Chicon 7 Sets Hugo Nominating Vote Record

The 2012 Hugo Award nominees will be announced simultaneously at five conventions in the United States and Europe on April 7. Arrangements are also being made to broadcast all five convention presentations via Ustream.

This is the fourth consecutive year Worldcon members have cast a record-breaking number of Hugo nominating ballots. Chicon 7 received 1,101 nominating ballots, exceeding the 1,006 received by Renovation last year. Prior to that Aussiecon 4 received 864 in 2010 and Anticipation received 799 in 2009, each a record-setting figure at the time.

Conventions taking part in the announcement are:

  • Norwescon 35, a Pacific Northwest sf convention, at Seatac, WA (1 p.m. PDT)
  • Leprecon 38, an annual Arizona sf convention, at Tempe, AZ (1 p.m. MST)
  • Minicon 47, Minnesota’s longest-running sf con, at Bloomington, MN (3 p.m. CDT)
  • Marcon 47, an annual Midwest sf con, at Columbus, OH (4 p.m. EDT).
  • Olympus 2012, the British Eastercon, (9 p.m. BST).

The final ballot voting deadline will be July 31, 2012, midnight PDT. The winners will be announced at the Hugo Awards Ceremony on Sunday, September 2.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Pass-Along Funds

Two Worldcons distributed pass-along funds last year but the good deed seems to have gone unpublicized. 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.

Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon, gave $20,000 each to LoneStarCon 3 and Chicon 7. John Lorentz says they have another $20,000 in hand to give the 2014 site selection winner. And, adds John, “We expect that there will be a few thousand more for each of them once our final numbers are a little firmer later this spring.”

AussieCon 4 also sent pass-along funds to LoneStarCon 3, another $5,000 check on top of the amount already paid, making a total of $8,400 given to LSC3 from the 2010 Worldcon surplus.

Then, Renovation chair Patty Wells revealed the 2011 Worldcon made its first donation of surplus funds besides the pass-along. They gave $20,000 to the Susan C. Petrey Foundation to fund scholarships and fellowships to Clarion and Clarion West. The Petrey Foundation is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Other donations will follow. For example, Wells said she is working with the Illustration Master Class as a possible recipient of funds for use in encouraging artist talent.

Deadline for Hugo Nominating Rights is 1/31

People who join Chicon 7 by January 31 will be eligible to cast nominating ballots for this year’s Hugo Awards.

So will those who have joined LoneStarCon 3 by the deadline, and so already are all who held supporting or attending memberships in last year’s Worldcon, Renovation. 

Eligible voters have until Sunday, March 11, 2012, 23:59 PDT to submit nominations.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Harris: Renovation Kiva Reaches Goal

[This is an update about the Kiva team started by members of the Renovation Worldcon committee. Kiva provides financial services such as small loans to low-income individuals and those without access to typical banking services, often in the Third World.]

By Colin Harris: Since you enquired before, I thought you might like to know that the Kiva lending team I set up for Renovation has just achieved its original objective of lending over $10,000. We didn’t quite make our original target of hitting that number by the convention – but that was deliberately a stretch target, and this was also unknown territory in terms of knowing what to expect as a response. I am really grateful to the 20 people who’ve joined the team and consistently loaned and re-loaned their money to individuals around the world over the last two years. In total we have made 284 separate loans in over 40 countries. See http://www.kiva.org/team/renovationsf for details.

Renovation Attendance Figures

The Renovation committee has released the membership and attendance figures for the 2011 Worldcon:

Total membership: 5499.

Attending (warm bodies): 4098

[Thanks to John Lorentz for the story.]

Update 09/18/2011: Corrected attendance per more recent information.

Renovation App

Renovation raised the bar for future Worldcons with an online app (created by Viafo) that made the convention schedule accessible to users of several major brands of phones and hand-held devices.

Though not immune from criticism — the first I ever heard about the app was Patrick Nielsen Hayden ripping it on SMOFS – the app’s modest capabilities surprised and pleased many users and immediately established it as a must-have technology future Worldcon committees will be expected to provide.

The Renovation committee knew it was reinventing a service already available in a commercial app called Guidebook (formerly Conventionist) but thought the money should be spent on other priorities.

What did the app’s users like about the Viafo product?

Becky Thomson commented: “It was a fabulous toy to play with before the con. I wasn’t expecting anything like it so to me it was almost magic to be able to use my phone to find out what panels a certain participant was going to do.”

Michael Lee thought it was a lifeline. “I live on mobile convention schedules now when I attend conventions, especially conventions with as many activities as a Worldcon, and so definitely used the mobile app at the convention, and I would have been more frustrated without the app than with the one that existed. My phone coverage was good enough that I didn’t worry about data usage.” 

Sarah Goodman used it to plan her con in advance: “Loading all the stuff into the ‘my program or ‘favorites’ or whatever it was gave me a good idea of the shape of my weekend going in, so the pre-con usage was helpful at-con.”

John Lorentz found it so useful he never picked up a paper program guide until the end of the convention. “With my duties as head of Finance and Reg (showing how ironic it was that I didn’t grab a con guide until Sunday), and the liaison for Doctor Demento, I was constantly running around and used the app all the time to find out where I was supposed to be running to.”

What did fans want to see improved in the next version (if there is one)?

Aurora Celeste said she “didn’t like how the program defaulted to Wednesday no matter what day it was, would have been nice if the program could realize it’s Friday and start by showing me Friday on the main schedule or on my saved schedule.”

Tom Galloway said, “I found the scrolling to be so slow (as in ‘make a scroll motion, multiple seconds pass before the display actually scrolls’) on my Android 2.2 phone as to make it effectively useless for me.”

Leslie Turek wanted to be able to add her own commitments (such as work schedules or meal dates), so that My Program captures all of her activities at the con.

Carl Zwanzig would like it to download and keep a local copy of the database. “The main reason I’d have for loading an app, as opposed to using the Renovationsf web site, is for off-line access. This was not possible. I tried the app once, discovered the on-line requirement, and didn’t bother again.”

Sarah Goodman hopes for an “across-the-board search function so I could find, say, every mention of ‘Anthropology’ or ‘Tom Whitmore’ or whatever.”

It might be an exaggeration to say history will long remember Renovation as the first Worldcon to offer such a convenience — can anybody name the first Worldcon to offer fans on-site mimeo printing, or the first one with an Internet lounge? It’s likely, however, fans will remember if next year’s Worldcon doesn’t follow their example.

Hertz: Byers’ Blue-Ribbon WOOF

By John Hertz: Only a few days after Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon, WOOF contributors who could not attend had received their copies of WOOF 36 by mail or courier.

WOOF, the World Organization Of Faneditors, was one of Bruce Pelz’ ideas, an amateur press association in which zines are collated annually at the World Science Fiction Convention.

Most s-f apas are collated quarterly, or monthly.  There have been dozens over the years.  FAPA (Fantasy Am. Pr. Ass’n), our first, founded in the mid-1930s, is still ongoing.  So is APA-L (Am. Pr. Ass’n – LASFS, produced at but not by the Los Angeles S-F Society), another Pelz project, founded in the mid-1960s, collated weekly – a shocking frequency before the rise of E-mail, still remarkable; so is WOOF, founded in the mid-1970s.  The chief procedural honcho and Great Panjandrum of an apa is the Official Editor (sometimes by local custom, or deserving, called other things).

Randy Byers was the OE of WOOF for 2011, following Lloyd Penney and Alan Stewart.  WOOF contributions are even less governed by rule than other fan activity.  Byers was bodacious.  In fourscore pages he got a Stu Shiffman cover, photos from Stewart’s 1994 DUFF (Down Under Fan Fund) trip to Winnipeg, David Cake the current DUFF delegate, John Coxon the TAFF (Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund) delegate, Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer, Chris Garcia, Guy Lillian, Penney, regulars Dean Gahlon and Roger Hill, and a host of others.

He modestly said he took up the task because some idealist in a funny hat persuaded him.  This like many modest disclaimers is a half-truth.  He’s willing to wade in the water, and he quotes Chuang Tzu.  His bark is worse than his bytes.

Pinch Hitters of Honor

Context: Carol A. Modesitt is yet another person who fell seriously ill at Renovation. As a result, her husband L.E. Modesitt has withdrawn as one of Context 24’s Guest of Honor.  The convention is happening this weekend (August 26-28) in Columbus.

The committee turned to their fellow Ohioan, John Scalzi, who agreed at the last minute to come and “help fill the sudden gap in their programming.” Scalzi can’t attend the entire convention but will do a full block of programming on Saturday, August 27 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

I thought that was pretty cool.

VCON: Larry Niven deserves kudos, too, for helping out  VCON 36 (September 30-October 2) on short notice.

Gregory Benford, initially announced the con’s Author GoH, will be unable to attend VCON this year “due to an unavoidable summons from DARPA” (the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). He must attend its meeting on September 30.

Now Benford will be among next year’s guests at VCON 37 while Niven has stepped in as VCON 36’s Author Guest of Honour.

The committee also announced that program participant Robert J. Sawyer will miss the con because he, too, was “swept up by DARPA.” The committee called it, “A signal honour for a Canadian Author.”