Taking Inventory of Future Worldcon Bids

Next year fans will choose the site of the 2022 Worldcon for which Chicago is currently running unopposed. Beyond that?

Dublin 2019’s Fannish Inquisition session witnessed a changing of the guard. A Memphis in 2023 bid was revealed, and the Chengdu in 2023 bid declared it was official. The New Orleans bid for 2023 fell off the radar. Spokane in 2023 and Perth in 2025 took themselves out of the running, the latter temporarily — there’s more about them at the end of the post.

 2022

Chicago in 2022

Proposed Site: Chicago, IL
Proposed Dates: Mid-August – Labor Day Weekend, depending on venue availability.
Bid Chairs: Helen Montgomery and Dave McCarty.
Website: Chicago in 2022 Worldcon Bid
Facebook: Chicago Worldcon
Dublin 2019 questionnaire: Chicago-2022-Bidders-questionnaire

2023

Chengdu in 2023

Proposed Site: Chengdu, China
Proposed Dates: In August
Bid Leadership:

We are a non-profit organization called Galaxy Science Fiction Alliance, which mainly consists of Sichuan Science Fiction Association and Chinese Sci-fi fans. Sichuan Science Fiction Association focuses on academic researches on Science fiction and fantasy literature,films, computer games and so on

Website:
English: http://www.worldconinchina.com/index-e.html
Chinese: http://www.worldconinchina.com/
Twitter: Chengduworldcon
Dublin 2019 questionnaire: Chengdu-2023-Bidders-Questionnaire

Nice in 2023

Proposed Site: Nice, in the south of France
Proposed Dates: August 2-6, 2023
Bid Leadership: (From the website)

The board of directors is: Albert Aribaud, Alex Garcia (president), Alain Jardy, Arnaud Koëbel, Sybille Marchetto (treasurer), Thomas Menanteau and Patrick Moreau.

Website: Nice in 2023
Twitter: Worldcon in France
Facebook: Worldcon in France (English)
Dublin 2019 questionnaire: Nice-2023-Bidders-Questionnaire

Memphis in 2023

Proposed Site: Memphis, TN
Proposed Dates: August 23-27, 2023
Bid Leadership: Cliff Dunn and Kate Secor
Website: Memphis in 2023
Twitter: Memphis in 2023
Facebook: Memphis in 2023
Dublin 2019 questionnaire: Memphis-2023-Bidders-Questionnaire

2024

Glasgow in 2024

Proposed Site: Glasgow, Scotland
Proposed Dates: August 8-12, 2024
Bid Chair: Esther MacCallum-Stewart
Website: Glasgow in 2024
Facebook: Glasgow in 2024
Dublin 2019 questionnaire: Glasgow-2024-Bidders-Questionnaire

2025

Seattle in 2025

Proposed Site: Seattle, WA
Proposed Date: Mid-August 2025
Bid chair: Kathy Bond
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Seattle2025/
Dublin 2019 questionnaire: Seattle-2025-Bidders-Questionnaire


SPOKANE IN 2023 – CLOSED. A bid for Spokane was prepared to step into the gap left by the moribund New Orleans bid to assure there would be a North American option, but it has vacated the field in favor of Memphis.

Mike Willmoth shares the story:

I started the Spokane in 2023 Bid pre-Worldcon since it appeared that New Orleans in 2023 had fizzled. Although I was New Orleans’ Facilities Liaison once they announced, I had to resign this January after taking over the Facilities DIvision for Westercon-NASFiC in Layton, UT, after the original facilities team resigned. I had heard nothing from New Orleans and no one else seemed to as well. I had had several conversations with fans concerned about their absence and the apparent weak positions of both Chengdu and Nice. So Spokane was an
Emergency Holographic North American Bid.

After reaching out to Visit Spokane (their CVB) they confirmed that their convention center was wide open for all of August. I resolved one outstanding issue from Sasquan with the Davenport chain (non-standard attrition clause which is now standardized on Marriott’s corporate one). I then reached out to past Sasquan DHs/DDHs/AHs for support for a bid team. I then notified Colette Fozard who was
coordinating Dublin’s bid questionnaires. She sent me one to complete. I did so after arriving in Dublin, but learned that she had received one from Memphis which I was unaware of.

During the Dublin Business Meetings I had several chats with the Memphis Bid Co-Chairs and it was apparent to me that they were farther along than we were, had a slightly larger team already, etc. I notified our bid team and the consensus was that we should punt since we were only there because no other NA bid was visible. I made the final decision to pull the Spokane bid on Day 5 of Dublin, notifying Memphis and others as well as Visit Spokane. We may do another one in
the future, but for now we are on hiatus. I would have been the official bid chair if elected by the team, but we never got that far. I was just the
instigator.

So officially the Spokane in 2023 Worldcon Bid is closed because Memphis stepped up to the plate and appears to have their excretions coagulated 🙂

PERTH IN 2025 – ON HIATUS. PRK confirms, “Yes, at the Fannish
Inquisition I announced that the Perth bid was going on hiatus, and no longer
bidding for 2025. We may return in the early 20s and announce for a new year.”
[Twitter: Perth in 2025]

27 thoughts on “Taking Inventory of Future Worldcon Bids

  1. Nice’s facility has 16 rooms and 3 auditoriums.

    I am dismayed that the Bid Questionnaire does not include a question about the conrunning experience of the bidcom. The Nice bidcom does not appear to have a grasp of what a Worldcon involves.

  2. @JJ I looked up the facility. There are a lot more rooms available (either via dividing up multi-purpose halls or not yet booked by the bid). From what I could tell from the venue web site, I’d say the venue is better suited for a Worldcon than the CCD was, even if they run into the same problem as the CCD in that their main hall is a bit on the small side for the Masquerade and Hugo ceremony.

  3. While I would love to enjoy a Worldcon in the South of France, that week is the time when all of France is on holiday. In the South. So we’d be fighting mobs.

    No thanks.

  4. Paris is much more empty that time of year, I’ve been told. And it’s easier to get to. I wish they’d picked Paris.

  5. @Douglas Berry: As to hotel room availability at least, the Nice bidders answered that objection fully during the Fannish Inquisition in Dublin: They have commitments for a pretty big room block at quite reasonable rates. Unfortunately, I didn’t take specific notes, and the video isn’t yet up on the YouTube channel, but I assume it will be eventually.

    Having been to Nice (to board a small cruise ship) earlier this summer, I was pretty skeptical about its as a venue, mostly for the reason you mentioned. IMO, they answered that. For the rest, (1) from the outside, at least, the convention centre looked easily big enough, and (2) transportation via the tram line is already good and right now getting even better. 1 euro apiece got me and my wife Deirdre directly from the airport to in front of our hotel (the main line running a block back from the beach), and they’re completing work right about now to extend that line fully across town. So, I’m bullish on Nice as a practical choice, at least as to city and facilities.

  6. Going to the website Karl-Johan mentioned and looking at the floorplans for Galliéni, Rhodes, Méditerranée and Les Muses, seeing how rooms can be partitioned and how many they can swallow, it looks like the Convention center should be able to handle what is needed.

  7. Well, at least I should be able to get to the Chicago Worldcon; it’ll be about twenty miles away from me.

  8. @Rick Moen

    Thanks for the further information. Still probably not doable due to the money needed.

    Chicago would be fun if only to take part in TrainCon with Kevin Standlee.

    But for us, a big thing we look at is scheduling. Kirsten and I go to Burning Man every year, and that takes up the week before Labor Day (and a few days after.) I was only able to work Worldcon 75 because it happened one week before our departure date.

    Right now, we really want to do DC, as Kirsten has never been there, but we’ll see what the Chicago bid has to say. Besides, I need to see a game at Wrigley Field!

  9. @Douglas Berry: I’d dearly love to do TrainCon with Kevin, too. About that, you know what, though? Amtrak is pretty pricey — at least, if you want real sleeping space instead of trying to sleep in your chair. Many long ages ago, in the 1980s, I flew to visit a friend in Dallas, and then took the Texas Eagle to Chicago, stayed a while with my courtesy-uncle at MSU in Michigan, and then took the California Zephyr back out to the Bay Area — and the Amtrak ticket prices were, even then, pretty ghastly. (I was cheap and did the sleep-in-the-chair thing.)

    Currently, the Dallas – Chicago leg is $334 for an Amtrak ‘roomette’ (trip lasting about 23 1/2 hours). Chicago to Oakland (the California Zephyr) is $714 for ‘roomette’ (53 1/2 hour trip). So, not cheap – over a grand.

    Round-trip airfare between San Francisco (SFO) and Nice (NCE) is currently running around $1840 — not pocket change, to be sure, but also not a lot more than TrainCon to Chicago.

    (OTOH, S.F. to the three DC-area airports really is inexpensive.)

  10. I can think of lots of reasons to hope Nice succeeds, but the people I spoke to seemed a tad vague.

  11. Any programming in China would have to leave out any programs or mentions of time travel, which is officially banned by the Chinese government. This happened in 2011. Here’s an article about it, in The New Yorker:

    https://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/china-bans-time-travel

    And I won’t bet on anyone not mentioning Tiananmen Square, a phrase and discussion which is against the law.

    Seriously, a worldcon bid from a country whose ruler is in power for life? Free thinking—and talking—fans and such a bid are an impossible combination.

  12. I was at the Future Worldcon Q&As (Fannish Inquisition) at Dublin. (I remember looking to see if it was being recorded, and I did not see a camera. That does not mean it was not recorded. If someone can post a link to a recording, it would be appreciated.)

    Someone submitted a question asking whether LGBTQ program items would be permitted at a Worldcon in Chengdu.

    The presenters were two young women. Neither of them understood the acronym, so it was explained to them. One of them giggled (possibly a nervous reaction, or a differing cultural behavior) and said something along the lines of (I kid you not), “I myself have friends who are lesbians, and gays, and transgenders, which is fine. But yes, it might be an issue.”

    Since the response was not “Such programming would be fine” or “not a problem”, I took that to mean that it was likely that such program items would be censored or not permitted.

    And what if a writer who won a Hugo chose to speak about Tiananmen or Taiwan or Hong Kong in their speech? Assuming that a Hugo livecast to the rest of the world bypassing the firewall had been allowed to begin with, that would get it killed right quick. 😐

  13. Given that an employee of the UK consulate is currently detained in Hong Kong, and given that the list of forbidden arguments would include Tibet, Tienanmen, LGBT issues, and the mass incarceration of Muslims, not to mention the use of the death penalty to source organs for transplants, I am not all that keen on a WorldCon in China. I am sorry for the Chinese fans.

  14. Andrew I. Porter:

    “Any programming in China would have to leave out any programs or mentions of time travel, which is officially banned by the Chinese government. “

    That is not correct. It was a case of bad translation. What happened was that they regulated how time travel could be depicted in Chinese TV-series where there still are popular dramas with time travel. Case in point.

  15. @JJ: I was flabbergasted by the Chengdu representatives’ either incomprehension of or unwillingness to squarely answer that question, too. And it wasn’t the only one. There were several others, though I am forgetting details at the moment.

    I’ve been hoping there will be a video recording because of a followup conversation I had (I think?) the same evening in the Chengdu bid party in the Wicklowe Rooms corridor: Mike Willmoth and I both were chatting with a member of the bid — who curiously enough is an ‘overseas Chinese’ (ethnic Han) young man who’s a citizen of Finland, and Mike broached with him the several very bad bits of the two young women’s not-at-all-satisfactory answers to Fannish Inquisition questions.

    I chimed in and said, if welcome to do so, I would be glad to help, in (at minimum) the sense of reviewing the footage and sending a frank assessment of why those answers stunningly failed to satisfy the audience — and offer my help anticipating future lines of questioning and making sure they can be planned for. He seemed interested, so I gave him my business card and said it’d be my pleasure to help ensure the Chengdu bid doesn’t miss a chance by losing through default.

    (Hey, 1960s British Hong Kong, where I spent my childhood, wasn’t exactly China as such — a distinction we were grateful for as the Cultural Revolution kept going crazier next door — but still it seemed nice to offer help to them, since in a sense they’re my folk, and their losses are my losses.)

  16. @Anna Feruglio:

    Given that an employee of the UK consulate is currently detained in Hong Kong […].

    A statement on Facebook from Simon Cheng’s family in Hong Kong says he has been released and come home.

    It was never entirely clear on what grounds mainland authorities detained Mr. Cheng 15 days during his visit to Shenzen. A vague statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a handwave at the Security Administration Punishment Law, which is an omnibus statute covering a large number of sub-misdemeanour infractions.

  17. Also, @Anna, it perhaps makes a slight difference that Mr. Cheng was not, as you claimed, ‘detained in Hong Kong’.

    Mr. Cheng, a citizen of China, a resident of Hong Kong (and thus normally subject to the Hong Kong SAR’s local legal system), works as a trade and investment officer at he UK Consulate-General’s office, in Admiralty District, Hong Kong Island (just downhill from where I used to live, long ago).

    But that is not where this happened. And that is significant.

    Cheng somehow drew, or was subjected to (for reasons unclear), hostile police-detention action from mainland authorities during a recent visit to Shenzen, Guangdong Province, where implicitly he was subject to mainland China’s laws — not Hong Kong’s — and was detained, and after 15 days released (allegedly) in accordance with those laws.

    The incident is certainly of concern, but IMO it would have been a great deal more worrisome if your characterisation of the situation had been correct, which it very much was not.

    Ironically, the reason millions of protesters from my hometown (HK) have been turning out, even in very rainy August weather, is to protest a proposed infringement against the Hong Kong SAR’s guarantee of legal autonomy through 2050 — ironic because that would qualify as a much more real problem, IMO, than the charge you incorrectly made concerning Cheng.

  18. While I do like the chinese fans and am reading a lot of chinese fantasy (and derivatives) right now, I do not feel I could vote for a Worldcon in China. The whole thought of banned authors or a censored Hugo ceremony leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I do think I would go if others voted for it though, but it would be dependent on VISA rules (if they have become as intrusive as the US ones). And how LGBTQ-issues would be handled.

    It is sad, because I think there would have been a good likelihood that some of the Chinese authors whose work I’ve read would come. And the last years, I have read many articles on efforts from publishers to spread chinese Webnovels outside of the country.

    I’ll have to hope for the future with perhaps a joint effort with another Asian country.

  19. @JJ: I just remembered the other posed-to-all-bids question the Chengdu representatives weirdly flubbed. This even more than the bizarrely unresponsive answer to the LGBTQ question (which IIRC was, paraphrasing, ‘Given hostile laws to LGBTQ people in some countries, would there be a problem holding LGBTQ programming at a Worldcon held at your site?’) was the one that motivated me to offer help towards making sure they are better prepared in the future. It was: How many rooms in your hotel room-block are handicap-accessible?

    The young woman answered as if she simply hadn’t quite followed the question being about hotels, and talked instead about facilities for the handicapped in other places such as airports. In the audience, I sat mortified while there was a long pregnant pause and the moderator moved on to the next question: I thought, wow, I wish some fluent English speaker who knows them had sidled up and whispered to them why they hadn’t yet addressed the question. It really couldn’t be me (though I considered it), because I’m a total stranger and my sudden blundering in, as a big, bluff, foreign-devil strawberry-blond euromutt who doesn’t even speak a word of Mandarin (just a lingering smattering of Cantonese) might have gone badly. (Thus my opening up an effort to be a known-quantity foreign devil for future assistance.)

    @Hampus: Since you mention that, I really, really wish there were a credible bid for Taipei. Or Singapore, though fandom would absolutely hate the weather. Or Seoul or Busan — to cite a few places in East Asia.

  20. @Rick

    I suspect that no mainland Chinese authors would attend a Taipei Worldcon, and mainland Chinese fans might also (need to) stay away. That isn’t necessarily a reason not to have a Worldcon there, if a local fandom and bid emerged:. However, it does mean Taipei wouldn’t work as a place to gather both Chinese fans and authors, and non-Chinese writers and fans who were worried about government restrictions at a Worldcon in China, including but not only LGBTQ people.

    I suspect you know that and were just free-associating, but I wanted to drop that in here before someone else tries to run with the idea.

    [for anyone who is getting these by email, sorry about the two quick edits to fix errors. I’m going to go away and have some tea now.]

  21. Perhaps the Hong Kong fan community (I assume there is one) should make a bid. I suspect there’d be a lot of help for them.

    I suspect–based on the ongoing changes– that by the time that bid ever became the current Worldcon, Hong Kong will have ceased to exist as a SAR, or any kind of separate entity.

  22. @Vicki Rosenzweig: Augh! You are completely right about that (mainland Chinese authors and Taipei), dammit. I’d been on the brink of politely asking you if you were certain, since that cross-strait tourism had been flowering in recent decades — but then I belatedly caught up on developments since 2016 when Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s new president and started wanting to cut the bullshit and frankly declare Taiwan independent.

    In 2015 and 2016 more than 1.3 million mainlanders per year visited Taiwan, and that was the high-water mark. On account of rising political tensions, mainland officials in mid-2016 started steering group tours elsewhere, starting the decline. The 2017 figure was just over a million, and 2018’s was 978k. And then, this year, came a near-death-blow: The mainland authorities suspended all travel permits on transparently bogus grounds of ‘risks’ to travellers. (Translation: Beijing are annoyed about the prospect of Taiwan probably continuing to not knuckle under, going into its 2020 election cycle, and want to send a message by hurting the island’s economy.) Tour groups are still able to get permits.

    Well, that sure sucks. (At least they’re not yet back to shooting at each other over Quemoy[1] and Matsu, but the year is not yet over.)

    ETA: yes, just free associating. I recently became aware of just how vast the overseas Chinese world is.

    [1] Modern name is Kinmen.

  23. Yup, China’s not viable currently for a Worldcon in terms of the safety of both members and programming. Rather like the very tentative Israel bid discussion we had a while back, there’s a difference between 1. ‘country X has political issues’ and 2. ‘country X has political issues that would impact a con and guests in multiple ways’.

    Type 2 issues aren’t the same as boycotting a country. I’ve visited China in the past (for work) but that’s quite a different kind of decision and assessment of risk than holding a convention.

    Of course ‘border controls and immigration policy’ is a becoming a type 2 issue everywhere.

  24. Of course ‘border controls and immigration policy’ is a becoming a type 2 issue everywhere

    Tell me about it. I don’t know if and how I’ll be able to go home for Christmas this year, or wether my folks will be able to visit.

    There is a scene in The Great Budapest Hotel where the protagonist refuses to show his papers at the border, a reminder that in Zweig’s Europe (the movie is inspired by his work) passports were not necessary. Zweig killed himself in despair at the European civilisation he believed had gone forever, swallowed by fascism and nationalism, and I know just how he felt.

  25. Anna Feruglio on August 24, 2019 at 4:34 pm said:

    Of course ‘border controls and immigration policy’ is a becoming a type 2 issue everywhere

    Tell me about it. I don’t know if and how I’ll be able to go home for Christmas this year, or wether my folks will be able to visit

    We are in a period of political vandalism where powerful people are going beyond the normal sh!tty stuff and going out of their way to make lives pointlessly miserable for people for little reason. I hope the UK can crawl it’s way back to basic decency again. I’m sorry that your are trapped in this limbo.

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