Never Mind The News – File 770’s Best Feature Articles of 2021

Was the year too heavy, deep, and real? Yes, but it was also rich in creativity, humor, and shared adventures. It’s a gift and privilege for me to be continually allowed to publish so many entertaining posts. Thanks to all of you who contributed!

FEATURES

David DoeringMost Remote SF Bookstore in the World?

Meet “Book Island” in the town of Saint Denis on Reunion Island—a small speck in the vast Indian Ocean

Pierre E. Pettinger, Jr.Never Too Late To Start: Guest Post by Pierre E. Pettinger Jr.

… Like many fans, I had tried my hand with writing, especially as a teenager. I wrote notes, drew weird aliens, and even wrote a novel which will never see the light of day. But during all this I did noodle, consistently, with several recurring characters and a story line. It shifted and changed, of course, as I matured and different interests came into my life, and eventually they just settled in the back of my mind.

John HertzAt the Height of His –

… Once when [Tim] Powers was being interviewed at an SF convention someone asked “Do you actually believe in this stuff?”  He said “No.  But my characters do.”  As Gordon Bennett wrote, and Frank Sinatra sang, “This is all I ask, this is all I need.”

JJ2020 Novellapalooza

… I’m a huge reader of novels, but not that big on short fiction. But the last few years, I’ve done a personal project to read and review as many Novellas as I could (presuming that the story Synopsis had some appeal for me). …

Patty WellsLearn About SAFF, the Space Agency Fan Fund

… The mission of SAFF is to keep the factual progress of space exploration out there for our community and to help individual Worldcons and other conventions in dealing with the arrangements and funding of space experts as special guests. 

JJWhere To Find The 2020 Nebula Finalists For Free Online

To help propel you into your awards season reading, here are links to excerpts or complete works from the 2020 Nebula Award finalists.

John HertzGood Names for Bad Guys

 During 1937-1956 a radio program called “The Answer Man” was broadcast over the Mutual Broadcasting System….  

Wolf von WittingInexplicable Phenomena and How To Approach Them

… Another solved mystery was that of the vanishing pancake. A friend of mine, by profession police officer, was standing at his stove, frying pancakes. As we both did with pancakes, we flipped them around in the air. So did my friend on this day.

His mystery was that the pancake never came back down. It vanished. There was no trace of it….

A Multitude of FilersOpening Lines Rewritten for a Pandemic — By Filers

Eli Grober’s “Opening Lines Rewritten for a Pandemic” in The New Yorker humorously changes the beginnings of famous books to suit life as we knew it in the plague year of 2020…. Filers answered the challenge to add to the list. Here is a collection from yesterday’s comments….

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

The Man in Black fled across the desert, and the Gunslinger followed, being careful to maintain a distance of at least six feet.

–Nina Shepardson

Brendan DuBoisIn Happy Pursuit of Jeopardy!

… It was the Jeopardy! gameshow display screen one saw all the time on television, in real life, just yards away, here inside the cool Sony studios.   Six rows across with the categories, columns of five numbers under each.  To the right of the large display was Alex Trebek’s podium, and nearby were the three contestant stations. 

There were sixteen of us here, and before the end of the day, all of us but one would have our thirty minutes of fame — or infamy — in this very special place.

But how did I get here?

John HertzAnother Well-Titled Book

Glorious, the Greg Benford – Larry Niven novel appearing last year, is one of the more ambitious SF stories.  

Rich LynchRocket Boy

… The model took off and rose straight up for maybe 100 feet or so before the second stage kicked in, but then there was trouble.  Instead of continuing its upward flight, the thing veered to the right and zoomed away horizontally, slightly descending all the while.  It went directly over a house across the street and continued on, neatly bisecting the span between two tall trees behind the house.  And then it was gone from sight.  I remember that my uncle gave me a quizzical look and asked, “Was it supposed to do that?”…

IphinomeFour Reviews by Iphinome

Reading. That’s what I do, I read and I snark things.

IphinomeIphinome Reviews Novik’s A Deadly Education

El (Galadriel) is pissed off. Her classmate Orion just rescued her for the second time –needlessly. She’s capable, more than capable, El’s powerful – El, power, get it? Get it?…

Lyrics by Aydrea Walden and Jocelyn Scofield“All Because of You” Lyrics from the Nebula Awards Ceremony

But then I had a spark, a realization
While floating here all by myself
I’m actually in the best of company
Because you’re on my shelf

Mark L. BlackmanDeath and Doom (and Cats) at the KGB Bar with Seanan McGuire and Nadia Bulkin

On the evening of Wednesday, June 16, 2021, the Fantastic Fiction at KGB Reading Series, hosted by Ellen Datlow and Matthew Kressel, presented authors Seanan McGuire and Nadia Bulkin in livestreamed readings on YouTube. (Neither reader is running for Mayor of New York.)

This is the 16th month of virtual readings, in place of in-person reading at the eponymous bar in the East Village in Manhattan, noted Kressel. New York City may be “open,” added Datlow, but they don’t yet feel comfortable “going into the crowd” at the Bar for at least a few more months….

Mike GlyerSmell Like A Superhero

Is there a science fiction movie character you want to smell like? Forget Swamp Thing, c’mon, he’s not in Fragrance X’s catalog. Otherwise, there’s no end of superhero and genre branded colognes you can buy.

Sara FelixWhy I Work on Worldcon: Guest Post by Sara Felix

There was a post a while ago on twitter that asked, “So what motivates y’all to continue entering bids to host Worldcons? Genuinely curious.”

And I responded with, ”I think there are some great bids out there like Glasgow 2024 that you can genuinely tell they are enthusiastic and want to put on a good show.  Working on Dublin was like that for me as well.  I am not saying they are perfect but the excitement is really important.”

But that is just the tip of the iceberg of what I wanted to say…

Cat EldridgeLeague of Extraordinary Gentlemen Film Anniversary: Celebrate or Not?

… Now back to Connery. The film would leave him with such a bad experience that claimed he the production of the film and the film’s final quality was what he caused his decision to permanently retire from filmmaking, saying in an interview with The Times that, “It was a nightmare. The experience had a great influence on me, it made me think about showbiz. I get fed up dealing with idiots.”

Martin Morse WoosterSpace Jam: A New Legacy – A Review

Space Jam:  A New Legacy is a fun-free synthetic entertainment substitute.  Its many writers (six are credited) created a screenplay from artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, and gas….  

Mark L. BlackmanTwo Too-Near Futures from Kim Stanley Robinson and Nancy Kress

… Datlow asked Robinson, “How can you be so optimistic?” He replied that his mother was; she felt that it was our duty to be optimistic and to help people….

Mike GlyerLe Guin Stamp Issued Today

The Ursula K. Le Guin commemorative Forever stamp was officially unveiled today during a ceremony at the Portland (OR) Art Museum.

Steve VertliebCelebrating The Wonderful Nehemiah Persoff At 102

… I began to wonder whatever became of this marvelous actor and so, before retiring for the evening, I started to research Mr. Persoff’s whereabouts on my computer. As luck would have it, I found him and wrote him a rather hasty letter of personal and lifelong admiration. To my shock and utter astonishment, he responded within five minutes….

Melanie StormmEmails From Lake Woe-Is-Me: Links To Every Installment

Stormm began her humorous series about the misdirected emails she gets from Writer X in August and has done 17 regular and two bonus installments. It swirls together comedy, horror, and the pitfalls of being a writer.

Robin A. ReidWriting Against the Grain: T. Kingfisher’s Feminist Mythopoeic Fantasy

The purpose of this presentation is to place Tolkien’s theory of mythopoeic fiction in dialogue with fantasy series by T. Kingfisher in order to argue that her work is feminist and mythopoeic. While there are a number of elements of Kingfisher’s fiction that are relevant to my purpose, I’ll be focusing on two: her version of Faërie and system of magic, and her portrayal of female characters whose relationships are with failed warrior heroes….

Brian Z.A Modest Proposal for the Very Retro Hugo for Genre-Related Work

The talk of time capsules and 1000-year M-discs in the Pixel Scroll 8/12/21 discussion of item (16), the Louis XIII Cognac 100-year sci-fi film vault, got me thinking that Worldcon should do Hugos for Best Genre-related Work Created 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 and 40,000 years ago….

Sultana RazaHergé’s Multi-Layered Worlds

… Considered to be a genius by many, not only was Hergé skilled at drawing, he was also good at fascinating his readers with mysteries, and intriguing situations. For example, why was Prof. Calculus going into the heart of a volcano, following the agitated movements of his pendulum, instead of running away, like all the others? Perhaps he was so oblivious to his real surroundings, and was so desperate to find the cause of the wild swinging of his pendulum for the sake of science, that inadvertently, he was willing to risk his very life. Or was he running away from mundane reality? And why did Tintin rush back to save his friend from going deeper in the maze of the mountain? Possibly because that was Tintin’s nature, to rescue not just the innocent people of the world, but it also showed his deep friendship with the absent-minded professor….

Robert RepinoConsequences as an Engine of Storytelling: A Guest Post by Robert Repino

…After watching [John Wick: Chapter 3], my friends and I got some drinks at a nearby bar. There, I found myself repeating a single word from the movie: “Consequences.” Wick utters this word whenever one of the characters points out that his past may have finally caught up with him. Since I like to drive jokes into the ground, I began to say “Consequences” in response to everything that night, in a poor imitation of Wick’s scratchy voice. Why did we need to buy another round? “Consequences.” Why should someone else pick up the tab? “Consequences.” And maybe I should call out sick tomorrow? “Consequences.”…

Mike GlyerHallmark Rolls Out 2021 Ornaments

Right after the Fourth of July might not be when I shop for Christmas ornaments, but somebody does, because that’s when Hallmark runs its Keepsake Ornament Premiere.

If the timing is for the convenience of retailers, there is also a certain logic in picking a spot on the calendar that is as far away as you can get from a date associated with Christmas trees. It’s plain some of these ornaments are intended for a Halloween or Thanksgiving tree, while others probably are destined never to decorate a tree at all but to remain pristine in their original wrapping on collectors’ shelves….

Craig MillerPreview of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

In, I believe, 1927, the Academy of Motion Pictures was founded.

In 1929, they decided there should be a museum of motion picture history and memorabilia.

In three days, a little shy of a hundred years later, the Academy Museum will open to the public….

Martin Morse WoosterReview: Museum of the Bible

Continuing my reports on museums that might be of interest to Filers coming to Washington for DisCon III, I offer a report on the Museum of the Bible, which I visited recently.  (I had a Groupon!)…

Glenn HaumanOh, The Place We Boldly Stop.

The Dr. Seuss Enterprises lawsuit against us is finally over….

Esther MacCallum-StewartCOP26 and Glasgow in 2024

… COP26 has produced an enormous impact on Glasgow….

Sultana RazaFan or Spy?

… I couldn’t help thinking of the passage from The Lord of the Rings, where the Crebain go searching for the Fellowship. In fact, there are many birds as spies in fantasy fiction, such as the Three-Eyed Raven, the, One-eyed Crow, or Varamyr Sixskins warging into an eagle in A Song of Ice and Fire, to mention a few…. 

Mike GlyerShould the Best Series Hugo Category Be Kept?

The Best Series Hugo category was added to the WSFS Constitution in 2017 with a sunset clause requiring a future re-ratification vote to remain part of the Worldcon Constitution. That vote happens next week at the DisCon III Business Meeting. If you were there, would you vote yes or no on keeping the category?

Shana WorthenTwas the Night Before DisCon III

Then down the long hall there arose so much chat,
that I sprang from my chair to see what was that?
Through archways, past plant pots, I slipped through the throng
as the loud murmuration came strolling along.

Colin HarrisThe World in Worldcon

… In reality, China is a huge country with a vast population and an expanding middle class; an enormous SF field and well established fandom. Chengdu is an established international convention site as well as a centre for science and technology.

I rather suspect that from the Chengdu bid’s viewpoint, the US-centric history of Worldcon is at odds with the very name of the event and its claim to be the leading global celebration of the genre. I do not need to believe there is anything suspicious about the bid, because it only needs a tiny percentage of Chinese fans to get behind it to make it a success….

Sultana Raza (and others)International Interactions with Tolkien – A Roundtable

Though Tolkien’s novels were very successful in the last century, after the Peter Jackson trilogy in the early 2000s, their reach increased to encompass the globe. Irrespective of geographical or linguistic differences, they spoke to us in different ways. In an informal Discussion Group at Oxonmoot 2021, (held online), participants were welcome to share their thoughts/reactions/ take on various aspects of Tolkien’s works, mainly his Legendarium….

Mike GlyerThe Twenty Percent Solution: A Self-Published Science Fiction Competition Judge’s Upvotes

… Based on reading 20% of Team File 770’s assigned books, I found there are actually 12 I’d say yes to – so I am going to need to cut two more before I finalize this list….

TRIGGER SNOWFLAKE

The saga of Sheriff Trigger Snowflake, the lovely Coraline, and the shenanigans of the Solarian Poets Society added several chapters this year that were not so much ripped-from-the-headlines as amused by the news.

Ingvar Trigger Snowflake and the Election

… Trigger put his cup down, as he saw Coraline wave a paper in the air.

“Trigger!” she said, “Look at this! Look who’s standing for president!”

IngvarTrigger Snowflake and the Dessert

A few days later, down at the Coffee Emporium, Trigger was having breakfast. A nice cup of Bean of the Day and a grilled synthecheese. As he finished the last bite of the synthecheese, Barbara Dimatis walked up to his table.

“Sheriff Snowflake, may I sit?”

“Why, sure, Ms Dimatis. What troubles you?”

“You’ve heard of Bistro Futuristo? Well, turns out that the editor and owner of Futuristo Magazine has made an announcement.”…

Ingvar Trigger Snowflake and the Grand Reopening

“Sheriff! Sheriff! Have you heard?”

“No, Ms Dimatis, I don’t believe I have?”

“The Bistro has re-opened!”

“Bistro Futuristo?”

INTERVIEWS

Brandon Sanderson WFC 2020 Interview Highlights – Conducted by David Doering

Far Sector Round Table with N.K. Jemisin – Conducted by James Bacon and others

CHRIS BARKLEY

ConStellation Hat. Photo by Craig Glassner/Pinterest/Hat of the Day

… Needless to say, I have witnessed or participated in a number of remarkable, bizarre and historic incidents during my tenure working at Worldcons. I not only know how the sausage was made, I helped make it as well….

… Before I reveal my BDP Hugo Nomination Ballot choices, let’s contemplate these ten outstanding films from 2020…

So forget about what the naysayers are saying; Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a big, exciting, sprawling, violent, intense, profane, beautiful and ultimately moving film.

DECLASSIFIED! Seven Secret and Untold Stories From the Worldcon Press Office

CONVENTION REPORTS

Commemorative button.

CHRIS BARKLEY’S DISCON III REPORTS

Ride along with Chris at this year’s Worldcon, everywhere from major events to favorite restaurants.

JAMES BACON

In addition to reviewing comics and graphic novels, James used his camera and descriptive abilities to take us along on visits to all kinds of fascinating exhibits and pop culture events.

CATS SLEEP ON SFF

OBITUARIES

[date of publication]

Learn About SAFF, the Space Agency Fan Fund

Astronaut Jeanette Epps (seated) and unidentified fan flashing the “Live long and prosper” handsign.

By Patty Wells: While searching out some photo permissions from a group of Thermians (long story, but know that Thermians are very helpful), Mike saw info about the Space Agency Fan Fund (SAFF) fly by on FB and asked about this non-profit. Since we are always happy to have a chance to reach out to a wider audience, let us tell you more!

The mission of SAFF is to keep the factual progress of space exploration out there for our community and to help individual Worldcons and other conventions in dealing with the arrangements and funding of space experts as special guests. For more specific information you can contact us via the website: The Space Agency Fan Fund – Bringing astronauts to WorldCons since 2015.

Multiple Worldcons have arranged for astronauts to appear as special guests with notable success. However, as much as fans and pros enjoyed and learned from space professionals, it depended on the relationships and initiative of individual conventions.  Sadly this did not happen every year.  Some con runners saw a need and focus on creating a new fan fund for promoting space-related guests.

Sasquan, the 73rd Worldcon in Spokane, WA, had Kjell Lindgren appear online from space, which was wildly popular. After Sasquan, convention organizers had the vision that funding a fan organization to facilitate astronaut and other space agency personal appearances at future conventions (including Worldcons) was a great idea. The Space Agency Fan Fund was born out of this and was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Space enthusiasts and those with NASA contacts were sought out to act as a board of directors for this fledgling fund. 

Since Sasquan in 2015, we have reached out to large conventions such as Worldcons and made the arrangements for and funded several astronaut appearances. For MidAmeriCon II, the 74th Worldcon, in 2016 NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps and Stan Love appeared. Both were SAFF funded, both participated in the Hugo ceremony, with Stan accepting the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer on behalf of Andy Weir. Jeanette accepted on behalf of The Martian for Best Dramatic Presentation, an outstanding mix of real and fictional space travel, and gave a great speech about how the film did a such a good job of portraying the teamwork between astronauts in the “field” and mission control solving problems. It is also worth noting that Jeanette carries her own sonic screwdriver (should it be needed) and delighted the children with it during one of her program items.

 In 2017, SAFF funded  Kjell Lindgren to appear in person at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, Finland and also for Worldcon 76 in San Jose, CA. 

Jeanette Epps appeared again in Dublin, Ireland, at Worldcon 77. Then, of course, the world became very different, very suddenly. However, an astronaut appearance is in the works for DC in 2021, and the first steps have been taken to discuss an SAFF funded appearance for 2022. At each Worldcon, there will be a chance to take advantage of SAFF support in providing NASA astronauts and others as guests and participants.

Sponsor a Bench at MidAmeriCon II

MidAmeriCon II’s Patty Wells and Melissa Morman are looking for help furnishing the exhibit hall at this year’s Worldcon in Kansas City. Here’s their pitch:

One of the advantages of being favored with five acres of exhibit hall is that we have the room to make our dreams come true. One of our dreams is to put a river through it — so we have also gone and put a park alongside that for good measure. And what is a park, or a river, without park benches to sit on and admire the view or converse with a friend?

At the Worldcon in London a couple of years ago, the convention scattered benches throughout the Fan Village and other parts of the Exhibit Hall, and asked fan groups to sponsor a bench with a plaque commemorating their group, their bid, or a member of their group on it. This idea was well-received by the fannish community and much fun. M2 is continuing this tradition (it’s been done once, so it’s now a tradition, right?).

We are therefore offering you and your group the opportunity to get your message out, publicize your group, or memorialize a lost friend. The benches we are ordering for the fan fair are a lovely metal bench in a design sure to add to your local con should you take the option of taking the bench home after the con.

There are multiple ways you can participate:

OPTION 1 — Sponsor a Plaque ($150)

Send us your group’s name and/or message and we will have it engraved on a plaque that will then be attached to one of the park benches (see above). If, like many of us, you are traveling to KC from distant lands, the plaques will be removable for you to take home as a memento for the group or person you honored. We will have the plaque made with your message. The plaques will take two lines of text, with roughly 20-25 characters per line.

OPTION 2 — Sponsor a Bench! ($200)

This gets your group’s message on a plaque AND you can take the bench with you when the convention is over as a comfortable addition to your next fannish event. And if you are taking the bench home, arriving during Exhibit Hall set up and decorating your bench in some fannish fashion to make it more memorable is encouraged.

OPTION 3 — Sponsor a Bench AND a Park ($500)

Want more exposure for your group? Sponsor a pocket park along the river! Surround your bench with flora and maybe even some fauna; make it distinctive! M2 will name the park after your group and place an acknowledgement sign in the park which may also contain a custom message (“Come to your party on Friday night!”, “Vote for Trantor in ‘99”, or even “Ygnvie is a Louse!”). With this option, you may again take the bench home with you (along with its plaque!) as well as the acknowledgement sign.

If your sponsor dollars are received early, your sponsorship can be acknowledged in the convention’s pocket program.

For more information, please send an email to:

mmorman@earthnet.net or contact Melissa Morman on FB.

Thank you for your consideration. The more we personalize something as large as a Worldcon exhibit hall, the more fannish the Worldcon is.

Psychological Distance

The day after Aussiecon 4 ended, Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon, issued a press release drawing attention to the “changing of the guard.”

“With four of the last six Worldcons held outside the U.S., it’s great to bring Worldcon to Reno for the first time,” said Patty Wells, Renovation’s chair. “We hope to welcome back many fans who may have missed the last couple of conventions as well as reach out to new fans who have never been to Worldcon.”

I hadn’t thought that 2009’s “outside the U.S.” Worldcon was really that far away, Montreal being a mere 331 miles from the center of the publishing universe in New York. But when I said so several fans answered that the requirement of crossing the U.S. border was a more important deterrent than the trivial distance involved. (We had this discussion before Peter Watts’ border experience — I wouldn’t have to be convinced now.)

How many fans will feel that a Worldcon held in Reno is psychologically less far away than the geographically-nearer Worldcon in Montreal?

The full press release follows the jump.

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Renovation Mails First Progress Report

The 2011 Worldon’s Progress Report #1 was mailed this week. But if you’re the kind of fan who can’t wait for a paper copy to come in the mail, you can read a PDF copy online right now. (Same applies if you aren’t even expecting a copy in the mail because you’re coincidentally not a member. Oops, I blabbed.)

I recommend Patty Wells’ “Chair’s Message,” which hits a real grace note.

The full press release follows the jump.

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Levine’s “Homebrew Gravitics” at Reno in 2011

Award-winning writer David Levine’s short story “At the Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting of Uncle Teco’s Homebrew Gravitics Club” has been posted on the Reno in 2011 bid website, giving everyone a new reason to visit. Patty Wells announced online:

We have been using articles, and now a story, in our New Frontiers section to help push our thinking on what are the new frontiers, but also to add in some of the content we always wished would show up on websites. A story by David Levine always falls into this category, as do the other material we’ve run, and we thank our contributors.

It’s Reno in 2011

I’m overdue to post about Seattle pulling out of the race for the 2011 Worldcon. They didn’t have the required facilities committed by the February 6 filing deadline. Only Reno put in an official bid, so when the votes are counted in August Patty Wells’ crew should receive most of them.

Fans in Los Angeles know from hard-earned experience there’s nothing pleasant about losing a Worldcon bid, with a record of six defeats in ten campaigns over the past 50 years. Yet I am sure it’s even more painful and frustrating to pour out years of effort and thousands of dollars and be forced out short of the final vote – a thing Seattle fans have endured twice in the last 11 years.

Seattle’s bid for 2002 collapsed in 1998 when Starwood hotel management declined to commit any of their facilities, so it became impossible to meet the hotel and convention center reservations requirements set by the World Science Fiction Society. Now, a fatal inability to secure necessary facilities has overtaken Seattle’s bid for 2011. Seattle Chair Bobbie DuFault told readers:

This is due to an unforeseen event and our inability to reach a formal first option agreement with our preferred facilities. We had initial options on facilities, but when it came time to reduce them to formal writing, we found that our preferred facilities had groups willing to make the financial commitment ahead of us. Seattle is such a popular destination for conventions that all of the reasonable dates (early August through early September) already have groups that have firmer commitments than we do.

Cheryl Morgan observed, “The Seattle folks were obviously trying right up until the last minute to find a deal that would rescue their bid.”

That’s possible, though I suspect hope genuinely slipped away months earlier – not based on any inside knowledge, but on the indefinite nature of the answers given me about facilities when I asked about them in June 2008, right after Reno announced. For some of the most respected Worldcon runners to launch a bid for 2011 at that time seemed an implicit criticism of a political weakness in the Seattle bid that I wanted to understand. Seattle’s facilities and committee were two obvious areas to probe.

A Seattle bidder, on background, emphatically assured me they had commitments from many hotels to block rooms for the traditional Labor Day weekend — yet, at the same time said their bid was negotiating to move earlier in the month. In my mind, that begged the question: Why would a committee risk existing facilities arrangements and abandon the weekend promised by its campaign publicity – unless it already had a compelling need to do so?

No committee makes a binding financial commitment to a hotel or convention center before it is voted the rights to the Worldcon. That’s why Worldcon bids are always vulnerable to the possibility of losing their intended facilities to another group able to immediately sign a contract.

Seattle was already trying to shift dates in June 2008. In the end, they were unable to get acceptable facilities on a workable date. One can only guess how long the bidders spent grappling with this crisis behind the scenes.

Lead Time: Most analysts of Seattle’s predicament dwell on the facilities problem, the reason given by the bidders, becase it fuels a perpetual debate about how much lead time should be built into the site selection process.

Tom Veal reminded Stromata blog readers:

In 1986, the site selection lead time was changed from two to three years, largely in hopes of mitigating this problem. It didn’t work very well, as the subsequent travails of the D.C. in 1992 bid (withdrawn after another group preempted their main hotel), Baltimore in 1998 (forced to change its date) and San Francisco in 2002 (exiled to San José) illustrate. Now we are back to a two-year cycle, and nothing has changed.

Just the same, there’s been a lingering sense that Seattle’s best chances expired awhile ago. The fans at the Las Vegas Westercon I questioned about the 2011 race (none of them part of either committee) felt Reno had all the momentum, and that has never changed.

Lead time isn’t an isolated factor, but must be balanced against the requirement to keep a volunteer committee together and motivated for years of bidding and years of preparation after they win the Worldcon.

Selecting Worldcons three years in advance did not keep bidders from losing dates and facilities. The shorter two-year cycle, however, reduces the stress and punishment inflicted on bidders – which may encourage more fans to get involved or, at least, make the experience more tolerable for veteran conrunners.

Go North, Young Fan: I’m sorry Seattle is such a tough market for a 5,000-person Worldcon. Nor is the irony lost on me that in just a few weeks Corflu members (meeting in the University District, not downtown) will be enjoying everything that Seattle in 2011 has talked up, especially the Science Fiction Museum. Maybe you can’t pass a camel through the eye of a space needle, but Corflu Zed will slip through, and room to spare.

Reno Wants the 2011 Worldcon, Too

Patty Wells has declared a bid to hold the 2011 Worldcon in Reno, Nevada.

Other committee members listed on the newly-unveiled website are: Aaron Curtis, Vincent Docherty, Don Glover, Mark Herrup, Rick Lindsley, Tammy Lindsley, John Lorentz, Jim Mann, Laurie Mann, Ruth Sachter, Larry Sanderson, Heidi Schaub, Joe Siclari, Edie Stern, Ian Stockdale, Geri Sullivan, Marc Wells and Ben Yalow. Proposed dates are August 17-21, 2011.

Patty and several other members of the bid have hosted regional conventions in their hometown, Portland, however, running a Worldcon there isn’t an option. “Portland doesn’t have the bedrooms, but I found a place that had such good, friendly facilities and is so pretty that I almost feel disloyal to Portland for liking Reno so much,” she wrote on the Smofs list. “For those of you who’ve worked with me on worldcons before, I hope you remember the experience as a positive one, and consider the experience of me and my committee, as well as the advantages of Reno as a site, when you vote next year.”

With site selection voting for 2011 a little over a year away, this would be what Ben Yalow calls a “sprint bid,” against a Seattle in 2011 committee that announced in 2006 and began actively campaigning at Nippon 2007. Seattle’s meeting facility would be the Washington State Convention and Trade Center located in Downtown Seattle. They would hold the con in August, too, according to a bid flyer, but I have never seen a specific date proposed.

Reno in 2011’s complete press release is behind the cut.

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