Chengdu Worldcon Committee Names Yalow as Co-Chair; Adds Overseas Staffers

The 2023 Chengdu Worldcon committee tweeted April 24 that it has named Ben Yalow one of three co-chairs of the convention. They have also appointed Dave McCarty, Donald Eastlake III, Randall Shepherd as Vice-Chairs.

 In addition, Bill Lawhorn has become a co-division-head.

A number of other overseas fans – Colette Fozard, Nicholas Whyte, Tammy Coxen, Pablo Vazquez, and Dave McCarty – were previously announced as part of the committee in a handout distributed at the DisCon III business meeting.

Here is the committee’s latest organization chart:

CO-CHAIRS

Ben Yalow, Hongwei He, Chen Shi

HONORARY CO-CHAIR

Haijun Yao, Xiaolan Liang

VICE CHAIR

Tong Xia, Yating Wang, Yao Chen, He Huang, Feng Yang, Zhenyu Jiang, Yue Sun, Zi La, Dave McCarty, Donald Eastlake, Randall Shepherd

ADVISER

Colette Fozard, Nicholas Whyte

INTEGRATED PLANNING AND COORDINATION DIVISION

Division Head: Yating Wang, Bill Lawhorn

ARTISTIC DESIGN DIVISION

Division Head: Yue Sun

MARKETING DEVELOPMENT AND BRAND BUILDING DIVISION

Division Head: Yuxi Tan

PUBLIC RELATIONSHIP DIVISION

Division Head: Tong Xia

MEMBER SERVICES DIVISION

Division Head: Yao Chen

TRANSLATION SERVICES WORKING DIVISION

Division Head: Shuang Liang

HUGO AWARD SELECTION EXECUTIVE DIVISION

Division Head: Zhengyu Jiang, Dave McCarty

BUSINESS MEETING EXECUTIVE DIVISION

Division Head: Xue Yao

2025 CONVENTION SITE SELECTION IMPLEMENTATION DIVISION

Division Head: Chi Yao

EVENT OPERATIONS DIVISION

Division Head: Liu Yang

PUBLICITY DIVISION

Division Head: He Huang

NORTH AMERICA, EAST ASIA, EUROPE AGENT

Division Head: Feng Yang

CONVENTION SERVICE DIVISION

Division Head: TBA

Many of the overseas committee members were part of the international array of visiting writers and Worldcon runners who attended the 5th China (Chengdu) International Science Fiction Conference in 2019, including then-DisCon III co-chairs Colette Fozard and William Lawhorn, then-Chicago bid co-chair Dave McCarty, plus Ben Yalow, and Pablo M.A Vazquez who was there as a winner of the Shimmer Program’s Two-Way Exchange Fund.

Below is the handout distributed in December.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

Barkley: DisCon III Reporter’s Notebook and Observations

A gingerbread Frank Lloyd Wright Fallingwater house, originally posted by artist David Naiditch, December 8, 2020 on Facebook.

The 79th World Science Fiction Convention: My DisCon III Reporter’s Notebook and Observations

By Chris M. Barkley: Right now, a week and a few days after DisCon III began, seems like a distant dream. My partner Juli and I actually went there, participated and went home.

As dreams go, it was pretty good. At least for us. I have a few thoughts about that and other things…

Mary Robinette Kowal was right in that the World Science Fiction Convention, as an institution, was saved by the heroic efforts of the volunteers who worked tirelessly to pull it off with her as their unflagging and almost indefatigable leader. My two main takeaways are that: (A) Virtual participation in the Worldcon should become a standard operating procedure from now on, and (B) No disabled person should be subjected to any WSFS venue or facility that is not fully accessible to everyone. Juli and I saw far too many people struggling to get to panels and events. I know that DisCon III had to make do with the venue that had but I think that future Worldcon committees are on notice; THIS MUST NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!

As I was writing this passage, Mary Robinette Kowal issued this statement through on the DisCon III website: “Kowal Apologizes for Raytheon Sponsorship of DisCon III”.  

Speaking of participation, I had a whole list of panels that I wanted to report on but things did not shake out as I had planned. For that I profusely apologize. Maybe next year. (Yeah, RIGHT!)

In looking over the longlist of Hugo nominations, I was somewhat surprised to see that Baen Editor-in-Chief Toni Weisskopf qualified to be a finalist in the Best Editor – Long Form category. Ms. Weisskopf declined the nomination. And after being uninvited as a DisCon III Guest of Honor earlier this year, and who can blame her. As I have stated elsewhere, while Ms. Weisskopf and I may not see eye to eye politically I was appalled that she was removed as DisCon III’s Guest of Honor; once upon a time, she was originally chosen by the convention committee solely for her sterling editorial work at Baen Books. This wasn’t the first time the Worldcon community has let her down, but I am quite sure it will be the last time.    

Speaking of voting results, I CAN’T BELIEVE TENET CAME IN LAST PLACE! What the HELL, man?

Also disappointing; that a Worldcon took place three and a half miles away from the headquarters of National Public Radio and they did not send a single reporter to cover DisCon III. I, on the other hand, was wearing a NPR baseball cap when I (briefly) attended the historic Site Selection Meeting Sunday morning. Because I cared, even if they did not…

 Late Saturday evening and early Sunday morning, there was the now annual round of bitching from incels, racist malcontents and overall nitwits that the Hugo Awards are dominated by women, minorities and marginalized people, and that it was pretty obvious (to them) that they write “superior” sf and fantasy. 

Well, first off, the dominance of white male writers as the sole influence in the fannish and professional writing is quite over. And here’s an additional pro tip: GET OVER YOURSELVES. Your day (and night for that matter) is DONE. A majority of the people who vote for and care about the Hugo Awards have soundly rejected, repeatedly, year after year, your mostly male, mostly white, hetero-normative, sexist, racially insensitive and non-inclusive narratives. Just keep marinating yourselves in hate and bullshit, we’re getting pretty good at ignoring you.  

One such person who will not be heeding this advice is one Jon Del Arroz, whom well known fantasy and sf writer Adam-Troy Castro critically eviscerated is a Sunday morning Facebook post

Enough Said on this subject. For now.

One of the odd things about the act of observing or reporting, is that once people know you are doing either, more often than not, people change their behavior. In one such instance, my partner, Juli, had vacated her room so the hotel attendant (I REFUSE to merely call them ‘maids”) could change the linen and towels. 

While she was seated in one of the many comfy chairs located around the elevators, a man and woman approached to wait. When the man glanced over and noticed the press ribbon on her badge, he became very animated and friendly. He explained that he was an author and had a book out that he was selling at the convention. When he whipped the book out of his bag, Juli took a photo of him. Here it is:  

This also happened right after the conclusion the Hugo Awards Ceremony; while I was busy snapping pictures of the winners as they took the stage, Juli was approached by the well-known Italian sf artist and Hugo nominee Maurizio Manzieri, who took the opportunity to introduce himself and tell her all about himself and how HAPPY he was to be there. She took a photo of him as well.

In both instances, she promised to include them in my reporting. And here they are. We were happy to include you. You’re Welcome.

I’d also like to take a moment to personally thank one of DisCon III’s Advisors, Randall Shepherd. Mr. Shepherd sent me a text early last Saturday morning, asking if I had a suit. At that time, I was hard at work finishing Day 3 of these chronicles and didn’t see it until about an hour and a half before the Hugo Award Ceremonies. 

Little did I know that had I promptly answered that text, I could have been a part of the Ceremony. Mr. Shepherd was responsible for a skit that took place at the beginning and the end of the Ceremony, wherein several people, impersonating Secret Service agents, took the stage and pretended to cordon off the area as a pretend motorcade interrupted the hosts with blaring sirens and flashing lights (just as residents of the District tolerate and loathe practically every day.)  

I don’t think being in the skit would have worked out for me because one of the things I forgot to bring to DisCon III were my clip-on sunglasses. But I THANK YOU, Mr. Shepherd, for thinking of me. Maybe next year…

I, for one, missed having Daniel Dern at DisCon III. That kid could cover some ground at a con. He was sorely missed.

For anyone who cares, I weighed the gigantic Krazy Kat collection of Sunday pages purchased from Mike Walsh on a digital scale upon our arrival at home. It was 13.8 pounds…OOOFFFF! 

The one thing I think future Worldcons should do on a mandatory basis is having open receptions for the convention goers to meet the people they nominated for the Hugo Awards. I think that was a brilliant idea that every committee should consider. Period. Full Stop. 

Our cat, Nova, seemed to be glad to see us after being gone for nearly five full days. So far.

I would be remiss if I did not comment on the 2023 Worldcon being won by the Chengdu bid. For the record, I voted for the Winnipeg bid. Because Winnipeg is a lot closer than Chengdu, China.

A lot of fans were openly lamenting that the 81st World Science Fiction Convention was going to be held in what many, including myself, consider a totalitarian, one party police state. 

On the other side, the Chinese government has not only been encouraging people to read, they have been vociferously promoting the reading and writing of science fiction. Chinese fandom has grown exponentially in the past twenty years and the group that put together the Chengdu bid has been working towards this year’s Site Selection for the better part of a decade.

I would also remind people of two very salient and sobering issues; first, that a lot of fans, both here and abroad, were actively talking about boycotting DisCon III if the previous (and heinous) administration had been reelected. The other is that the United States of America came within mere minutes of becoming a one party dictatorship itself nearly a year ago. And just because that attempt failed, doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods yet.  

The fact of the matter is that Chengdu won the bid. The responsibility for holding the Worldcon is in their hands. And personally, I think they take this responsibility very seriously.

The biggest obstacle for everyone involved is whether or not the government of the People’s Republic of China will be involved with the Chengdu Worldcon. 

Because if the powers that be in Beijing decide to interfere with the programming, who may or may not attend or the administration of the Hugo Awards, I can pretty much guarantee that fandom will make sure that the first World Science Fiction Convention on Chinese soil will definitely be the last, at least in my lifetime. 

One last thing. 

While Juli and I were out and about the convention, several people stopped us and highly commended me on my frequent postings on the DisCon III Facebook page and my columns on File770.com. All of them mentioned that I should be nominated for a Fan Writing Hugo.

And I thanked them for thinking of me.

Which got me thinking when I got home. 

There was a time, when I began these columns several years ago, that I WAS doing it for the chance at a nomination. But as the years went by, I began to notice that my name has never been among the long list of nominations. And as time has passed, I became resigned to the fact that I may never be nominated, much less win a Hugo Award.

I happen to believe that File 770 is one of the largest fannish platforms on the internet. And I do believe that my writings and opinions have been heard, that people are reading me and that I have had some impact in fandom. 

But at this point in my life I am doing it for the love of writing and for the chance to be heard, not for my ego, the recognition or the glory. 

So, while I feel incredibly good that people are noticing my work, I cannot and will not either campaign for the honor or ask anyone to vote for me.

Thank you for spending some of your time with me. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Very Happy New Year to you ALL.

Progress Made Toward Resolving Issues Between Hugo Finalists and DisCon III

A Zoom meeting between several 2021 Hugo finalists and DisCon III committee representatives Gadi Evron and Randall Shepherd, facilitated by Mary Robinette Kowal, took place June 23. Evron is the Events division head responsible for the Hugo Ceremony and reception. Evron has temporarily stepped in to maintain communications until the new Hugo administration team is in place.

The meeting reportedly resulted in progress in dealing with the issues that triggered the resignation of DisCon III’s Hugo administration team and have been the focus of heated comments on social media. After the meeting, Evron emailed this message to the 2021 finalists. Among other things, it retracts the four-person limit stated in the committee’s previous message:

To our 2021 Finalists: An apology and request for communication

Dear Finalists,

I’m Gadi Evron, the head of Events, the division which is in charge of the Hugo Ceremony and Reception for DisCon III.

You may have heard that the DisCon III Hugo Administration team has resigned. I am sorry to confirm this is true. Their contributions to making the Hugo Awards a success can’t be overstated. They are amazing people, and we can only thank them for all their help. We will update you as we recruit a new team.

Last week we sent a communication to you regarding Ceremony and Reception issues. Instead of coming to you, we made a decision on our own. We should have asked for your input as we said we would. This was a mistake, and we apologize. We know this isn’t the first time, but we sincerely hope it will be the last.

As you may be aware there are serious space constraints this year, but we have decided to prioritize the attendance of the Finalists and will make space for all Finalists and their plus ones who wish to attend. There will be no four person limit.

The DisCon III ConCom will be meeting this weekend. Discussion of the communication issues with Hugo Finalists is on the agenda. We would like to include any additional concerns you have, Please respond by emailing hugofinalists@discon3.org (CC:’d) to have them added.

Following the meeting we will contact you regarding your participation and attendance. We will also invite you to meet with us so that we can discuss these issues directly. As part of this conversation, we will create a plan for better communication and collaboration moving forward.

We look forward to celebrating the Hugo Awards and honoring your work in December.

File 770 was told yesterday’s meeting was positive, but the DisCon III representatives know they have a limited time to follow up with action.

John Picacio’s Mexicanx Initiative Approaching 50 Memberships

Late in January, Worldcon 76 Artist Guest of Honor John Picacio announced he would be giving memberships in the con to two #Mexicanx professional sf/f artists or writers and two Mexicanx sf/f fans.

I’m doing this because our world needs more #Mexicanx stories, more #Mexicanx sf/f pros and fans, and more #DREAMers. To own our future, we *must* own our narratives, lest we continue to be villainized, abused, and butchered.

Two of the first four memberships were donated by John Scalzi. Since then many more contributors have stepped up, raising the number to nearly 50.

John Picacio has updated the donor list

My amazing sponsoring teammates so far are:

The submissions date has passed for requesting assistance (February 2) however,  Picacio says, “I’m still accepting Worldcon 76 Attending Membership sponsorships for Mexicanx pros and fans.”

Interested sponsors can contact him here: http://johnpicacio.com/contact.html

LoneStarCon 3 Names New Chair

Randall Shepherd announced today he is the new chair of LoneStarCon 3, the 2013 Worldcon now less than six months away.

He takes the place of original co-chairs Laura Domitz and Bill Parker who are continuing in the role of vice-chairs.

Shepherd has held various titles while serving on the LSC3 con committee — most recently vice-chair. A change of this magnitude means more than just swapping titles but the only insight Shepherd offered in his announcement was this: “As the convention heads into its final six months, a decision has been made by the ALAMO Board, in discussion with all affected parties, to streamline the organization and decision making processes.”

ALAMO is the nonprofit corporation behind LoneStarCon 3.

Shepherd’s statement ends:

For the team as a whole, our aims are unchanged. We will continue to focus on promotions to bring in more members, and on delivering an exciting convention which we can all be proud of and which showcases the best that Texas and Texas fandom has to offer, as we welcome the world to San Antonio.