This afternoon (Australia time – which was already hours ago as I type this at 9:15 PDT) , Aussicon 4, the 68th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) closed. Because we decided that buying a house was more important, we weren’t there even after 8 prior years of at least back of the brain planning. But thanks to social networks and e-mail lists, I have picked up several pieces of news some of which is important to fen (SF Fans) – or at least to me.
First, at the close of the site selection voting, Chicago was awarded the right to hold the Worldcon in 2012. So the 7oth World Science Fiction Convention will be Chicon 7, and will be held August 30 – September 3 (if I’m tracking the calendar correctly) 2012 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago. The guest of honor will include Mike Resnick (Author), Rowena Morrill (Artist), Peggy Rae Sapienza (fan), Jane Frank (Agent/Industry), and Story Musgrave (Astronaut). The toastmaster will be John Scalzi – who has already started on his job by announcing the guests of honor at the site selection business meeting in Melbourne Sunday morning.
Chicon already has their website up and running at http://www.chicon7.org. Membership can be purchased on the website. Other information will be added as it becomes available and the webmaster has time to put it up (the current webmaster is also in Australia and is scheduled to remain in the Southern Hemisphere for a while)
Earlier in the weekend at the main business meeting there were several important amendments to the WSFS constitution that received a first pass. These will all be up for ratification next year in Reno.
In my opinion the most important one is the proposal that changes the relationship between the advanced supporting membership price and the upgrade price for an initial period. At present there is a requirement to have the price for people who vote in site selection – and thus have paid the advanced supporting price, since buying an advanced supporting membership is a requirement for voting in site selection – to be able to upgrade for no more than two times that price. So if the budget required that the initial members who vote pay $150.00, this forces the advanced supporting membership – and by extension all supporting memberships – to cost $50.00. This $50.00 price (which is where it was for this year’s vote) is high enough to discourage many people from participating unless they are sure that they can attend (and pay the higher membership fees).
The change that will be up for ratification next year in Reno, and if ratified will take effect for the site selection vote in 2012 for the 2014 site, will change the relationship to 4 time. Thus with the same budget, only $25.00 would need to be charged for the advanced supporting membership, greatly reducing the barrier to participation. I strongly support this (and would have actually preferred the original proposal of completely eliminating the relationship) and will be encouraging anyone I believe to be like-minded present in Reno to be at the main business meeting (even to the extent of dragging Tara there) to vote for this one.
If I can figure out the proper way to do this (and I’m sure I know people who will probably read this, can advise me to the proper way) I am tempted to make a proposal that, assuming this is ratified (which is far from a 100% certainty) that the business meeting encourage any future Worldcon administering a site selection where they are involved in setting the advanced membership fee to treat the fees from prior to 2012 as though they were half their actual value – so the 2010 for 2012 fee of $50.00 would be treated as actually $25.00. This would keep future sites from abusing the change in the rules, at least in contested elections.
Related, but independent is a change that would allow site selection elections to include an on-line component. These together should encourage a lot more participation in the voting – and hopefully by extension the Hugo awards and actual con attendance.
Another key proposals would extend the ability to nominate for Hugo awards to members of the next Worldcon as well as the current and previous Worldocon. Voting would still be limited to the members of the con giving the awards.
One other piece of news: New Zealand is now bidding for the 2020 World Science Fiction convention. So, while we didn’t make it down there this year in ten years we should have another chance. And by then we should have a grown kid and more vacation so we should really be able to spend time to visit both countries as well as enjoy the con.
While I do regret not being in Australia this year, I do plan on going to the next several Worldcons: Reno next year, Chicago the year after that (probably on the organizing committee), San Antonio or elsewhere in 2013, London or elsewhere in 2014 and beyond.