The organizing entity is World Fantasy Convention 2023, a Kansas not-for-profit incorporated earlier this year by Ruth Lichtwardt and Rosemary Williams. Lichtwardt’s experience includes chairing the 2016 Worldcon in Kansas City, and Williams is a conrunner and published author.
The WFC 2023 Guests of Honor are:
Kij Johnson writes fantasy and science fiction including the novels The Fox Woman and Fudoki; the short story collection, At the Mouth of the River of Bees; the novella, The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe; and more than fifty stories. She’s won the Hugo, World Fantasy, Nebula, and Sturgeon Awards, as well as the Grand prix de l’imaginaire and others. She’s worked in publishing, comics, games and miscellaneous tech companies; currently she teaches creative writing at the University of Kansas, where she was associate director for the J. Wayne and Elsie M. Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction and currently serves in the same capacity for The Ad Astra Center. She teaches novel masterclasses and short fiction workshops online and in person. She lives in Kansas.
Vincent Villafranca has been sculpting since childhood. In 1991, while working on a degree in history, he took an elective art course and was introduced to bronze-casting. Vincent instantly became fascinated with the idea of preserving his small sculptures in metal. After graduating, he worked in a bronze foundry just outside of Austin, Texas where he further developed his sculpting, mold-making and bronze-casting skills. He continues to make a wide array of sculptures, from tiny, intricate dragons to large-scale futuristic robots. Vincent is a lifelong fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy, thus, he was quite honored to design the World Fantasy Award, the 2013 Hugo Award and the Ray Bradbury Nebula Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation. He lives in north Texas with his ecologist wife and an assortment of animals.
Elizabeth Leggett is a two time fan artist Hugo winner, gold award winner in the digital category in Infected By Art 10 and bronze winner overall. She is a gallery artist, and science fiction and fantasy novel cover designer. Her clients include KEEP Contemporary gallery in Santa Fe, NM, Prince of Cats Literary Productions, Melinda Snodgrass, DreamForge Magazine, Uproar Books, Houghton, Mifflin and Harcourt, Walter Jon Williams and more. Her work can be seen in Spectrum Volumes 22, 24, 26, and 27 and the premiere issue of Spectrum Art Quarterly. She can also be found in Infected By Art Volumes 3-10. She is a five time Chesley nominee.
Jonathan Strahan (www.jonathanstrahan.com.au) is a Hugo and World Fantasy Award award-winning editor, anthologist, and podcaster. He has edited more than 90 books, is reviews editor for Locus, a consulting editor for Tor.com, and the co-host and producer of the Hugo-winning Coode Street Podcast.
Michaele Jordan, in her MidAmeriCon II Report posted by Amazing Stories on October 28, purported to have the true reason Dave Truesdale’s membership was revoked — that he published his remarks while the convention was going on. A few File 770 commenters found this version more appealing than the official statement. However, MACII Chair Ruth Lichtwardt says that is not the case.
At the beginning of a panel on The State of Short Fiction on Friday, Dave Truesdale read a prepared statement that contained inflammatory comments that were considered inciteful by a number of people at the panel. After consulting with the Incident Report Team, the Division Heads revoked Dave’s membership. They issued the following statement: “Dave Truesdale’s membership was revoked because he violated MidAmeriCon II’s Code of Conduct. Specifically, he caused ‘significant interference with event operations and caused excessive discomfort to others’”
However, Jordan asserts that while working in the convention Press Room she heard that was not the reason, it was something else:
… immediately upon exiting the panel — he posted his entire speech on-line…. It was this posting of his speech that got him ousted. (You heard about that, right? I gather there’s been quite a furor about it.) Vague on-line references about the Code of Conduct aside, Mr. Truesdale and all other program participants were explicitly told to give MidAmericon II first publication rights, and forbidden to publicize their remarks until after the con was over.
Many claimed later that he was ejected for “inciteful remarks”, but whatever his remarks were, that was not the reason. I was there, first at the panel and then in the Press Room. He was kicked out for posting, in clear violation of his agreement with the con, and I knew this long before I managed to track down on-line what he said…
As someone who had been scheduled to be a program participant and received the standard emails, I had no recollection of MACII making any request or restriction about publishing at-con remarks as part of that correspondence. (No Worldcon that I have ever participated in has tried to impose such a restriction.) So Jordan’s claim about a real reason that was different from the one announced struck me as highly unlikely.
I reached out to Ruth Lichtwardt, Chair of MidAmeriCon II, and asked her to comment. Lichtwardt replied:
I can absolutely assure you that at the time I made the decision to revoke Dave Truesdale’s membership and notified him, neither the Incident Response Team or I had any idea that he had recorded the panel or that he was going to post it. We learned of the recording afterward so it had no bearing on the original decision.
Thank you for asking!
Michaele Jordan’s version couldn’t have happened: the decision to revoke Truesdale’s membership was made (for the announced reason) before those involved heard he’d recorded the panel and published his statements.
Steven H Silver adds, “Just last night, I was wondering if conventions and conferences (not just in NC) would start to try to include a clause which allows the event to pull out of the venue without penalty if the state government passes discriminatory laws.”
As the time neared for fans to be let into the skating rink, the crowd swelled to a ridiculous size and effectively blocked off any sort of access to the food court or the surrounding shops itself. And when VIPs and fan zone winners asked where they could queue up for entry into the rink, no one had any answers for them.
So about 20 minutes before we were let in, I was queueing in the corner of the rink (marked “Access point for inner sanctum” in the picture at the top of this post), right smack in the middle of a big crowd. That one access point was where everything went in and out, so at one point I had trays of hot food for VIP guests brushing past my left, while random people kept pushing me from behind or squeezing in front of me to get to the escalators. I was quite literally trapped on all sides.
To make things worse, when members of the media started going in with bulky equipment, I got pushed around a lot because there was literally no more space to move or to let people through. And people were STILL trying to push their way through the crowd to try and get closer to the rink. That bottleneck was a serious fire hazard, and at one point I seriously thought that I’d never get out of this bloody event unharmed….
One fan flew all the way in from Brunei for the chance to meet Cap, Falcon and Winter Soldier.
So after all that hoohah about the $688 and $1288 packages for the Civil War blue carpet, there’s only one question left to ask: Was it all really worth it?
In the run up to the event, many fans had contacted Geek Crusade for more information about the blue carpet. But we soon realised that one of them had actually purchased a $688 package, before the packages on offer mysteriously disappeared from the event page. (Reed Exhibitions later told The Straits Times that the packages had sold out)
In the long-ago days before email and about when ARPANET was becoming the Internet, there was a young woman who was a fan but not in fandom. She barely knew of the existence of fandom, and if any of the people around her were SF fans, they didn’t talk about it because it was somehow lowbrow. But she had read all the Bradbury, Bradley, Heinlein, and Le Guin in her school libraries. She loved books, and reading, and SF, and fantasy, and somewhere along the way had become aware that in far away places there were people who thought SF was pretty cool and authors won awards for this stuff, prestigious awards, a thing called the Hugo Awards. But these were the pre-internet days and news about this was not widely circulated unless you knew where to look.
The young woman went off to college. One day she stopped by the office of one of her professors and was standing in the doorway talking with him. On his desk was a beautiful silver rocket on a wooden base. “That’s a really lovely sculpture,” she said. “Thank you,” he replied, “That is my Hugo.”
That was the day that I learned that the Hugo Awards were not some unobtainable honor given only to mythical, unapproachable authors by mysterious deities. That shiny rocket had been bestowed on James Gunn for “Best Related Work”, his biography of Isaac Asimov. The book had been chosen by the biography’s actual readers, by science fiction fans, as deserving of the award. To me, that made it even more of an honor….
(5) THE PINOCCHIO GAMBIT. If you’re one of the people who told a friend you nominated them for the Hugo, and they went and blabbed it all over the internet, what are you going to do when they find out they’re not on the final ballot tomorrow? Don’t fret. Order your friend a set of these Rocket-shaped salt and pepper mills and tell them they already won!
(6) WHO BENEFITS? John Scalzi spotlights the way Kindle Unlimited compensates authors in “Scammers and Fixed Pots” at Whatever.
…(Nor is adjusting one’s work to take advantage of the market a problem; publishers have always done this. Is the money is cheap paperbacks? They will make cheap paperbacks. Is the money in hardcovers? They’ll make hardcovers. What, novellas are the next big thing? They’ll all make novellas! Likewise, if Amazon is saying to self-pubbed authors (and, by extension, scammers) “[X] is the way we decide to pay you,” then it’s rational to do [X].)
The problem with the Kindle Unlimited scammers isn’t really the compensatory triggers of KU or the fact that everyone, legit author or otherwise, is looking for the way to squeeze as much money as possible from it. The problem is: who bears the immediate economic brunt of the scammers taking advantage of whatever scheme Amazon decides upon? Well, it’s not Amazon, that’s for sure, since its financial exposure is only what it wants to pay out on a monthly basis; scammers in the system or no, Amazon only pays what Amazon wants to pay. The readers also get off lightly; their economic exposure is only they flat fee they pay to access KU.
So that leaves the actual authors, whose share of a fixed amount of money is being diluted by bad actors who see how the system can be gamed and are cheerfully gaming it as fast as they can….
…It is possible, however, that money will no longer exist by the time cryonics pays off, and that people will not have to work for a living. A society that has achieved the medical breakthroughs necessary to cure disease and end aging, Kowalski and others believe, may also be one bereft of poverty and material want. In such a scenario, clothing, food and homes, fabricated with 3D printers or some other advanced means, would be abundant and freely available. “It doesn’t make sense that they’d take the time to revive people into some dystopian, backward future,” Kowalski says. “You can’t have the technology to wake people up and not have the technology to do a bunch of other great things, like provide abundance to the population.”
Still, even if cryogenically revived persons come back to a more equitable and advanced future, the mental flip-flops required to adjust to that new world would be substantial. Dislocated in time, alienated from society and coming to grips with the certainty that everyone and everything they had ever known is irretrievably lost, they would likely suffer symptoms of intense trauma. And that’s not to mention the fact that some may have to deal with a whole new body because only their head was preserved.
(8) EX MACHINA. Abigail Nussbaum delves into the issues raised (and some missed) by the movie “Ex Machina”. BEWARE SPOILERS. Scores high on bringing to my attention new ways of thinking about things. (Will they be new to you? I guess there’s only one way to find out.)
While I agree with [Laurie] Penny about the anxiety that underpins these stories [about fembots], I think that I would take a step further, and suggest that they–and Ex Machina in particular–are getting at the more fundamental question of what being a woman actually is. As much as it raises feminist issues, Ex Machina makes much more sense to me when read through a trans lens, as the story of Ava’s becoming–unwillingly, and only as a means of survival and escape–a woman.
(9) SF’S VANISHING COMPETENCE. Charlie Jane Anders’ io9 post, “The Moment When Science Fiction Split off From Competence Porn” is recommended by Gregory N. Hullender as an “Interesting article about how mainstream shows and movies have ultra competent technical folks but SF shows have incompetent people. Anders suspects it’s because lots of people are overwhelmed by new technology these days and they like post-apocalypse stories because they let us return to a simpler world.”
…[The], the original Star Trek mostly shows the Enterprise crew being pretty competent, but now we’re only allowed to have science explorer heroes if the focus is on the captain being unqualified for his rank.
But meanwhile, “competence porn” is our most popular entertainment, in the movies as well as television. Medical shows (like House) and forensic/detective shows (like CSI or Bones) celebrate the hero who has godlike powers of reconstructing the past and figuring out exactly what’s happened. There are detectives who can tell whether you’re lying at a glance, or who can reconstruct a complicated crime scene by looking at a few twigs, Sherlock-style.
And as we wrote a while back, every police procedural and spy show (or movie) has to have the stock “nerd” character, the slightly loopy guy or gal who can hack into any computer or zoom-and-enhance any video. There is an army of incredibly brilliant, nigh-omnipotent nerds on television….
“How SF split off from ‘competence porn’.” The latter genre – like The Martian – thrills fans with a can-do spirit that used to be core to science fiction, both on-page and on-screen. In io9, Charlie Jane Anders writes: “This shift coincides with the decline in space opera on television, and the rise of apocalypses and “disaster porn,” which are at least partly a wish-fulfillment fantasy about life becoming simpler and less confusing again. We have ‘competence porn’ in the present day, but when we imagine the near future, we reach for ‘disaster porn.’” I revere Charlie Jane for (among other things) clearly citing the current, largely dismal mood in SF as dull, unimaginative and unhelpful, contributing to decayed confidence in real life problem solving.
Where I part company is over why. This is not a matter of near-future vs far. Competence and hope – set amid thrilling danger and good writing – can be found in SF set amid all kinds of futures — near, middle and far — as evoked by Stargate and Firefly, by the works of Banks and Vinge. (And some of the rest of us try, as well.) No, the plague of zombies and apocalypses and illogically red-eyed dystopias has one central cause — laziness.
A day following the April 13 news that President Obama will receive early screeners of the highly anticipated Game of Thrones season six episodes, a journalist requested through the Freedom of Information Act that he “share his advance screeners” with the public.
Though HBO announced in early March that no members of the press will receive advance screeners, unlike in past seasons, a journalist is still trying. On Friday, Vanessa Golembewski revealed in a Refinery 29 article titled “Only Obama Gets Game of Thrones Screeners, So I Filed an FOIA Request for Them” that an FOIA request was filed on Thursday in an attempt to obtain the episodes….
Upon learning that Obama would come to know the fate of three of the show’s stars before the rest of the waiting global audience, Golembewski reasoned in the application: “If the president — and by extension, our government — is in possession of a file, surely that file is subject to my request to see it as a U.S. citizen.” In the “description” section of her web application, Golembewski penned, “I would like President Obama to share his advance screeners for Game of Thrones with the public” and filed “$0” as the amount of fees she would be willing to pay for the information.
(11) AND ONE MORE THING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. By all means, get emotional over the change in the Cracker Jacks packaging, and weep that those cheap little prizes have been replaced with QR codes to access a game app. Gizmodo leads the Greek chorus —
Truth be told, the prizes inside Cracker Jacks haven’t been that cool for some time. There used to be decoder rings and toy figurines. In the most recent “box” of Cracker Jack that I ate, I got a temporary tattoo. But they were prizes! They were real. They did not require a smartphone to appreciate them.
A world with prize-less Cracker Jack is not a world I want to live in, but I think I’m more upset about the loss of the box. The Uncanny Valley-ization of Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo in the logo is awful enough, but taking the box away is an affront to baseball fans everywhere.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Bruce Arthurs, Will R., Mark-kitteh, Steven H Silver, Gregory N. Hullender, and David Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]
(1) ABCD16 AWARDS. Ben Summers’ cover design for Lavie Tidhar’s novel A Man Lies Dreaming has won an Academy of British Cover Design Award in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category.
The complete shortlist with images of all the covers is at ABCD16 Shortlist and Winners. There are more sf/fantasy books among the finalists in other marketing categories.
(2) MAC II LEADERSHIP REORGANIZES. The 2016 Worldcon decided its communications will be better with a single voice at the top and replaced its three-co-chair structure (“Team LOL”) with a single chairperson, Ruth Lichtwardt.
Diane Lacey, another of the co-chairs, will become a Vice-Chair, and the third, Jeff Orth, is said to be deciding among several options for continuing his work on the con. The decision was shared with the division heads at a meeting last weekend.
[Cele] Goldsmith chose all the material, edited everything, selected the title and blurb typefaces and dummied the monthly magazines by herself. [Norman] Lobsenz, who arrived for an editorial conference usually once a week, penned the editorials, read her choices, and wrote the blurbs for the stories. They did cover blurbs together, and Goldsmith assigned both interior and cover art.
Goldsmith had no scientific background but had a sound judgment of story content and development, and this was the key to her success. She accepted stories on their value as fiction rather than as science fiction. “When I read something I didn’t understand, but intuitively knew was good,” she said, “I’d get ‘goose flesh’ and never doubt we had a winner.” That “goose flesh” was transmitted to the readers. I know when I encountered the Goldsmith AMAZING and FANTASTIC in the early 1960s,I got goose flesh because of the power and originality of their content. As I look now at the 150 or more total issues of those two magazines that Cele Goldsmith edited, that thrill is still there.
(4) JAR JAR JERSEYS. The Altoona Curve minor league baseball team will host another Star Wars night – if the team isn’t too embarrassed to take the field….
Last year, the team wore these beautiful Jabba the Hutt jerseys. For our Star Wars Night, we’re following that up with a jersey featuring another controversial Star Wars character, Jar Jar Binks. Like last season, we will have appearances by the Garrison Cardida of the 501st Legion.
NICK GEVERS: In your new novel, Medusa’s Web, you set out a very interesting and mesmerizingly complex metaphysical scheme, of spider images that draw human minds up and down the corridors of time. What first suggested this scenario to you?
TIM POWERS: I thought it would be fun to play around with two-dimensional adversaries after reading Cordwainer Smith’s short story, “The Game of Rat and Dragon.” I decided that since such creatures would be dimensionally handicapped by definition, why not have them be fourth-dimensionally handicapped too? I.e. they don’t perceive time, and therefore every encounter these creatures have with humans is, from the creature’s point of view, the same event. So by riding along on the point of view of one of them, you can briefly inhabit whatever other encounters it’s had with humans, regardless of when those encounters happened or will happen.
This seemed like an opportunity for lots of dramatic developments, and even one very intriguing paradox for our protagonist to blunder through.
(6) A MOVIE RECOMMENDATION. Zootopia is getting a lot of buzz, and Max Florschutz agrees it’s a winner in a review at Unusual Things.
First, a quick summary for those of you who just want the yay or nay: Zootopia is an excellent, wonderful film with a lot of heart, a lot of adventure, and a wonderful moral at its core that wraps up everything in a fantastic way. Put it on your list.
In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the latest fantasy from director Tim Burton, Asa Butterfield plays Jake, a 16-year-old plagued by nightmares following a family tragedy.
On the advice of his therapist, the teen embarks on an overseas journey to find the abandoned orphanage where his late grandfather claims to have once lived. Not only does the place turn out to be real, it also serves as the gateway to an alternate realm where children with strange powers are looked after by a magical guardian (Penny Dreadful star Eva Green) and time moves of its own accord.
Max Barry’s second novel is a fantastic satire of globalized trade and the deregulation of industry. In this alternate future, the United States has taken over much of north and south America, with government and its services privatized. Citizens take on the names of their employers, and the titular Jennifer Government is an agent tasked with tracking down the perpetrators of a series of murders . The crime turns out to be an attempt by Nike to drum up notoriety for a new line of shoes, but the plot quickly escalated beyond what anyone planned. It’s a ridiculous, often funny book that shows off a very different, but scarily plausible, hyper-commercial world.
(9) ONCE MORE INTO THE SPEECH. MD Jackson touts favorite examples of “The Rousing Speech” at Amazing Stories.
There’s always a rousing speech.
When the odds are against you, when the forces of darkness, or the alien invaders, or the giant lizards have gathered and your pitifully small band of heroes stand against them, the single vanguard against annihilation, what does your leader do?
Well, if he’s any kind of leader he starts talking.
Motivational speeches keep your team together and focused. Rousing speeches keep your smallish army from losing soldiers due to desertion rather than the upcoming decimation. And it’s got to be a doozy of a speech in order to make otherwise sensible men and women stand with you against almost certain death….
One of my favorite rousing speeches comes from an episode of Star Trek. In Return to Tomorrow, a second season episode from 1968, William Shatner throws all the weight of his dramatic acting into a rousing speech: The infamous “Risk is our business…” speech. It doesn’t come before a battle, but before three of the crew, including Kirk, decide to have ancient powerful aliens take over their bodies. Despite the context and the odd placement of the speech which doesn’t really further the plot, the speech has become iconic for its application to the entire Star Trek universe through all the series and movies. It kind of sums up what Star Trek is all about.
Risk. Risk is our business. That’s what this starship is all about. That’s why we’re aboard her.
And with Shatner`s just-shy-of-bombast delivery, the speech is kind of powerful.
(10) TONY DYSON OBIT. The builder of the original R2-D2, Tony Dyson, died March 4 reports the BBC.
The 68-year-old Briton was found by police after a neighbour called them, concerned his door was open.
He is thought to have died of natural causes. A post-mortem is being carried out to determine cause of death.
Dyson was commissioned to make eight R2-D2 robots for the film series. He said working on it was “one of the most exciting periods of my life”.
The look of R2-D2 was created by the conceptual designer Ralph McQuarrie who also created Darth Vader, Chewbacca and C-3PO.
Prof Dyson, who owned The White Horse Toy Company, was commissioned to make eight models plus the master moulds and an additional head.
He made four remote control units – two units for the actor Kenny Baker to sit in with a seat fitted inside and two throw away units to be used in a bog scene in Empire Strikes Back where a monster spits out the droid onto dry land, from the middle of the swamp.
(11) TODAY IN HISTORY
March 4, 1967 — Neal Hefti won a Grammy for our favorite song, the “Batman Theme.”
(12) YO, GROOT! According to the Daily News, Sylvester Stallone has joined the cast of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Who might Stallone be playing? Perhaps, Peter Quill’s (Pratt) father. We know that coveted role will appear in the sequel. However, most people assume Kurt Russell already snagged that part and a source for the Daily News says Stallone’s role is just a cameo.
Avert your eyes, Superman, because according to news out of Poland this morning, a team of chemists just got awfully close to actually creating the fictional substance of kryptonite. Don’t sweat too much though, Clark — the scientists were only able to bond the element of krypton with oxygen (as opposed to nitrogen) which wound up creating krypton monoxide. Inability to create real kryptonite notwithstanding, the fact the chemists successfully bonded krypton with anything is a revelatory achievement for an element previously known to be entirely unreactive. In light of the success, krypton (which is a noble gas like helium and neon) is no longer considered inert.
Conducted at the Polish Academy of Sciences, a team of chemists ran krypton through a series of various tests to build off a previous study positing that the chemical may react with hydrogen or carbon under extreme conditions. What they discovered — and subsequently published in Scientific Reports — was that krypton, while under severe pressure, also has the ability to form krypton oxides after bonding with oxygen. Thing is, the chemists didn’t actually see the reaction happen, but rather, used genetic algorithms to theorize its likelihood.
Photocopied zines are making a comeback, with some young self-publishers keen to escape the attention of online trolls.
While the internet has democratised publishing, allowing anyone to potentially reach a global audience with the click of a button, vitriolic internet comments are pushing some writers back to a medium last popular in the 1990s.
Zines, or fanzines, are self-published, handmade magazines usually produced in short runs on photocopiers or home printers.
Thomas Blatchford volunteers at Melbourne zine store Sticky Institute, which is preparing for its annual Festival of the Photocopier later this month….
While unsure of the exact reason for the resurgence of zines, Mr Blatchford said it was more than just a “weird nostalgia thing”.
He said some zine-makers had been scared away from online publishing because of unkind comments from people on the internet.
Some of you may be aware of the existential battle that Wil Wheaton and I are currently engaged in, involving burritos. I am of the opinion that anything you place into a tortilla, if it is then folded into a burrito shape, is a burrito of some description; Wil, on the other hand, maintains that if it is not a “traditional” burrito, with ingredients prepared as they were in the burrito’s ancestral home of Mexico, is merely a “wrap.”
Expect someone to write a post soon complaining that Scalzi is doing to Mexican food what he did to sf, by which I mean someone longing for the days when you could tell what you were buying by looking at the tortilla cover…
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Brian Z., Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, and Chip Hitchcock for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Soon Lee.]
[Jeff Orth tells how he, Diane Lacey and Ruth Lichtwardt caught the vision for a KC in 2016 Worldcon bid.]
By Jeff Orth: We have worked as a team for several projects since forming for the Anticipation Hugo Administration. Diane was the Consuite Department head for Anticipation and Ruth and I helped her where we could, both in recruiting staff and taking shifts as needed. It was one of the best consuites I have ever seen. Not that I am at all unbiased. We also recently worked on-site con registration for the Raleigh NASFIC.
We all worked on ConQuesT 2010, Ruth in Facilities and Diane and me in programming. It was this venue that spawned the idea of a Kansas City Worldcon. (Well that and somebody else trying to thrust $20 at me. And of course a Worldcon Bid not inspired by late night, drunken conversations would be just wrong. We can, and probably will, make up more stories as we go along.)
After Diane had headed off for Toronto to continue working on SFContario, Ruth and I approached Margene Bahm and asked her to look into facilities downtown. She happily agreed and contacted the Kansas City CVB (called VisitKC [visitkc.com]) Margene made arrangements to tour the hotels and convention center, Bartle Hall, with a representative from VisitKC named Becky. I unashamedly invited myself along. We spent a wonderful day in June touring some of the most wonderful hotels I have ever seen. I don’t recall if you were at the KC Smofcon at the Hotel Phillips. It was a great hotel and yet it was not the most impressive of the five we saw. The Hilton President and the Holiday Inn Aladdin, both within 2 blocks of the Convention Center, were at least equally impressive.
Bartle Hall is slightly too large for us, but not so large that any other event of any size could occupy the space we would not use. Becky referred to us several times as a “City Wide” meaning that we would
consume all of the available Hotel Space downtown, thus again precluding any other group from utilizing that space. We would be a big deal in Kansas City, indeed.
We judge the existing hotel space to be more than adequate. If we need to resort to overflow hotels, (the Hyatt Crown Center, where ConQuesT is currently held) it would be a very successful Worldcon. The other two hotels, the Marriott Downtown (which incorporates the old Muehlbach) and the Crown Plaza Downtown are within a block of the convention center, as is the Holiday Inn Aladdin. The Hotel Phillips and the President are two blocks away.
I came away from the tour stunned and more excited about a Kansas City Worldcon than I had ever been. (Margene came away vowing to never take me anywhere, ever again. I think I behaved like a farm boy in the big city for the first time, which isn’t far from the truth.)
All of this is, of course, subject to the normal ebb and flow of negotiation. Numbers will be crunched and spreadsheets will be drawn up and disposed of. We expect to have facts for people to chew over
and not just the goshwow of a Kansas farmboy. And we do have lots of time to get our ducks lined up.
Which brings me to the non-announcement at NASFIC. We realize that it is too early to bid for a Worldcon in 2016. We believe that fandom has a limited amount of resources (as do we). But, we wanted to get the word out that we are very serious. We actually have fans excited here in the KC area and elsewhere. A bunch of them are likely to be in tow in San Jose in December. (And “in tow” is almost not an exaggeration. Some of them are worried about finals that week. Just where did all these kids come from? Don’t answer that, just keep ’em off my lawn.)
Our primary challenge here in KC for the next two years will be keeping the fire stoked. You can judge how well we have done when we start throwing parties for keepsies at Chicago in 2012. We might
sneak a few in here and there, just to keep our hand in, look to SFContario and Reno for example. We do like throwing parties, but, we won’t be actively soliciting pre-supports until our official announcement two years before the vote. Planning, organizing and having fun for now, and keeping an eye on the fannish landscape are our priorities. Oh, and looking for people all across that landscape who might like to join us in the craziness.
Regards, Jeff Orth — and for Diane Lacey, Ruth Lichtwardt
On the theory that it’s always news to somebody (a theory I plan to write about before long), let me be the last to tell you that a Kansas City in 2016 bid was launched at the NASFiC.
The leadership is Ruth Lichtwardt, Jeff Orth and Diane Lacey (she lives in Toronto). Lichtwardt and Orth are veterans of KC’s annual ConQuest, and the trio worked effectively as last year’s (2009) Hugo Administrators.