CanSMOF Offers Scholarships to SMOFCon 38

CanSmof Inc. will provide up to two scholarships for convention runners to be used towards the cost of attending SMOFCon 38, to be held in Montreal, Canada, December 2-4, 2022.

SMOFCon is the annual convention about organizing Science Fiction conventions.

The first Scholarship, of up to 500 CAD is open to a Canadian citizen or resident living outside of Quebec or Southern Ontario involved in running conventions with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon.

The second scholarship of up to 1000 CAD is open to anyone involved in running conventions with a preference for those who have not previously attended a SMOFCon.

All scholarships come with an attending membership to SMOFCon 38, graciously donated by Smofcon 38.

Applicants will automatically be considered for any and all scholarships for which they are eligible. Preference will be given to fans who have not previously attended a SMOFCon, but this is not necessary to be an applicant. The submission deadline is October 5th, 2022, 23:59 SST (UTC-11). We reserve the right to not award any or all scholarships.

To apply for a scholarship follow this link.

More information on SMOFCon 38 may be found at here. General information about SMOFCon, including a list of past SMOFCons may be found here.

CanSMOF is a Canadian not-for-profit corporation that ran the 2009 Worldcon, the 2021 World Fantasy Convention, and is hosting the 2022 SMOFcon.

[Based on a press release.]

Loscon 48 “Beyond the Future” Coming Nov. 25-27

The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) will present the Loscon 48 over Thanksgiving weekend, November 25–27, 2022. Loscon is Los Angeles’ longest running fan convention, first held in 1975. This family-friendly gathering includes a variety of panels, discussions, activities, a film festival, an art show, music and shopping. Diverse participants include area authors, such as Steven Barnes, Larry Niven and David Gerrold.

GUESTS OF HONOR. Canadian Fantasy author Tanya Huff is the Writer Guest of Honor. Her most recent novel, Into the Broken Lands, was released in August 2022. She is best known for her Blood Book series, which is the basis for the TV series Blood Ties.

Artist Guest of Honor is Dave Kellett, creator of the webcomic series Sheldon and Drive. He has just released a whimsical new book called Anatomy of Dinosaurs, the dinosaur book you wish you’d had as a child.

Faerie Tale Minstrel and Storyteller, Alexander James Adams, is the Musical Guest of Honor.

Fan Guests of Honor are Susan Fox and Gene Turnbow, founders of SciFi Radio, the world’s leading SciFi, Geek and Pop Culture radio station.

VENUE. Loscon is hosted at the recently redesigned Los Angeles Airport Marriott, located on Century Boulevard near Los Angeles International Airport. Weekend memberships and room reservations are currently available at discounted rates. Covid-19 safety precautions will be in effect.

  • Loscon 48: Nov 25-27, 2022 Los Angeles area’s longest running Science Fiction Fan Convention. Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel 5855 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045. https://loscon.org

For updates, follow Loscon on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and search for #Loscon.

[Based on a press release.]

Gunn Center’s First Annual Sturgeon Symposium Set For Sept. 29-30

The J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction (CSSF) will host the 1st Annual Sturgeon Symposium from September 29-30 in Lawrence, KS. The symposium will feature the presentation of the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best published science fiction short story and a reading from this year’s winner.

In addition to the Sturgeon Award Ceremony, the hybrid in-person/online symposium will include scholarly panels on such topics as fan fiction and teaching science fiction, roundtable discussions, and creative writing readings that highlight the diversity of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and the Speculative Arts.

This year’s theme – “Celebrating Speculative Communities” – explores how contributors from diverse groups employ speculative genres, and how these speculative productions create and impact notions of community. The theme encourages contemplation of the Gunn Center’s new mission of showcasing international speculative literatures, including creative work by writers from Indian Nations, such as the Kaw, Osage, and others on whose homelands KU stands. Guests include a collective of Indigenous Hawaiian authors and Andrea L. Rogers [Cherokee], whose forthcoming collection of stories, Man Made Monsters, has been called by Publishers Weekly a book that “artfully tackles themes of colonialism and its effects on entire generations, for a simultaneously frightening and enthralling read.” L.L. McKinney (A Blade So Black), Tessa Gratton (Lady Hotspur and Star Wars: The High Republic [Disney/Lucasfilm]), and Natalie C. Parker (the Seafire series) are also featured speakers.  

The Sturgeon Symposium will take place in the Commons (Spooner Hall) at the University of Kansas. The first roundtable discussion will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday with the Sturgeon Award Ceremony and reading by the winning writer beginning at 7:00 p.m. On Friday, the symposium will run from 9:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Registration is now open and attendance is free to the public. Registration forms and the program/schedule of events can be found on the CSSF website.

[Based on a press release.]

Winnipeg Will Host 2023 NASFiC

Winnipeg has been voted the right to host the 2023 NASFiC. The con will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada from July 20-23, 2023, and be named Pemmi-con 2023.

There were 343 site selection ballots cast, with 312 in favor of Winnipeg, as reported by Chicon 8. The Winnipeg bid was running unopposed after another bid for Orlando folded last month.

Winnipeg’s Guests of Honor will be Dr. Philip J. Currie, Julie Czerneda, John Mansfield, Waubgeshig Rice, Nisi Shawl and Katherina Vermette. The Ghost of Honor will be Lorna Toolis and the Toastmaster will be Tanya Huff. The convention will be chaired by Robbie Bourget and Linda Ross-Mansfield.

As provided by the WSFS Constitution, the same rules that govern the Worldcon, the NASFiC (North American Science Fiction Convention) is held in North America in years when the Worldcon is held overseas. In this case, the 2023 Worldcon will be held in Chendgu, China from August 16-20, 2023.

Winnipeg in 23’s website can be found at https://main.winnipegin2023.ca/; they can also be found on Twitter at @WinnipegIn23.

Belfast Eastercon Explorations

By Tommy Ferguson: On Friday a group of Norn Iron fans visited The Hilton Lanyon Place and International Conference Centre (ICC) which is next door – (https://www.iccbelfast.com/), to consider the space that is available and whether, costs permitting, a Belfast Eastercon would be viable. 

Norn Iron fans

The venue was the site of the 2019 Eurocon, which ran successfully, but looking at additional space, in the ICC. 

This new group, with experience from a wide selection of Irish and international conventions, is entitled the ‘Preliminary Belfast Eastercon Assessment Team’ and we went to the Pub afterwards to consider what next steps should be taken and it was agreed that another pint would be a good idea. 

Hilton Pub

Following this, and other activities it was agreed we should communicate to Eastercon fans, here, there and elsewhere, that some activity, albeit very initial, is taking place. 

PBEAT would look to see if the venue is indeed suitable, and more importantly if it is affordable.

Initial reckoning is that we could accommodate an 800 to 900 person Eastercon, and given the extra travel is involved, this seems like a reasonable amount. 

By the end of the evening, there was much excitement about the prospect of a Belfast Eastercon, as evidenced in the images.

Further updates will occur. 

Orlando in 2023 NASFiC Bid Folds

Orlando in 2023 NASFiC bid chair Adam Beaton today announced the bid has been cancelled.

With a heavy heart, we write to inform you that Orlando is backing out of the 2023 NASFiC race. This was an incredibly difficult choice to make so close to the vote at Chicon 8 – Chicago Worldcon 2022. There were some factors to our decision that were in our control that helped guide us and some sadly not in our control.

On behalf of the rest of the Orlando committee, thank you to everyone who supported us from our announcement at DisCon III to today and had planned on voting for Orlando. All of us on the committee are so sorry we could not bring the NASFiC to Central Florida.

Winnipeg is now the only remaining filed bid for the 2023 North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC). Since 1975, NASFiCs have been held whenever the Worldcon is held outside North America, as provided by the WSFS Constitution. The selection of Chengdu, China to host the 2023 Worldcon opened the way for a NASFiC the same year.

The Orlando NASFiC Bid had superseded the Orlando in 2026 Worldcon bid.

In March, the Orlando NASFiC bid had tried to position itself as a more acceptable alternative to attending the 2023 Chengdu Worldcon:

There isn’t an actual mechanism to take away the Worldcon based on the actions of what that committee’s government chooses to do or even not do. We can say, though, that the power of boycotting has always been a way for many diverse voices to be seen and heard, from the Cogadh na Talún in Ireland to the Swadeshi Movement in India. Such actions can and should always be considered by any of the members of WSFS.

The NASFiC can never be the Worldcon, and no one can promise you that. What we can promise you, however, is our deep commitment to running for you the best alternative to the Worldcon we can–a convention that celebrates the diversity and inclusivity that empowers us all as fans and commits our spirit to “keep moving forward,” as Walt Disney once said.

It’s also vital for us to recognize that some in the community have strong feelings about our own government here in Florida and perhaps even the American South at large. It would be hypocritical to not point that out in a statement like this, and we see and hear all of your opinions and feelings regarding this topic.

As the statement implied, they were already having to labor under the political baggage created by passage of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, leading to weeks of public acrimony between state Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney over the company’s opposition to the law which limits how educators discuss LGBTQ issues in the classroom. Then, the state legislature retaliated by voting to revoke a special tax district created in 1967 to facilitate the operation of DisneyWorld.

The bid committee therefore unexpectedly found themselves having to address the question “Is Orlando a safe space for LGBTQIA+ fans?”

Today’s announcement did not specify all the factors behind the withdrawal, however, the state’s political and cultural news profile must have been one of them.

StokerCon 2023 Announces Next Guest of Honor

StokerCon 2023, the Horror Writers Association annual convention, will be held at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square, from June 15-18th.

Today they added a third Guest of Honor, author of Succulent PreyThe Resurrectionist, and more, Wrath James White. Find Wrath’s work here and follow him on Twitter.

At StokerCon™ 2022, they announced their first two Guests of Honor Daniel Kraus and Cynthia Pelayo.

Smofcon 38 Update

SMOFCon 38, an in-person event, will be held at Le Centre Sheraton Montreal, December 2-4, 2022. SMOFcon is an annual convention that focuses on the organization of science fiction conventions. This year’s theme will be “Cirque des Smofs — the three-ring circus that is con-running.”

The Montreal group had planned to hold SMOFcon in 2020, however, the host organization concluded the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic made it unsafe to do so and arranged to postpone their turn to 2022.

Membership rates and hotel information are available at the link.

New Plan Puts FantasyCon 2022 Back on Calendar

The British Fantasy Society’s annual convention will be held after all despite a week ago Lee Harris having announced that FantasyCon 2022 would not be possible this year because of financial issues.

The British Fantasy Society quickly ran a survey “the results of which have convinced us that a smaller event is possible.” They told members today that FantasyCon will go ahead this year, still on the same weekend and still in Heathrow, although it will be a two-day event rather than the usual three.

Join us at the Radisson Red Hotel and Conference Centre, Heathrow, on 17th and 18th September for two days packed full of panels, workshops, readings and book launches. Programming will start at 10am on Saturday and run until 3pm on Sunday. Anyone arriving on Friday evening is welcome to join us for an informal social in the bar, while Saturday evening will see the banquet and British Fantasy Awards ceremony. Ticket information is at the link.

The BFS Annual General Meeting will take place September 18 at 10:00 a.m. BFS members can attend the AGM, even if they are not attending the convention. FantasyCon attendees are welcome to attend the AGM but cannot vote.

FanX Co-founder Bryan Brandenburg Accused of Making Bomb Threats

Bryan Brandenburg

Bryan Brandenburg, co-founder of FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, was arrested at his Waipahu home in Hawaii on May 23 reports the Deseret News and appeared in a Hawaii federal court the following day to face charges of transmitting threats in interstate commerce, and threatening and conveying false information concerning the use of an explosive. Federal prosecutors are seeking to hold Brandenburg in jail until his case is adjudicated, court records say.

The FBI agent’s affidavit in the charging document filed by Federal attorneys on May 20 (available at Bleeding Cool) details the threats.

Brandenburg sent emails on May 4 to people in Utah threatening to bomb the 3rd District Courthouse in Salt Lake City, the State Capitol, the Mayor’s office, every Ivy League School, and the Federal Courthouse in San Diego. Two days later, he sent emails to people in Utah threatening to bomb Hall Labs and the University of Utah Center for Medical Innovation.

Previously, on March 8, Brandenburg had emailed a Judicial Case Manager with the Utah State Courts, Third District, Salt Lake City asking when he would get a ruling on his divorce. The Manager informed Brandenburg that the judge had 60 days to make a ruling. On April 29, Brandenburg emailed the Court, “60 days is today. I look forward to ending this nightmare. Thank you.”

On May 2, Brandenburg emailed the Court, “I want a fucking divorce in Utah.” A Judicial Assistant with the Utah State Courts, Third District, Salt Lake City, replied: “Sir, your language will not be tolerated.”

On May 3, Brandenburg wrote to the Court:

a. “Your broken promise of a ruling in 60 days will not be tolerated children.”

b. “So go fuck yourself. All of you”

c. “I guess I’ll just have to bomb the city

On May 4, The Judicial Case Manager and Judicial Assistant received emails from Brandenburg’s gmail account at their Utah court email addresses. In separate emails he wrote among other things:

a. 6:59 AM= “Thanks for finally sending my Divorce decision. You can still fuck the fuck off.”

b. 7:08 AM = “We’re still going to bomb the 3rd District Courthouse. Hae [sic] a nice day.”

c. 7:26 AM = “Now we’re going to bomb the State Capital.. .. “

d. 7:28 AM “And then …. We’ll bomb the mayor’s office … “

e. 7:34 AM = “And then, we’re going to level the sacred temple … “

f. 7:37 AM= “And then …. We’ll level the Rockefeller Center in NYC … “

g. 8:00 AM = “And NOW … WE’RE BOMBING EVERY IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL, STARTING WITH MIT, YALE, AND HAAARRRVVVV ARDDDD … ”

h. 8:38 AM = “We’re bombing the Federal Couthouse in San Diego to teach them a lesson … [This message included a screenshot picture of the Federal Courthouse in San Diego and its address.]

The Judicial Case Manager, after receiving the email that threatened to bomb the courthouse where they were working at that time, notified the Head of Security.

On May 6, four media people located in Utah received emails from Brandenburg’s gmail account saying: “Hall Labs is Frankenstein Inc. They put illegal medical devices in me without my knowledge or permission with U ofU [University of Utah] Center for Medical Innovation. We’re bombing both campuses today for crimes against humanity. Bryan Brandenburg”

The four media people were an employee of the Salt Lake City Weekly, a co-host of a Salt Lake City, Utah morning show, a reporter and editor at the Salt Lake Tribune, and an editor of the Utah InDepth Team.

The Tribune reporter notified the University of Utah police department, which evacuated the U of U Center for Medical Innovation located in the basement level of the Health Sciences Library. The police department conducted a bomb sweep of the buildings using explosive scenting dogs. After an extensive search police declared the scene safe as no explosive devices were uncovered, and evacuees were allowed back into the buildings.

That same day, FBI special agents in Hawaii interviewed Brandenburg, who confirmed he had used the gmail address to send the bomb threats. Furthermore, he read the emails out loud to agents and acknowledged sending them (excerpt for the threat to the Federal Court in San Diego which they didn’t learn about until later). Brandenburg told the agents he sent the emails to get their attention and to pressure the “court” and “family” so he could get his money back that they stole from him. He was unhappy with how long it took the judge to rule on his divorce case and believed the court and his family worked together to take his money.

Brandenburg faces two counts of federal charges related to the threats. He faces a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.

Brandenburg is no longer part of FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention, which originally was named Salt Lake Comic Con. While he was still a co-owner of the company that ran the event, they were embroiled in a years-long lawsuit that ended with San Diego Comic Con successfully barring them from using “Comic Con” in their name, followed by the judge granting a crushing award of $4 million in attorneys fees to San Diego Comic Con.  

In 2018 Brandenburg also faced allegations he mishandled harassment concerns at FanX. After his apologies did not defuse the controversy, Brandenburg took a leave of absence, and he sold his interest in the convention in Spring 2019.

[Via SMOF News and Bleeding Cool.]