Chengdu Worldcon Changes Dates to October 2023

The Chengdu Worldcon Twitter account announced today that the event is being rescheduled to October 18-22, and that it will be held at a different venue, using different hotels than originally announced.

The event will now be held at the Chengdu Science Fiction Museum in Jingrong Lake, Pidu District, Chengdu. The Sheraton Chengdu Pidu and Wyndham Grand Chengdu will be the new convention headquarters hotels.

The Chengdu Science Fiction Museum venue was described in a January 3 post on the Worldcon’s Chinese language website (“World Science Fiction Convention update: The main venue is taking shape, and Hugo Award nominations are about to open – the 81st World Science Fiction Convention in 2023”). “Nebula” alludes to the venue’s appearance, as shown in the photo above.

The main venue of the 2023 World Science Fiction Convention is… “Nebula”

On the shores of Jingrong Lake in the west of Chengdu, the construction of the World Science Fiction Park is accelerating, and a “nebula”-shaped science fiction museum is taking shape, which is the main venue of the 2023 World Science Fiction Convention. Inside the Science Fiction Museum, the Hugo Awards Theater, Forum Space and other exhibition and supporting functional spaces will be built.

…On the basis of the existing Jingrong Lake Talent Park, the World Science Fiction Park will be built around the lake area, with a total area of more than 1,000 mu. Along the lake, viewing nodes and play nodes related to science fiction and ancient Shu culture will be created, combined with science fiction works IP, presenting immersive interactive scenes….

39 thoughts on “Chengdu Worldcon Changes Dates to October 2023

  1. “the World Science Fiction Park will be built…[by nine months from now] “. Count me curious. I realize China has whole different ways of doing things, but I’ve been involved with retail projects from time to time and the fastest major project I saw take shape was one in Latin America in 14 months. In the US, I wouldn’t want to suggest we’d necessarily get permits needed to break ground in that time frame in a lot of jurisdictions.

  2. ObDisclosure: I was a member of the bid for Discon.

    There were a number of things I was unhappy with about Discon. HOWEVER, when COVID proved to be a continuing issue, they contacted members, and widely publicized a vote as to when it might be moved to, or if members of the con wanted to keep the original date.

    Not that we were going… but we’ve heard NOTHING about this. Given that longtime SMOFs are involved in the con committee, I’m am rather appalled that this appears with no warning, and as a decree by fiat.

    This is not acceptable behavior for a Worldcon.

  3. My suspicion is that this is driven by mandates from the Chinese government. I can’t imagine that an entire con is deliberately doing things like this if they had a choice.

  4. It may be being driven by the government, but I have grave doubts that they suddenly got a letter or call from a government official telling them they were doing it… without any warning at all. With no notice, and the con not letting people know that there was an issue.

  5. mark: I had seen that the January 3 post on the Chinese language Chengdu Worldcon site which was the basis of my “Hugo X Academy” post had a long passage about the SF Museum at Jingrong Lake, and I spent several hours with Google figuring out where it was in Chengdu, then trying to make sense of how that fit with their announced facilities since they seemed to be far apart. Now that we have today’s announcement to work from, it’s apparent the writer of the January 3 post knew what venue they were really going to use, but failed to identify it as a replacement of the originally announced venue.

  6. There appear to be fewer nearby hotels, too. I’m glad I was able to get my IHG points refunded for the booking I had made at one of the nearby Holiday Inn hotels at the originally announced site. Of course, If I’m unable to go, it doesn’t matter.

  7. Further to Kevin’s point, it looks as if wheelchair/mobility scooter access from the hotel to this new venue may be a touch trickier, just because of the distance – assuming that I am reading Google Maps correctly.

  8. I’m a bit worried by the names of the World Science Fiction Park and the Hugo Awards Theater. Are those permanent names?

  9. So some faction of the CCP apparently thinks Worldcon and SF are a big deal. Joy, joy.

  10. DId anyone get an email from Chengdu about this? Because I didn’t. If I didn’t read File770 I’d’ve had no idea about the date change or the venue change.

    I confirmed my membership (via site selection) last week, so I know they have my email address. The lack of communication is starting to make me very, very worried.

  11. Mark wrote: “It may be being driven by the government, but I have grave doubts that they suddenly got a letter or call from a government official telling them they were doing it… without any warning at all. With no notice, and the con not letting people know that there was an issue.”

    You have noticed that the People’s Republic of China is a communist dictatorship?

    So, the good news: This convention has apparently turned into an exercise in presenting a good face to the world community. That means it will happen.

    The bad news is all the associated impact of being a show event for a dictatorial state.

  12. I had checked my membership a short time ago so they have my email address. Why am I hearing about this on File 770? Thank you File 770 but it should not have been your sole responsibility to get this information out. Chengdu is really failing in its duties to Worldcon members.

    As for quickly built projects. The Chinese are famous for it so the “Nebula” probably will be constructed in time.

  13. Oh oh, nothing on the Chengdu website about it. I suspect this is going to be one horrible Worldcon. I had decided a while ago not to go because of the COVID lockdowns were making travel to China unpredictable.

    I only read the United States Travel Advisory about COVID restrictions. How about this one. Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC, Hong Kong SAR, or Macau SAR governments.

    In addition, the PRC government has used restrictions on travel or departure from the PRC, or so-called exit bans, to:

    compel individuals to participate in PRC government investigations,
    pressure family members of the restricted individual to return to the PRC from abroad,
    resolve civil disputes in favor of PRC citizens, and
    gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments.

    Hmm, detaining foreign nationals for sending electronic messages critical of the PRC. I don’t know if fans can keep their mouths shut.

  14. Well….I tried to purchase my supporting membership last night, and the credit card processing is still borked. I don’t know anything about the Wepay or whatever it is.

    This does not fill me with confidence about anybody not in China being able to do anything.

  15. As for quickly built projects. The Chinese are famous for it so the “Nebula” probably will be constructed in time.

    Maybe, but hosting the Sochi Olympics was far more important to Russia than a Worldcon is to China and the state of new, rapidly constructed facilities for that event was an epic disaster.

    Is it possible that the Chengdu Worldcon effort was always a stalking horse for this museum? Today’s news on the site is because the architects sent out PR everywhere. Getting so little news before today suggests to me that no one was authorized to say anything until the museum announcement happened.

  16. I have never received any e-mails from Chengdu about anything. No progress reports, no communications with members, not about Hugo voting, they didn’t even reply to e-mails I sent them. I was finally able to log into the website and confirm that I do indeed have a membership via voting in site selection, but otherwise communicating with Chengdu is like screaming into a black hole.

  17. I’m not looking to quarrel with anyone; I’d like to know if there is a site where someone has made some kind of case for why supporting this con is a good thing despite the Chinese government’s human rights record.

  18. @Dale nelson
    It was argued here last summer. There’s a search box near the title graphic.

  19. Thanks — I see some content on this now. I’m glad the matter has been discussed. What I miss (in what I have seen so far) is a lot of people just saying “I won’t/couldn’t go” as well as discussion of the issue on a more impersonal level. It’s hard for me to understand how someone who knows what he or she ought to know about today’s China could bear it. Anyway, again thanks.

    DN

  20. This is the main reason I voted against the Chengdu Worldcon bid, I had little faith in the committee’s competency to host this convention. Few of them had attended a Worldcon and none that I’m aware had experience at any level working on one.

    Even though they managed to recruit Ben Yallow and a few others onto its staff, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is more of a challenge than seasoned conrunners had anticipated.

    I hope Worldcon site selection voters consider this detail in the future.

  21. I hope Worldcon site selection voters consider this detail in the future.

    When thousands of anonymous votes come in from China, it little matters what the usual site selection voters feel about the issue.

  22. Even though they managed to recruit Ben Yalow and a few others onto its staff, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is more of a challenge than seasoned conrunners had anticipated.

    That seems pretty likely, given that Chengdu’s experienced conrunners aren’t showing up in discussions like this one to explain what is going on and reassure fans.

  23. John Lorentz said,

    When thousands of anonymous votes come in from China, it little matters what the usual site selection voters feel about the issue.

    It seems like it would be worth putting in a motion requiring post office mailing addresses to legitimize site selection votes in the future.

  24. Pingback: Chinese Fan Response to Chengdu Worldcon Changes | File 770

  25. The “Hugo Awards Theater” thing bothers me as well, though in a list of things about the Chengdu Worldcon that bother me, it’s pretty low. And if the name was chosen by the Chinese government, lots of luck in getting them to change it.

  26. When it was first announced that China had won the bid for the Worldcon, my first reaction was, “Who the hell would want to go to China (except people already in China)?” and my next reaction was, “This is going to be a charley foxtrot of epic proportions.”

    And does China realize that Worldcons aren’t really that big, in comparison to DragonCons and ComicCons, or even MomoCons? I think they’re going to be surprised and disappointed when/if the thing actually happens and it’s not Olympic-levels of attendance.

  27. mark: Yes – the decision for shift the date of DisCcon was made (as I recall) after a survey of the members and extensive discussion.

  28. @ja
    When the Chengdu Worldcon bid was first announced, I was not averse to travelling to China. I also talked to Chinese expat friends and westerners who’d visited China and all of them said I’d be safe unless I did something really stupid (which you shouldn’t do in any country). Besides, I visited Eastern Europe (mainly East Germany, but also the Soviet Union) several times before 1990 and had some idea of what to expect when visiting a Communist country.

    Of course, the political situation in China has changed since then, both with regard to the covid pandemic and the CCP increasingly cracking down on anything that even slightly smells of dissent and I’m far more reluctant to travel to China than I was back in 2017 or even 2019.

    However, as Laura pointed out, two competing bids for 2023, Nice and Memphis, folded and the last minute Winnpeg seemed to campaign purely on the basis of “At least, we’re not China”, which wasn’t really enough. Besides, western fandom underestimated that Chengdu didn’t need to woo western fans (though they sure tried with lavish trips for SMOFs and “important” writers) to win the bid, because there are twenty million people in Chengdu and more than a billion in China and quite a few of them are SFF fans.

  29. On a platform totally unrelated to Fandom I finally found something good about the Chengdu Worldcon.

    The Science Fiction Museum, where they are currently planning to hold it, is the work of the late Zaha Hawis, for my money the best architect of the 20th Century. She alone designed buildings that really do look like the Future, like the fulfillment of what others were striving toward.

  30. I see that the Chengdu Worldcon website has been updated.

    During the run-up to Westercon 74, we generally did our announcements by updating the website first, then (for major announcements) sending email to our members, then by posting things to social media. However, Chengdu is not the first convention — not even the first Worldcon — I’ve seen that has started with social media posts and then considered updating their website and directly contacting their members as an afterthought.

    Lew Wolkoff on January 20, 2023 at 7:53 am said:

    What does the Mark Protection Committee have to say about the Hugo Theater?

    The MPC is aware of this, has seen the architectural drawings, and has been discussing the matter. We have also asked Chendu’s representative to the MPC to comment.

    Speaking personally — not in my official capacity as MPC Chair, I emphasize — I think that temporarily naming the hall in which they plan to hold the 2023 Hugo Awards as the “Hugo Awards Theater” would be a nice thing, and permitted because Worldcons are licensed to use the WSFS marks for the purpose of holding their convention. However, I would certainly prefer that in such a case the convention use the actual official Hugo Awards logo, and not some other artwork that probably was found by doing a Google image search for “Hugo Award.” (The logo in those drawings is one of the many designs submitted to the logo design contest, but of course was not the design selected and registered as the official logo.)

  31. I would add that I and my wife both voted in Site Selection at DisCon, and we gave our e-mail addresses on our submitted paperwork, and since then, we have received NOTHING whatsoever from the Chengdu worldcon.

    And, on the issue of going there, at least for me, that was never a possibility. Just Google ‘The Two Michaels’ for the context behind my decision.

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