It’s Spokane in 2015

Spokane will be the site of the 2015 Worldcon, reports Kevin Standlee. Helsinki led the first two runoff rounds, but when Orlando was eliminated enough of its voters shifted to Spokane to give it a final margin of 645 votes to Helsinki’s 610.

The results will be made official at the Sunday Business Meeting, at which time Spokane will reveal its guests and other details.

Finnish Lines

The Helsinski in 2015 bid has released a second YouTube video of Eemeli Aro’s daughter Lumi and son Papu teaching viewers the way to drop science fictional references into their Finnish conversations.

Here is the new installment —

Here is Part I, posted a couple months ago —

Winter Worldcon Is Coming

George R. R. Martin is certainly not the only pro endorsing the Helsinki in 2015 Worldcon bid. What I didn’t realize is he had a role as a power behind the throne.

George gave the bid this last-minute boost  on his Not A Blog:

Even more than the charms of the city, however, it was the competence and experience of the committee that impressed me.  We have had too many badly-run worldcons in recent years (need I mention Montreal, anyone?).   The Finncon we attended was huge, drawing something like 30,000 people to Helsinki as I recall.  That’s six times as large as any worldcon since the 80s, yet the con ran smoothly start to finish, and everyone seemed to have a great time.  I have no doubt that a Helsinki worldcon would be well run as well… and I know the Finnish fans would love to show your their city, their castles, the herds of reindeer wandering the streets.   Oh, there’s vodka too.  And saunas.  Did I mention the saunas?

…Me, I’ll be voting for Helsinki… to put the “world” back in worldcon.

I didn’t know the “world” was out of Worldcon, since in an eight-year period it will have been hosted in Japan, Canada, Australia and the UK as well as four American cities. Of course, there’s really nothing to prevent it from being held outside the U.S. every year.

George R. R. Martin was a guest of Finncon in 2009. Cheryl Morgan said afterwards in her convention report

I understand that George and Parris have been trying to persuade the Finns to bid for a Worldcon. That shows how much confidence they have in Finnish con-running skills. However, I still don’t think they have the facilities. There is only one major hotel close to the Kaapelitehdas, and while Helsinki’s public transit is very good a Worldcon audience is unlikely to be happy commuting. Also they really need a space that will hold 1,500 – 2,000 people (assuming 3,000 – 4,000 attendees, and they could get a lot more if the Russians decide to come en masse), and I don’t think the Kaapelitehdas can do that without cramping the rest of the space. Worldcon members tend to want to be entertained all day, whereas the anime kids are happy to spend much of the day hanging out and photographing each other so they need less program space.

Helsinki, then, is not really on as a Worldcon venue unless the convention shrinks significantly, or its membership gets a lot less fussy about how far they have to walk.

It’s eye-opening to be reminded what Cheryl thought about Helsinki as a Worldcon venue before she became one of its most ardent boosters.

However, the facilities that Helsinki has been advertising ought to be able to cope with the level of attendance Cheryl estimated in 2009 because when the Worldcon is anywhere outside the U.S. but the UK it tends to shrink into a boutique convention. A Helsinki Worldcon is unlikely to morph into Finncon because (1) Finncons have no membership fees, being funded primarily by cultural grants, and (2) the huge Finncons also included Animecon, which has boosted their attendance and public visibility significantly.

Worldcon, NASFiC Bids
Quizzed at Westercon

The Helsinki, Orlando and Spokane bids for the 2015 Worldcon, the KC in 2016 Worldcon bid, and the two 2014 NASFiC bids made presentations and fielded questions at a Fannish Inquisition during Westercon 66. Kevin Standlee performed the introductions. Lisa Hayes shot video of all the segments and they are available both here and on YouTube.


Worldcon, NASFiC Bidder FAQs Posted

LoneStarCon 3 has posted the responses of all 2014 NASFiC and 2015 Worldcon Site Selection bidders to a standard set of Fannish Inquisition type questions here.

Or you can go directly to the PDF documents.

2015 Worldcon Bidder FAQs

2014 NASFiC Bidder FAQs

Cheryl Morgan’s Helsinki Tour

Cheryl Morgan has produced a good series of short videos exploring Helsinki and the 2015 bid’s proposed facilities. I’ve embedded one below (chosen for no better reason than I like the pub’s colorful display of bottles.)

This is the third set of Helsinki videos I’ve reported. It’s interesting to watch the changing dynamic. Most voters started out with little idea what to expect from a trip to Helsinki, while North Americans, at least, already had a notion of what they’d find in Orlando (Disneyworld) or even Spokane. The Helsinki committee not only has narrowed the information gap, it has communicated a playful spirit and a strong sense of humor in the process. And today, I saw a fan calling on the other two committees to shoot their own videos. What Helsinki bidders did from necessity has actually raised the bar for the competition.

Cheryl’s YouTube page has all her Helsinki exploits plus videos of other adventures, and writer interviews.

Crystal Huff’s Helsinki

Crystal Huff went to Finland for Acon and used the opportunity to shoot brief interviews for a video promoting the Helsinki in 2015 Worldcon bid called “Meet the Conrunners of Finland.”

I found the first segment hard to follow, perhaps because it was recorded in front of a glass wall that distorted the acoustics, but the others came out okay.

Flying Finnish

Cheryl Morgan is on her way to Å-con 6 at the Hotel Adlon, Mariehamn, Åland, Finland, which will be happening May 9-12.

Cheryl is taking advantage of her routing through Helsinski to scout the city’s proposed Worldcon facilities, a timely opportunity with 2015 Worldcon Site Selection voting just opened:

[While] I am here I intend to make use of my time looking for things that prospective Worldcon attendees might be interested in. After all, there may be some of you who haven’t yet made up your minds to vote for Helsinki in 2015. If there are any specific questions that people have, please ask them in comments below. I’ll be visiting the convention site on Monday when we have got back from Åcon so I’ll have time to look around, shoot some video, and ask questions.

This reminded me of Jane’s Fighting Smofs and the visits Scott & Jane Dennis made to potential Worldcon sites years ago.

In case you’re wondering, Mariehamn is 325 km away from Helsinki by road on Finland’s west coast. Here’s what this charming minicon has to say about itself —

– all of the programming in English
– a small, fannish, literary, cross-cultural relaxacon
– membership cap at about 100 members
– a gathering of fans mainly from Finland and Sweden
– the most fun you can have in a DMZ (at least until Wårldcon)
– Åcon is pronounced awe-con, (it really is that åsome!)

2015 Worldcon Site Selection Voting Opens

LoneStarCon 3 is now accepting votes for the sites of the 2015 Worldcon and the 2014 North American Science Fiction Convention (“NASFiC”).

2015 Worldcon:

  • Helsinki, Finland. The bidders propose to hold the con August 6-10, 2015 at the Helsinki Exhibition and Conference Centre and the Holiday Inn Helsinki Exhibition & Convention Centre. Learn more at
  • Orlando, Florida. The bidders would hold the con from September 2-6, 2015, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort and Convention Center. Learn more at
  • Spokane, Washington. The bidders want to hold the con from August 19-23, 2015, using the Spokane Convention Center, the Doubletree Spokane, the Red Lion at the Park, and Red Lion River Inn. Learn more at

2014 NASFiC

The NASFiC is held in any year when the Worldcon is hosted outside North America, as it will be next year in London. The NASFiC bids are:

  • Detroit, Michigan. The convention would be held from July 17- 20, 2014, at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center. Learn more at   .
  • Phoenix, Arizona. The convention would be held July 30-August 3, 2014, at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel and Conference Center. Learn more at

For voting details see

The full press release follows the jump.

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Alternative Facilities for Helsinki in 2015 Bid

Do they celebrate April Fool’s Day in Finland? Eemeli Aro made sure they did this year.

The Helsinki in 2015 Worldcon bid wants to host the con in the Helsinki Exhibition and Conference Centre. But what if things don’t work out? The bid has lots of alternatives, shown in three short YouTube videos.

Laakson Ratsastusstadion, an outdoor event center.

“Plan B”, grandma’s apartment.

Helsinki City Transport, using public spaces around the city. (I especially like their idea of forcing Smofs hold the Business Meeting on the snow-covered, stone steps of whatever official building that is).

Says Aro, “Today seemed like a good day to make this public.”

Watch the videos and you’ll know why everyone hopes they’re allowed to use the Exhibition Centre. Jukka Halme and Eemeli Aro explore its nooks and crannies in another series of five YouTube videos posted here.