Pixel Scroll 8/22/19 Release The Dungeons And The Dragons

(1) YOUNG PEOPLE READ AGAIN. James Davis Nicoll introduces the next phase of the program: “Young People Read Old Science Fiction: Rediscovery!”

The next phase of Young People Read Old Science Fiction focuses on a single reference text, Journey Press’s Rediscovery: Science Fiction by Women (1958 – 1963). To quote from Journey Press’ site:

“The Silver Age of Science Fiction saw a wealth of compelling speculative tales — and women authors wrote some of the best of the best. Yet the stories of this era, especially those by women, have been largely unreprinted, unrepresented, and unremembered.

“Until now.

“Volume one of REDISCOVERY represents a historic first: fourteen selections of the best science fiction of the Silver Age, written by the unsung women authors of yesteryear and introduced by today’s rising stars. Join us and rediscover these lost treasures…. “

James is also recruiting participants:

I am looking for reviewers born after about 1980. The deadline for application is September 1, with a target date for the inaugural Young People Read Old Science Fiction: Rediscovery! post of October 1. If you are interested, please contact me at jdnicoll at panix dot com.

Where previous phases have involved each contributor working on their own, this chapter will feature a round table approach. Each contributor will be provided by me with a copy of the ebook.

(2) IN CONS TO COME. Cheryl Morgan assesses the competition to host a future Worldcon in “The Race for 2023”.

… Prior to Dublin the extant bids for 2023 were Nice (France), Chengdu (China) and New Orleans (USA). The New Orleans bid has, I understand it, collapsed. However, some US fans were busily organising a bid for another city. Apparently they viewed this as essential to prevent yet another non-US Worldcon. I think they have settled on Memphis but it was a bit confused.

The Chengdu bid is controversial for two reasons, one of which is that it is very hard to get into China. Elizabeth Bear told me that she has been denied a visa because she is a writer. That could happen to a lot of us. My own view is that a Chinese Worldcon won’t happen without government approval, and if that approval exists then it should be possible to set up a system whereby visa applications can be expedited. This is China, after all

(3) FINAL FANZINE SOLUTION. Cheryl Morgan also reacts to Nicholas Whyte’s statistics showing that the Best Fanzine Hugo category is skating on the edge of the abyss in “Whither Fanzine?”?

…On Twitter Aidan Moher has been calling for more appreciation for video fanzines. (Booktube appears to be the name for such things.) People making them certainly deserve recognition, but they belong in the Fancast category which is for:

Any generally available non-professional audio or video periodical devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects

Aidan also suggests collapsing Fanzine and Fancast to create a single category of fan-created works. Much as I would like to see fewer Hugo categories, I can’t see that happening. Neither the podcast people nor fanzine fandom would be happy….

(4) N3F SHORT STORY CONTEST. The National Fantasy Fan Federation’s annual short story contest is accepting entries through December 31, 2019. There are no entrance fees, but there are cash prizes. First prize is $50, second $30, and third $20. Read about it here: “2019 N3F Amateur Short Story Contest”. The judge is SF author Jefferson Swycaffer. Results will be announced by March 2020.

1. This contest is open to all amateur writers in the field, regardless of whether they’re members of the National Fantasy Fan Federation. For the purposes of this contest, we define an amateur as someone who has sold no more than two (2) stories to professional science fiction or fantasy publications or publishing houses.

2. Stories entered in the contest must be original, unpublished, not longer than 8,500 words in length—and must be related to the science fiction, fantasy, or similar genres in the opinion of the judge.

(5) AFRICAN FUTURES. “These Nigerian Teens Are Making Sci-Fi Shorts with Slick Visual Effects”Kottke.org has the story. Photos of the steps in one of their productions can be seen at the post.

For the past year, a group of teens in Nigeria called the Critics Company have been uploading short sci-fi films to their YouTube channel. Using a smartphone with a busted screen, makeshift equipment, open source 3D tools like Blender, and green sheets hung on walls, the self-taught group has produced some professional-grade special effects. Check out this 10-minute short they uploaded in January, Z: The Beginning.

(6) MORE ON CAMPBELL. Comments by David Bowles, including some quotes from Campbell. Thread starts here.

(7) NO BILLIONS AND BILLIONS? The Hollywood Reporter drills into the “‘Spider-Man’ Standoff: Why Sony Thinks It Doesn’t Need “Kevin’s Playbook” Anymore”.

…Rothman will need to deliver Marvel-less fare that lives up to hype of the Spider-Man character’s MCU appearances. “If the two sides don’t come to a compromise, it’s a lose-lose for everybody,” argues Shawn Robbins, chief analyst for industry website Boxoffice. “Marvel won’t be able to resolve the cliffhanger in future movies, which is saying something when it’s their most popular hero. And for Sony, who has had success, Far From Home doesn’t get to a billion dollars without Feige and Marvel’s involvement.”

Adds Robbins, “The other big question is, ‘How are fans are going to react to a Tom Holland Spider-Man movie that is not set in the MCU?’ That is a roll of the dice that no studio should take.”

(8) I THOUGHT BUGS HATE RAID(S). Cnet reports “Spider-Man fans want to ‘storm’ Sony and ‘bring our boy home’ to the MCU”.

First the internet wanted to raid Area 51, now Sony is the target, with over 5,500 Spider-Man fans planning to storm its California offices and bring Spider-Man back to Marvel.

A Facebook event, hosted by three fans, was set up on Tuesday. The event, according to its description, involves dressing up in Spider-Man costumes and bringing “our boy home!” (to the Marvel Cinematic Universe).

The raid is planned for Oct. 31, aka Halloween. The perfect guise.

This fan rage spawned from a report Deadline published Tuesday of a high-level dispute between Sony and Marvel. That dispute means Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige won’t produce any more Spider-Man films and Marvel will no longer be involved in the Spider-Man movie universe.

(9) CRYSTAL CLEARING. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance premieres August 30 on Netflix.

As power-hungry overlords drain life from the planet Thra, a group of brave Gelfling unite on a quest to save their world and fight off the darkness.


[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born August 22, 1907 Oliver McGowan. He played The Caretaker in the “Shore Leave” episode of the original Trek. It must be decades since I’ve seen that episode but I still remember liking it a lot silly though it be. It’s kind of the ancestor to the holodeck, isn’t it? McGowan has one-offs on One Step Beyond, Wild Wild West, I Dream of Jeannie, The Twilight Zone and Bewitched. (Died 1971.)
  • Born August 22, 1909 Paul W. Fairman. His story “No Teeth for the Tiger” was published in the February 1950 issue of Amazing Stories. Two years later, he was the founding editor of If, but he edited only four issues. In 1955, he became the editor of Amazing Stories and Fantastic which he would hold for three years. There are several films, Target Earth and Invasion of the Saucer Men, based on his stories, plus some TV episodes as well. (Died 1977.)
  • Born August 22, 1920 Ray Bradbury. So what’s your favorite book by him? I have three. Something Wicked This Way Comes is the one I reread quite a bit with The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles being my other go to regularly works by him. (Died 2012.)
  • Born August 22, 1925 Honor Blackman, 94. Best known for the roles of Cathy Gale in The Avengers, Bond girl Pussy Galore in Goldfinger and Hera in Jason and the Argonauts. She was also Professor Lasky in “Terror of the Vervoids” in the Sixth Doctor’s “The Trial of a Time Lord”.
  • Born August 22, 1948 Susan Wood. Of extremely fragile health, she received three Hugo Awards for Best Fan Writer in 1974, 1977, and 1981, and a Best Fanzine Hugo as coeditor of Energumen in 1973In 1976 she was instrumental in organizing the very first feminist panel at a con, at MidAmericon. The reaction to this helped lead to the founding of A Women’s APA and of WisCon. While teaching courses in SF at UBC, one of her students was William Gibson.  “Fragments of a Hologram Rose” which is his first published story was written as an assignment in her SF class. (Died 1980.)
  • Born August 22, 1955 Will Shetterly, 64. Of his novels, I recommend his two Borderland novels, Elsewhere and Nevernever, and Dogland. Married to Emma Bull, they did a trailer for her War for The Oaks novel which is worth seeing.
  • Born August 22, 1959 Mark Williams, 60. He was Arthur Weasley in seven of the Potter films. He also played Brian Williams in the BBC series Doctor Who, appearing with the Eleventh Doctor in “The Power of Three” and “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”. He was also Olaf Petersen on Red Dwarf. His first genre role was as Fearnot’s Brother in the “Fearnot” episode of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller. 
  • Born August 22, 1963 Tori Amos, 56. One of Gaiman’s favorite musicians, so it’s appropriate that she penned two essays, the afterword to “Death” in Sandman: Book of Dreams) and the Introduction to “Death” in The High Cost of Living. Although created before they ever met, Delirium from The Sandman is based on her.


  • Speedbump has a very funny variation on an old theme, with a little environmental message.
  • In Pearls Before Swine we meet a frog who’s a different kind of prince.
  • Grimmy serves up a very cheap pun!

(12) BRADBURY REDISCOVERIES. The B&N Sci-FI & Fantasy Blog calls readers’ attention to “8 Lesser-Known Works by Ray Bradbury” on his birthday.

The Green Towns
Green Town is to Bradbury what Derry and Castle Rock are to Stephen King: an invented town that brings to life the community of the author’s childhood dreams, shot through with an undercurrent of the supernatural. The town is based on Waukegan, Illinois, where Bradury spent his boyhood years, and his fond memories and great love for the place shine throughout the Green Town series’ four novels, the most widely read of which is Something Wicked This Way Comes.

(13) BLOW OUT YOUR CANDLE. LitHub declares “Ray Bradbury still deserves birthday sex, even after all these years.”

…I bet you didn’t know that Crazy Ex Girlfriend creator and star Rachel Bloom is quite possibly his biggest fan. In 2010, she went public with her adoration and shared “F*ck Me, Ray Bradbury” with the world. (In 2011, the video was even nominated for a Hugo Award!)

So, celebrate Ray Bradbury today with lyrics like: “Since I was 12, I’ve been your number one fan / Kiss me, you illustrated man. / I’ll feed you grapes and dandelion wine / And we’ll read a little Fahrenheit 69.” You’re welcome.

(14) ON THE AIR. “Fast radio bursts” feature in today’s Nature. Their origin has been a mystery and some have (seriously) proposed ET intelligence origin (like pulsars were but you know how that turned out).  There are also repeaters… “Haul of mysterious cosmic bursts excites astronomers”.

Discovery of more ‘repeater’ fast radio bursts should help to reveal signals’ origins…

Astronomers are edging closer to finding out what causes brief, powerful flashes in the sky known as fast radio bursts (FRBs), after a Canadian telescope discovered eight more of the most intriguing type of these blasts — those that repeat their signals. FRBs are intensely energetic events that flare for just milliseconds, seemingly all over the sky and from outside the Galaxy. But their cause has remained a mystery since the first FRB was identified in 2007. Astronomers hope that studying bursts that repeat their flashes, rather than flare just once, can help to elucidate the origins of FRBs. That’s because it’s easier for high-resolution telescopes to make followup observations of ‘repeaters’ and trace their origins compared with one-off blasts.

(15) BOT AND DELIVERED. My cousin Russia Mike, as I like to call him, is on his way to the ISS: “Russia launches life-sized robot into space”. (With photos.)

Russia has launched a rocket carrying a life-sized robot to the International Space Station (ISS).

It was launched from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday and is set to arrive at the station on Saturday.

The robot, named Fedor (Experimental Demonstration Object Research), is the first ever sent into space by Russia.

In order to test a new emergency rescue system, the robot was the Soyuz rocket’s only passenger.

Fedor stands some one metre and 80 centimetres tall (5ft 11 inches) and weighs 160 kilograms.

During its 10 days at the ISS, Fedor will learn new skills such as “connecting and disconnecting electric cables, using standard items from a screwdriver and a spanner to a fire extinguisher,” said Alexander Bloshenko, the Russian space agency’s director for prospective programmes and science.

It is hoped that Fedor will eventually carry out more dangerous tasks such as spacewalks.

(16) A CITY SAID TO THE UNIVERSE. They hope there isn’t any there there: “City of Bielefeld offers €1m for proof it doesn’t exist” – BBC has the story.

It’s a German city dating back to the 9th Century, with 340,000 residents, a university, a medieval fort… but does it really exist?

Bielefeld is now offering a €1m (£914,000) prize to anyone in Germany who can prove the city’s non-existence.

The city marketing group running the competition wants to disprove a 25-year-old conspiracy theory.

Back in 1994 a student light-heartedly posted the message “Bielefeld? There’s no such thing” on the Usenet system.

Achim Held’s message became a long-running joke in Germany, once it spread virally with the subsequent internet boom

(17) WE KNOW HE IS A WIZ OF A WIZ. Matthem Dessen imparts “A Brief History of Peeing in Video Games” at Slate.

Gamescom 2019 kicked off in Cologne, Germany on Monday night, and as usual, the annual trade fair has been full to bursting with announcements, trailers, and exciting new details about upcoming games. But one development is making a bigger splash than the rest: Visionary video game auteur Hideo Kojima’s next game, Death Stranding, will feature the kind of hyper-realistic urination gameplay action that gamers crave. Drench your eyeballs in this leaked footage from Gamescom’s opening night stream to see Death Stranding star Norman Reedus take the most lavishly digitized piss in video game history…

…Mystery House (On-Line Systems, 1980)

Roberta and Ken Williams are rightfully hailed as two of the most influential game designers in history, but their first attempt to break gaming’s pee barrier was an abject failure. Mystery House, the very first graphical adventure game, was also the very first graphical adventure game to feature a drawing of a toilet….

[Thanks to Rich Horton, JJ, Chip Hitchcock, Cat Eldridge, John A Arkansawyer, Mike Kennedy, DMS, SF Concatenation’s Jonathan Cowie, Martin Morse Wooster, Alan Baumler, George Phillies, John King Tarpinian, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

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64 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 8/22/19 Release The Dungeons And The Dragons

  1. @Klio
    I attended the WorldCons in both Dublin and Helsinki and enjoyed them a lot, even if there were issues such as the queue problem, which improved in both Dublin and Helsinki after a messy first day. Though I agree with Hampus that Dublin needed more places to sit down. The air conditioning was also highly erratic (and non-existent in the Warehouse) and a lot of panel rooms were extremely hot. At the panel I moderated, I put my alarm clock on the desk to keep track of the time. It has an integrated temperature indicator according to whcih it was 25.7°C, which is way too hot. Helsinki’s main problem was that most panel rooms and the green room were connected to the same corridor, eventually called the “corridor of death”, which was completely overcrowded when one panel ended and the next was about to start.

    I don’t know how the US WorldCons compare, because I’ve never attended one, but from photos, etc… I’ve seen, the convention centres in San José, Kansas City and Spokane didn’t seem to be much bigger than the ones in Dublin and Helsinki. Of course, it’s quite possible that American fans attend fewer panels than European fans. After all, for European (and Middle Eastern and Asian fans) a panel or reading or signing or Kaffeeklatsch may be the only chance they ever get to meet a favourite author, scientist or astronaut. Besides, there were a lot of first time attendants in both Dublin and Helsinki. In Dublin, there were also a lot of people whose first WorldCon was Helsinki and who enjoyed it so much that they came to Dublin as well. Finally, it’s also possible that with WorldCon getting bigger, queueing may be the new normal.

    That said, it sometimes seems to me as if some American fans are excessively critical of non-American WorldCons. Some of those are a valid complaints, e.g. bad capacity planning, but some of them are also simply unfamiliarity with how other places do things. For example, I remember some complaints that in Helsinki, there was only one hotel directly next to the convention centre, all other hotels were in the city centre. Of course, Helsinki gave every WorldCon attendant a free public transport pass for the entire duration of the event, i.e. you could go anywhere in the city for free.

    Regarding the race for 2023, quite a few non-American attendants I talked to were a little chuffed that the Americans were putting up a last minute bid, because apparently they couldn’t abide a year with two competing non-American bids. I was at the Memphis bid party and the people were lovely and besides, Memphis hasn’t hosted several WorldCons before, unlike Chicago which has hosted seven and is bidding for an uncontested eighth.

    Also, given the current political situation, I would consider three US WorldCons in a row (DC, the uncontested Chicago bid and Memphis) extremely problematic, because there are many people who cannot or will not travel to the US, while the current regime is in power. And even if Trump is voted out in 2020, the immigration restrictions passed by his government will not be rolled back immediately or even at all. After all, Obama never repealed the immigration restrictions passed by Bush Jr. either.

    However, much as I would love to see WorldCon become more international, I don’t see the Chengdu bid as viable at the moment due to the current political situation in China. And the Nice people don’t really seem to have their act together, which was excusable in 2017, but is not quite so excusable in 2019. I think that Nice has a pretty good chance, given the political issues with both China and the US, but they will have to step up their game fast.

  2. Klio: I quickly summarized the capacities of all the rooms for seated programming in Dublin (except the auditorium, the room for the Business Meeting and the warehouse for concerts), and it’s 3125 seats. Of course not all the rooms were occupied at all times, and I’m pretty sure the larger movie halls were never full. If I only count the rooms in the CCD that were almost always in use and mostly filled to capacity (capacity 50-250 each), the sum is 1460 seats, so still well above 15%.

    The thing you have to remember about the fine art of capacity planning for Worldcons is this:

    Not all panels are equally well-attended.

    You can’t do capacity planning based on just membership total, total number of room seats, and a percent guesstimate of how many people will attend panels.

    1460 seats, in a large space which is subdividable into smaller rooms, is not really 1460 seats. It’s probably closer to 1000 seats. Because if only 20-30 people show up to each of a bunch of panels simultaneously scheduled in 50-seat rooms, then half of those seats are non-available to people who want to attend other panels at the same time.

    One of the Helsinki people, in response to complaints by people who couldn’t get into the panels they wanted to see, argued that they should just go to one of the other panels at the same time which still had available seats. But that’s not how it works. If I can’t get into the SFF by Women panel I wanted to see, I am going to have zero interest in the Comics, Paranormal Fantasy, Anime, Baseball in SF, Costuming, RPG, and Postapocalyptic SF panels going on at the same time — and insisting that I should be satisfied with doing that is just offensive.

    An example of the nuances which must be considered: If you have a space with a capacity of 500, subdividable into 5 rooms, and one of the panels you are planning for is a reading by John Scalzi, you don’t divide the space into 5 rooms of 100 each. You divide the space into 1 room of 300, and 4 rooms of 50.

    Capacity planning at a Worldcon is a very difficult endeavor — but one which must be done nevertheless, and one which is most successful when calling on the expertise of people who have been through it at past Worldcons.

  3. Cora said:
    [blockquote] Regarding the race for 2023, quite a few non-American attendants I talked to were a little chuffed that the Americans were putting up a last minute bid, because apparently they couldn’t abide a year with two competing non-American bids. I was at the Memphis bid party and the people were lovely and besides, Memphis hasn’t hosted several WorldCons before, unlike Chicago which has hosted seven and is bidding for an uncontested eighth.
    However, much as I would love to see WorldCon become more international, I don’t see the Chengdu bid as viable at the moment due to the current political situation in China. And the Nice people don’t really seem to have their act together, which was excusable in 2017, but is not quite so excusable in 2019. I think that Nice has a pretty good chance, given the political issues with both China and the US, but they will have to step up their game fast.[/blockquote]

    I think your latter paragraph is why both Spokane and Memphis put up a bid. Not because there needed to be an American bid, but because all three of the existing bids, including New Orleans, were problematic. Spokane pulled out of bidding as soon as they realized Memphis had a probably viable bid.

    I’m firmly in the more World in Worldcon camp and want as many Worldcons outside North America as can host a viable bid. If experienced European fans start seriously backing Nice, that would help ameliorate my concerns there.

    I would be very happy if someone put up a viable bid against Chicago, especially if it was from outside the USA. By the end of July in 2020 we still won’t know who the President will be in 2022. Plus eight times is a lot.

  4. @Klio:

    The data on Worldcon sizes is here. Note that the last three US Worldcons were all around 5000, which is what I recall being reported for Dublin. (NB: IME, people here are not inclined to pull facts out of thin air, or to make flat statements that they can’t back up.)
    The problem with comparing seating capacity and expected attendees is that, as I said, predicting attendance at a specific panel is not a science; ISTM that there should be a minimum of twice as many total seats in program rooms as total expected bodies in those rooms, and even that may be low (based, e.g., on your report of ~1500 seats in generally-used rooms). There’s also the question of where the 15% that @OGH quotes comes from — if it was in fact The Mad Three Party it’s ~30 years old and was probably based on US Worldcons, which were much more common back then (see discussion below).

    @Heather Rose Jones may have a point about newer attendees going to more program — although people who do program tend to try to keep turning up fresh ideas, or at least fresh perspectives. (cf discussion here some months ago about Readercon announcing that it was going to try to get more younger/newer people on program, rather than continuing to empanel known quantities.) I suspect that there are more new Worldcon attendees at non-NorthAmerican conventions simply because there haven’t been as many such Worldcons — but that’s a guess, and after reports of London and the widely-reported mess in Helsinki, Dublin had recent data to deal with and enough time to deal with it.

  5. catching up (apparently I forgot to Refresh before posting): @Cora: are you sure you’re using “chuffed” correctly? It means pleased, where from context the people you mention were displeased that USians couldn’t leave two non-US bids (however debatable) to contest the year.

  6. “…are you sure you’re using “chuffed” correctly? It means pleased…”

    I am today one of the lucky 10 000. This makes me remember the irritation I felt about all those Englishmen who insisted on having mustard as cake filling.

  7. @Cora Buhlert: About the air conditioning, I was actually freezing in the dealers’ hall and happy to be able to warm up in the panels… 🙂
    I cannot judge how well prepared they are, but I do hope Nice will become a decent candidate if it isn’t now.

    @JJ: I know, but those rooms with close to 1500 seats were always almost fully occupied, as far as I can tell. That suggests that the overall interest in programming was very high, perhaps higher than anticipated.

    @Chip Hitchcock: Thank you for the link! According to the newsletter on Monday morning, there were 5700 members present, and I read somewhere (can’t find it now) that the 500 day pass visitors were in addition to that number. That would indicate that European Worldcons do have a higher attendance than North American ones. Maybe Cora is right and queues are normal with 6000 people. Especially if a lot of them are relatively new to Worldcons and want to get into lots of panels.

    Chip Hitchcock on August 25, 2019 at 6:20 pm said:
    I suspect that there are more new Worldcon attendees at non-NorthAmerican conventions simply because there haven’t been as many such Worldcons

    And there’s also the fact that Worldcons are about books etc in English. That requires better English skills than you’d normally pick up in school, and I think, at least in Germany, many young people have developed an interest in reading and listening to English in their free time only over the last decade or so, because of the internet and streaming services. So I actually expect the interest in Worldcons in non-English-speaking countries to increase further as more people start reading novels in English in addition to their mother tongues.

  8. Klio: those rooms with close to 1500 seats were always almost fully occupied, as far as I can tell. That suggests that the overall interest in programming was very high, perhaps higher than anticipated.

    It also indicates that Dublin did not do adequate capacity planning. After all, their membership size was very similar to Worldcon 75’s size, and we know how bad the capacity problems were with the space that Worldcon 75 had allocated (and there was plenty more space available in the Messukeskus, and plenty of money in their bank account; there was really no excuse for not having adequate space). Surely Dublin’s facilities people were talking to the people who did facilities for Worldcon 75? If not, they should have been.

    Klio: Maybe Cora is right and queues are normal with 6000 people.

    Queues are only normal if a Worldcon has not done adequate capacity planning.

    The bulk of Dublin 2019’s attending memberships came in well before the convention started. That they made arrangements 8 months in advance to add The Point to increase capacity makes it clear that they knew they were going to have space issues (and I give them high marks for doing so). Should they have cut off membership sales sooner? Possibly, but there’s a lot of resistance to that, because Worldcons have always been about everyone who wants to come being able to come. Was there space in the CCD set aside for other things which should have instead been used for programming space? Possibly. This sort of thing is always a juggling act.

    I know it’s hard for you to see criticisms posted about Worldcons that you enjoyed, but this is how we make things better: by analyzing what went wrong and figuring how to fix it, rather than denying that anything went wrong.

  9. @Klio: I’ve been at the two largest Worldcons to date, with ~7000 and ~8400 attendees, and at least one other with over 6000. I can testify that Cora is incorrect about lines: outside of autographing and major events (and registration when the 8400-attendee convention provided half of the gear they were told was needed), I remember no lines at these conventions. Referencing @JJ’s response — I do remember, 43 years ago, being annoyed at the people who thought MAC 1 was a mess; I was a year out of college, party-hopped until 5am at least two nights, and generally had a great time, but I had nothing to compare them to and had no hand in running the convention — or in helping with real-time patches.

    A lot of fans get into running Worldcons not because of prestige or the desire to have a Worldcon they can go to but to do a better job than has been done in the past. This usually requires starting with past best practices, which Dublin and particularly Helsinki failed to do.

  10. For some reason, everytime I read “custard”, I thought of it as “mustard” and got more and more annoyed at the english ideas on desserts.

    Which reminds me of an interesting story. A colleague from work visited his friends in US and got applepie with icecream as dessert. He said it was very nice, but that the correct way to serve applepie was with custard. So when he got back to Sweden, he posted a package of custard powder for them to try out.

    The package arrived to their home partially opened by way of police man who had an interesting story to tell. Turns out that they had let one of their police dogs sniff around at the packages, looking for drugs. When it came to the package of custard, it stared at it suspiciously. Then it took a huge sniff and promptly keeled over unconcious.

    I have no idea if this is a usual dog reaction to custard powder, but it was a funny story anyhow.

  11. @Chip Hitchcock

    I suspect that there are more new Worldcon attendees at non-NorthAmerican conventions simply because there haven’t been as many such Worldcons

    A certain amount of this is almost certainly just demographics. Europe is twice as densely populated as the United States. Any given convention in Europe has a bigger potential audience to draw from.

  12. IME, travel in Europe tends to be more expensive; internal air fares are high, gas for cars is heavily taxed, and trains are cheap only by comparison with planes. I would expect that to make some counter to population density. A possible counter-counter is the splintering of US con-goers by DragonCon, SDCC, specialty conventions (furry/anime/gaming/…), where IIUC the Worldcon has much less competition in Europe.

  13. Also, the language barrier is still relevant with regards to conventions. Not everyone is fluent enough to read in English.

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