Yesterday, Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, to be held later this year in Spokane, Washington, announced the opening of balloting for the selection of the 2017 Worldcon.
The 75th Worldcon to be precise.
And to be even more precise, the Worldcon that may very well host one of the most important WSFS business meetings that will take place within our lifetimes.
Four bids for 2017 are on the table – Wshington DC, Helsinki, Finland, Japan and Montreal.
I was very much in favor of Helsinki for 2017 – until DC announced their bid. I’m now very much for DC. Please let me tell you why.
First. By 2017, it will have been seven years since a Worldcon was held even remotely close to the East coast of the United States. Sorry for being partisan, but I’m an east-coaster (NJ, FL, NH) and I have NEVER been able to drive to a Worldcon. Not once in over half a century. (It will have been 13 years since a Worldcon was actually held on US soil in the Northeast. Naturally, I was ‘away down south in the land of cotton’ at the time.
Japan has (if scuttlebutt is to be believed) only recently managed to pay off some enormous convention-related debt, and that, I understand, only because of the generous largess of a single individual. (The preceding based on Fannish Grapevine rumour and therefore highly suspect.) Worldcon is expensive – and apparently VERY expensive in Japan. My hope and suggestion for Japanese fans is that they partner with China (as culturally distatestful as that may be) and find a THIRD Asian-Pacific country to partner with and host an event. New Zealand maybe? (Bet you’d get a LOT of attendance….)
Montreal just had a Worldcon. The crew did an amazing job, helping to kickoff what I consider to be a revitalization of Worldcon. But lets not get into the Chicon habit with yet another city, please.
Helsinki was enjoying a lot of attention as a kind of follow-on to Loncon3. Loncon ably proved that a non-US Worldcon could draw and draw big. Helsinki was to be a sort of crown on top of Loncon3’s efforts, as in – see Europe can do the same thing in a non-Anglo country too! And better! (Why better? Because Fandom seemingly loves the Finns. It’s one of those unexplainable fannish things like Wombats or choo-choo trains.)
Unfortunately, Helsinki IS in Finland. Which just so happens to be the newfound home of Castallia House, Beale’s creature of a publishing company. There is no stretch of the imagination in which it is a coincidence that the year in which ratification of major changes to the Hugo Award rules might take place would be at a Worldcon Business Meeting held in the same country in which the person responsbile for necessitating those changes is headquartered.
Most assuredly not the Finnish comittee’s fault; their bid preceded this whole sorry affair. But I can not in good conscience hand Rabid Puppies even the hint of a strategic victory.
Which leaves DC. I think we have to go all the way back to 1974 to find the last time Worldcon was held in DC.
I used to go to Disclaves in DC. It was at a Disclave that I met Avedon Carrol and discovered that I was the Invisible Fan.
I arrived at a Disclave because I’d previously attended a Balticon or two and a lot of the folks running the show there (and I soon became “one of he folks running the show”) seemed to like going to Disclaves.
DC & Baltimore fandoms were pretty closely tied (Constellation in ’86 well illustrated that) – and low and behold, there are some of the very same folks who used to put on Balticons, Disclaves and “Capital Area” Worldcons who are STILL working on putting things together in 2017.
We’ve got MIchael Nelson and Warren Buff as co-bid chairs; some familiar faces too like Chris Garcia, Michael Walsh, Gary Blogg, Jim Mann, Sharon Sbarsky, Patty Wells and Ben Yalow.
They’re talking about ONE HOTEL. Centralized. We always seem to do better when we’re all together in one place.
It’s a well-experienced crew; it’s a well-planned convention. Vox Day can’t attend. There are few geekier places than the Smithsonian Museum. We need Worldcon back on the east coast.
So that’s why DC in 2017.