Poles Petition Chengdu Worldcon to Drop Lukyanenko as GoH

Polish fandom has initiated an online petition to the Chengdu Science Fiction Association that calls on them to rescind Sergey Lukyanenko’s invitation as a 2023 Worldcon guest of honor. The “Open letter to the Board of Worldcon 2023” at Avaaz.org currently has 409 signatures.

At the link is this English version, followed by copies of the test in Chinese Simplified, Polish and Russian.

Fantasy and science-fiction – whether it be an optimistic vision straight from Star Trek, or Gibson’s dystopian cities – often constitute a reflection of our own world. It tells us about the future we want to see and how to achieve it. Not all opinions on that matter can be left outside when entering a convention space.

Sergei Lukyanenko appears on Russian TV and fantasizes about beating Ukrainian children until they learn to love mother Russia. He smiles when his conversation partner speaks fondly of genocide. This man is the guest of honour of the most important, theoretically, meeting of our community – he’s the guest of honour of next year’s Worldcon.

We, the Polish fandom, can see what’s happening across our border. We do not agree with honouring a man who enthusiastically applauds the bombardment of Ukrainian cities and crimes committed by Russian soldiers. Appearing on Russia Today is tantamount to legitimizing the invasion of Ukraine.

We’re calling on the organisers of Worldcon 2023 to rescind the status of guest of honour from Sergei Lukyanenko, and we’re asking the international community of fans to help us in exerting pressure on that matter.

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11 thoughts on “Poles Petition Chengdu Worldcon to Drop Lukyanenko as GoH

  1. Lukyanenko does need to be confronted. Even tacit support of genocide is unacceptable.

    But then the issue is foregrounded by the fact that this is Chengdu, and we’re looking at a convention in a country which has its own genocide.

  2. Thank you to Polish fandom. I posted before that I am not going to Chengdu with Lukyanenko as a Guest of Honor. I happen to have an attending membership, by virtue of voting in site selection and Chengdu’s generosity. I don’t know if it will make a difference, but Hey Chengdu Worldcon, these are your members speaking.

  3. I suppose there’s a degree of “rightness” or appropriateness going on here: a genocidal GoH at a genocidal con held in a genocidal country.

    You know, kind of Princess Bride Carol Kane: “Have fun genociding the convention, boys”
    Funny not funny.
    Makes me sick just thinking about it.

  4. Each convention is independent, of course, so the resolution by Chicon and this petition have no force if Chengdu doesn’t wish them to. A resolution (obviously after the fact) at the business meeting in Chengdu would be a real statement, the members of a convention repudiating its own guest of honour (and thus committee which invited them.)

    If you wanted something that could have an effect now, one could petition Rob Sawyer and Liu Cixin to decline their invitations to be guests of honour next to Lukyanenko. You might actually have an effect on them, and thus indirectly, on the committee, if it is seen that to be invited to be guest of honour at this convention is a actually a badge of shame. You could also decide not to attend this convention, though I suspect they will get plenty of members in China to weaken the effect of this. But if nobody will be a guest unless Lukyanenko is not a guest, that might make them think about it.

    Particularly Liu. Chinese fans care greatly about him and respect him. If he said he would not stand on the podium with the Russian it would make a difference. Sawyer less so but it would have some influence.

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