Sergey Lukyanenko Says He Will Visit Chengdu in December

Guess who’s coming for Szechuan sauce? Russian author Sergey Lukyanenko dropped a Rick and Morty reference at the end of his blog post announcing that the Chengdu Worldcon committee is bringing him to China in December.

At the beginning of December, I plan to be in Chengdu, Beijing and Shanghai at the kind invitation of the Organizing Committee of the World Science Fiction Convention in Chengdu and the publishing house “Eight Light Minutes”….

A guest of honor who was conspicuously absent from the Chengdu Worldcon, will Lukyanenko still be coming as a guest of the committee? Why not. It was probably arranged this way. After all his toxic utterances about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, his presence at the Worldcon could have become a distraction.

P.S. Of course, I’ll try Szechuan sauce.

25 thoughts on “Sergey Lukyanenko Says He Will Visit Chengdu in December

  1. No mentions (yet) of this on the Weibo accounts of the con or 8 Light Minutes Culture. The former has been pretty dormant since the con ended, but the latter has had posts as recently as earlier today.

    In other news, the Chinese and English language con sites are no longer accessible right now – they have the same DNS error as the online site has suffered for a week or so, as documented in a couple of prior Scrolls. The Hugo site does seem to be up as I type this. I’ll see if a similar edit of my local hosts file magically makes them accessible again…

    I know the English language site was working as recently as 19:50 yesterday UK time.

  2. Invited by the publishing house. How much say does the organizing committee have in the matter? I’m guessing not much.

  3. From his post, he seems to be planning about a week in Chengdu hitting bookstores (Fan Suo Commune is a bookstore despite its name) plus one presentation at a University of Electronic Science and Engineering (or whatever its official English title is). To be followed by about 3 days in Beijing with a presentation at the Russian Cultural Center and an unspecified time in Shanghai with one bookstore visit scheduled.

    He asks local readers to recommend sites worth visiting, particularly in Shanghai. (He seems to be well scheduled in Chengdu and has been in Beijing before.)

    This really looks more like a standard author tour than anything really associated with the Worldcon. Maybe the con or its backers had earmarked funding for him that is now use or lose. I can’t imagine a Worldcon committee elsewhere in the world having anything further to do with an author who failed to show up, unless perhaps because of an extreme family or health emergency. Nor of a committee elsewhere that would offer no explanation of a GOH nonappearance. Lukyanenko has made similar blog inquiries about sites to visit previously, for instance when he was preparing for NYC.

  4. Did he fail to show up or was this simply arranged by both sides to avoid controversy during Worldcon.

  5. A ping of the domain gets an “unknown host” error. That says it’s not just down but no longer hosted.

    It isn’t unusual for the domains of one-shot conventions to go away unceremoniously, but it doesn’t usually happen this soon after the con.

  6. Gary McGath says It isn’t unusual for the domains of one-shot conventions to go away unceremoniously, but it doesn’t usually happen this soon after the con.

    I’ve been involved in events where the website was designed for publicity purposes only so it was indeed shut down as soon as the event was completed as it was no longer needed.

  7. Yeah, I don’t think he “failed” to show up. I think they agreed his being at the con would be a problem. Now, he’s going to Chengdu for the publisher and organizing committee who thought his being a GOH was a good idea.

  8. Sonia – If he was covertly disinvited with the promise of a makeup author tour later (a definite possibility), then in a country with as much state and Party presence as China, that would be very interesting. Not to mention that the makeup tour seems far less valuable than attending the con as GoH. So much for China and Russia’s eternal friendship. (Nor should it be forgotten that before making some bad decisions Lukyanenko really was a talented sf/f writer. In theory he may still be, for all I know; some authors have written readable sf while holding highly obnoxious moral and political views.)

  9. It isn’t unusual for the domains of one-shot conventions to go away unceremoniously, but it doesn’t usually happen this soon after the con.

    Our time binding has come unbound

  10. I don’t see how it benefitted the Worldcon for Lukyanenko to skip it to avoid controversy.

    If Lukyanenko had announced months ago that he would be unavailable to attend the Worldcon, maybe some fans in the Western countries might have seen that as a positive and chosen to go to Chengdu — but since it wasn’t known until the Worldcon began that he was absent, that wasn’t an option.

    On the other hand, there are probably some fans who attended the Worldcon who wanted to see him as GOH and either approved of Lukyanenko’s political views or at least were not deterred by those views. And they missed the opportunity to see him since he didn’t show up.

    So the Worldcon suffered the stigma of having Lukyanenko as GOH without getting any of the benefits of him actually appearing.

  11. If the Chengdu Worldcon is spending funds to sponsor his trip in December, I would be curious as to people’s opinions of the ethics of this. (Of course, given the large amounts of sponsorship money that apparently was funneled into the Chengdu Worldcon, one can argue it isn’t costing the fans/attendees/members anything.)

  12. I will be interested in seeing the financial reports from Chengdu Convention at the business meeting in Glasgow.

  13. @Linda I’m pretty sure you’d have better luck seeing the contents of the Library of Alexandria. And if, by some miracle, those do get released (the financial reports, that is, not the library contents) there is a 99% chance that the numbers in the report will have absolutely no relation to reality. They talk about Hollywood Accounting but that’s the absolute gold standard of transparent honesty compared to the miracles wrought by Communist Accounting.

  14. The people attending Worldcon already had to dance around or keep quiet about many controversial issues. Would having Lukianenko have made that much difference?

  15. Chengdu’s pre-Worldcon financial report is on the website on the rules page in the Agenda of the 2023 Business Meeting. However, the financial report only reports revenue and expenses that go through the convention’s accounts. I would be very surprised if the cost of the massive security presence (barricades surrounding the entire lake complex, police and private security, etc.) or other things like the shuttle buses appear on the convention’s books, as I would assume that some other entity paid for them.

    I’m not speaking with any insider information here; I just am speculating with the knowledge of having co-chaired a Worldcon, albeit a much smaller one — all other Worldcons are much smaller than Chengdu’s 20,000-person jamboree — in 2002. Indeed, I was so rattled at the time that we did the Worldcon Chairs Video recording, I gave my Worldcon year as 2022 instead of 2002, although I did catch myself right away and correct it.

  16. Come on, people. “Saving face”. That’s what’s happening. No one will tell you anything about whether he was disinvited, re-invited, post-invited. Nothing. He’s going to be there in Dec, and he wasn’t there in Oct. That’s all you will get.

    re: financial report. Again, there won’t be any eye-opener. The fan portions will be documented, e.g. $X to convention space, etc.

    The venue, the electricity, the security, the buses, the signs, the promotional, the MC for the Hugos, the cost to hire all the volunteers, etc. etc. will be “sponsored” funds, that’s part of corporate and government financials. We will never see them.

    There will be gray buckets, e.g. the cost to invite the guests.

  17. Richard Man: There’s a difference between understanding the strong likelihood of the outcome you predict and accepting that outcome. That’s why it’s still a news story.

    Just like we don’t know if the Hugo voting statistics will be reported. The fact that is in doubt doesn’t mean we will now treat that information as of no consequence to the Worldcon community.

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