stairs and past unexpected obstacles to get packages straight to your doorstep.

(15) EXECUTIVE CREDENTIALS. BBC recalls “The cat who saved a Japanese rail line”.

Not only did Tama’s sweet nature and photogenic features make her popular with commuters on the Kishigawa railway, but the ‘cat master’ became so famous she was knighted.

On a bright May morning at Japan’s Idakiso train station, a small cat basked in the sun as her photo was taken by a group of tourists before getting a tummy tickle from a toddler. While the white, tan and black kitten purred and meowed in the arms of a visitor, one of the station workers looked on with a grin, interjecting only to gently reposition the cat’s brimmed conductor hat whenever it threatened to slip over her eyes.

“Having her around the station makes everyone happy,” he said, as the cat playfully swiped at a tourist’s iPhone. “I sometimes forget that she is my boss.”

Meet Yontama, the latest in a line of feline stationmasters that has helped save the Kishigawa railway line in Japan’s Wakayama prefecture, a largely mountainous and rural part of the country famous for temple-studded hillsides and sacred pilgrimage trails.

This story began in the late 1990s with a young calico cat called Tama. The kitten lived near Kishi Station – the final of 14 stops on a 14.3km line that connects small communities to Wakayama City, the region’s hub ­– and would frequently hang out by the railway, soaking up affection from commuters.

(16) A MOST ROBORATIVE BEVERAGE. Archeologists anticipated two possible outcomes when they did this — “Israeli researchers brew ‘ancient beer’ with antique yeast”.

Israeli researchers have unveiled a “breakthrough” beer made from ancient yeast up to 5,000 years old.

Researchers from the Antiquities Authority and three Israeli universities extracted six strains of the yeast from old pottery discovered in the Holy Land.

It is believed to be similar to beverages enjoyed by the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt.

The team said it hoped to make the drink available in shops one day.

“I remember that when we first brought out the beer we sat around the table and drank… and I said either we’ll be good or we’ll all be dead in five minutes,” said Aren Maeir, an archaeologist with Bar-Ilan University. “We lived to tell the story”.

(17) VIDEO OF THE DAY. In Anvil on Vimeo, Geriko tells about a young woman downloading her brain in preparations for the afterlife.

[Thanks to Daniel Dern, Andrew, Keith Lynch, Chip Hitchcock, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge JJ, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, Mlex, Michael Toman, Andrew Porter, and Carl Slaughter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Robert Whitaker Sirignano.]

New Zealand Will Host 78th Worldcon in 2020

At the WSFS Business Meeting on Sunday morning (August 19), the results of the 2020 Worldcon Site Selection voting were revealed.

The New Zealand in 2020 bid received 643 votes of the 726 votes cast. There were no other official candidates; however, votes were received for the following:

  • New Zealand in 2020: 643
  • Xmas in Boston 2020: 22
  • Peggy Rae’s House: 3
  • Xerps: 3
  • Minneapolis in ’73: 2
  • Olive Country: 2
  • Aotearoa in 2020: 1
  • Bimin Zana, Wakanda: 1
  • El Fabulosa Bungalow: 1
  • Glug’s Chalet: 1
  • Grantville, WV: 1
  • John Sapienza’s Yard: 1
  • Marsopolis: 1
  • Minneapolis in ’74: 1
  • Slab City: 1
  • Tonopah NV: 1
  • None of the Above: 8

Total With Preference: 693
Needed to Elect (Majority): 347

No Preference: 33
Total Votes Cast: 726

CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, will take place from Wednesday, July 29 through Sunday, August 2, 2020 in Wellington on the North Island of New Zealand. Details for the convention are contained in their Worldcon bid document.

The con chairs will be Norman Cates and Kelly Buehler.

Author Guests of Honour will be Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon. Lackey’s first genre publication was in 1985; she is best known for her numerous fantasy series including the Valdemar novels and the Elemental Masters stories. Dixon has collaborated with Lackey on numerous novels, and is also known for his genre artwork, especially his contributions to Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons & Dragons source books.

NZ Artist Guest of Honour will be Greg Broadmore, a concept designer, artist, writer and sculptor with Peter Jackson’s Weta Workshop whose work includes genre films District 9, King Kong, and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Fan Guest of Honour will be Rose Mitchell, longtime fan, conrunner, and current President of the Australian Science Fiction Foundation.

Toastmaster will be George R. R. Martin, known for his Song of Ice and Fire saga which has been made into the HBO series Game of Thrones, and for his epic Hugo Loser Parties.

Supporting memberships for the convention will be $75 NZD (approx. $50 USD), and Attending memberships are currently $370 NZD (approx. $247 USD). Site Selection voters are automatically Supporting Members, and may upgrade to Attending for $300 NZD (approx. $200 USD). Kiwi and Silver Fern level Pre-supporters will receive discounts on memberships as well. There will also be special discounted membership levels for Young Adult (born in or after 2000), Child (born in or after 2005), Kid-in-tow (born in or after 2015), and Unwaged (NZ residents only).

CoNZealand links:

[Thanks to Jo Van Ekeren for the story.]

New Zealand in 2020 Bid Changes Proposed Worldcon Dates

The New Zealand in 2020 Worldcon bid is announcing they have changed the dates of their potential 78th Worldcon to Wednesday, July 29 through Sunday, August 2, 2020 due to the unavailability of one of the main facilities.

Their proposed location is still in the same facilities in central Wellington, New Zealand. They include TSB Arena, Shed 6, the InterContinental Wellington and the Michael Fowler Centre. The date change will ensure that a New Zealand Worldcon will have “unfettered access” to the facilities and accommodation required to run a successful event, should the NZ in 2020 bid be awarded the convention.

The site selection vote will be held at the 2018 Worldcon in San José. New Zealand is running unopposed.

Long-time science fiction fan, Norman Cates is the chair of the NZ in 2020 Worldcon bid. He said in a press release:

We appreciate that this date change would make our Worldcon early compared to previous Worldcons. We did a lot of debating about this, and moving the date was the best overall option to preserve our best possible Worldcon.

The committee’s original dates were August 12-16, 2020. The new July 29 starting date will result in the earliest Worldcon since Torcon I ran July 3-5, 1948. On the other hand, the New Zealand Worldcon would be positioned to start only about a week sooner than Interaction, held August 4-8, 2005.

File 770 asked what happened to preempt NZ in 2020’s dates. Cates explained:

We had a meeting with WREDA (Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, the group that deals with our facilities) and they told us that a long-running and much larger event swooped in and booked the TSB Arena from August 5th into October. This blocked out our dates.

We asked why this wasn’t known much earlier, and we were told that the event has a contract directly with the city, that over rides WREDA. This appears to have blindsided WREDA as well.

Bear in mind that until we can pay a deposit, they don’t really consider the facilities properly held. We had a memorandum from them agreeing to the dates.

We didn’t see much point in wailing and shouting at that point… It appears to be a case of a higher power over-riding.

So our best option was to shift dates, which our GOHs are fine with.

Losing facilities to an event able to sign a contract is an experience several U.S. bids also have suffered over the years.

Even though New Zealand is unopposed and in a position to consider paying a deposit to keep facilities available, Cates said the required amount was beyond their resources.

NZ in 2020 is offering “pre-supporting” memberships for NZ$30 and a variety of other types of pre-supporting memberships to help fund their Worldcon bid. Joining the bid helps pay for the cost of promoting the bid. Membership forms and additional information about the bid are available on the bid’s website, https://nzin2020.nz .

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.

2020 Vision

New Zealand is the owner of a shiny new Worldcon bid for 2020 because a bunch of fans made it rain $20 bills during their national convention last weekend.

Cheryl Morgan reported the news a few days ago:

So, the assembled overseas visitors enjoyed themselves so much at Au Contraire that they threw $20 bills at Norman Cates and encouraged him to bid for a Worldcon. It is all Sean Williams’ fault. He started it.

Cates is a well-known international fan and was the 2004 DUFF delegate.

This bid already has a logo, a website and a Facebook page. The Facebook page displays a photo of Norman Cates with his hands wrapped around Sean Williams’ throat, captioned “Norman Cates thanks Sean Williams for pushing him to run the bid…” Good faanish fun? At least ‘til Sean’s oxygen runs out.

It’s interesting to see lightning striking a second time. Ever since this year’s Worldcon chair Stephen Boucher yielded to a shower of $20 bills people have kept trying. The oddest variation happened this year at NASFiC where Chris Garcia started collecting $20 bills on behalf of the absent Christian McGuire (chair of the last Anaheim Worldcon) without McGuire’s knowledge or consent. The rumor haunted McGuire for weeks afterwards despite his vehement denials.

Unlikely as it is that someone already at Aussiecon 4 needs to get this information from my blog, I will go ahead and mention there is a New Zealand bid table at AussieCon 4 in room 201.

Bidding for Worldcons is the fun part, and with site selection years away New Zealand fans have plenty of time to decide if they want to do the other part. And why not?

[Thanks to James Bacon for clueing me into the story. Editors of other blogs faunching after the credit you deserve for pubbing this news before me should add a comment–because it’ll be cool to have a post with 238 comments.]

DUFF Voting 2.0

Steve and Sue Francis, the Down Under Fan Fund’s North American administrators, remind everyone that the race is open. Fans have until May 17 to cast their ballots.

Anyone may vote who has been active in fandom on or before January 1, 2008. “Active in fandom” means engaged in fannish pursuits involving fanzines, sf cons, amateur film/video, or club participation.

Ballots must be signed and accompanied by a donation of at least US$5 or AUS$8 or NZ$9 New Zealand.

A downloadable ballot form is available. Thanks to Jean Weber, fans also have the option to contribute (using PayPal) and vote electronically.

Snail mail and snail money still work, too. Checks should be made payable to Sue and Steve Francis (in North America) or Norman Cates (in New Zealand/Australasia) in the administrator’s home currency. Their addresses are:

Australasia: Norman Cates, P.O. Box 13-574, Johnsonville, Wellington, New Zealand

North America: Sue & Steve Francis, P.O. Box 58009, Louisville KY 40268, USA