I just got back from SMOFCon – the annual gathering of SF Convention runners, which has a bit of a Worldcon bias, for better and for worse.
One of the highlight events is the “Fannish Inquisition” (as in “No one expects the Fannish Inquisition” – but more on that later). This goes through the bids for two traveling conventions: SMOFCon itself, and Worldcon. At this year’s Inquisition, the following Worldcon bids presented themselves:
- 2016 Worldcon: KC remains the only bidder
- 2017: Japan (city TBD) vs. Montreal vs. Helsinki vs. DC
- 2018: New Orleans vs. San Jose, both still officially exploratory
- 2019: Dublin; nothing about the rumored Paris bid
- 2020: New Zealand (city TBD)
- 2021: Fort Worth
- 2022: Chicago
First, this doesn’t change what I said before.
Second, here are my thoughts on these, in order of the year announced:
2016: KC. I became quite well acquainted with two-thirds of the “LOL” chair triumvirate (Jeff Orth and Diane Lacey) working for and with them during the Chicon 7 Hugo Award process. I think that they have a strong bid, which is pretty good given that at this point they are all but officially unopposed. Both Tara and I are now (late – we only got around to it at Loscon) pre-supporters, and I think that they will put on a good con.
2017: Japan. I listened to A³ as he explained that the debt from 2007 has been paid off, and that they have structures and plans to avoid the same kind of issues. Having Andrew as one of the bid chairs and as a prospective con chair does help. But I still feel that my trust was sufficiently violated that I’ll be hesitant to support, or vote in a high position, a Japanese bid anytime soon.
2017: Montreal. We had a pretty good time in Montreal in 2009, and I think I wouldn’t mind going back. Further, Diane is involved in the bid – but nobody can really work at a high level (like co-chair) on multiple successive Worldcons or even bids. so I think that her involvement will be limited. However, there has been a lot of churn in the rest of the committee, and some key members don’t have a lot of trust in the fannish community. They are still in the running for my vote – maybe not in the top slot – but I’m not ready to do much more without some sign (either that they are likely to win and supporting them would be a good move financially, or that that the internal and perception issues are resolved).
2017: Helsinki. When they announced, they immediately jumped into my first slot. Except, I’m not sure that the budget would stretch into to two European Worldcons in three years (and 3 in 5 years). However, a number of their more experienced Worldcon people from the 2015 bid are working on DC. This puts a lot more pressure on the less experienced people on the bid. Now Eemeli Aro has more than enough energy and enthusiasm to carry a bid, and I’m sure that we’ll see a Finnish Worldcon under Eemeli (unless he burns himself out) sooner rather than later. (The only other person I’ve seen with this much energy and enthusiasm in this kind of role is Dave McCarty, so I respect it a lot).
2017: DC. With their announcement, they jumped to first place. After reading their committee list – which has just about everyone I know in fandom who lives in the Eastern time zone of the United States, and I’m not exaggerating – that placement was solidified. I pre-supported them ($10.00) and would have forced Tara to pre-support them, but I was running low on US funds, they didn’t want Canadian funds, and I forgot my checkbook which I would have brought for just this kind of thing.
2017 in general: for various reasons, I’ll probably eschew any further involvement in any of the bids. If nothing else, I think chairing the 2015 Westercon will eat much of my fannish time and energy.
2018: New Orleans is a fully running bid, albeit without finalized facilities (they have time). However, for some reason the reported charms of New Orleans itself fail to work on me – and in fact does the opposite. In order for New Orleans to get my top vote, they’ll have to convince me that it will be worth coming to New Orleans for a good con, not that it will be worth coming to Worldcon because it is in New Orleans. (And having heard plenty of Nolacon II tales since joining fandom, they do have something to overcome).
2018: San José. Some have expressed concern over the San Jose bid because of issues in 2002. Now, I’d be hypocritical to say that issues in 2002 don’t matter to me for 2018 just after bringing up an event in 1988 in regards to 2018. But, I was at 2002, and while it was just my 4th Worldcon, I didn’t see any real issues. I saw many more issues with Torcon 3 in 2003 than I did in 2002. On top of that, I know, like and respect way to many of the Bay Area fans (fen) to not have a positive reception to a bid from there.
At least one person expressed disappointment in who presented for the bid (which is still exploratory, but I expect that to change soon). I have little sympathy for that simply because someone presented instead of someone else who WASN’T IN TORONTO, that it looks bad. Specifically, the person didn’t like the presenter due to issues with a prior SMOFCon that I was also at, and as near as I could see only had one real – albeit significant – issue, and that was in part due to the way some people reacted to a new idea, coupled with the fact that this new idea didn’t work in this venue. And the presenter is someone I’d, in general, consider a friend, so their objection rankled me further.
2019: Dublin. The bid chair for Dublin wasn’t there. But I know and respect his proxy and am sufficiently acquainted with him to believe that it will be a solid bid and should be a good con. My only personal concern is going to be financial and logistical: it is likely that we’ll have two oversees Worldcons in a row and I’ll have to make sure that we can get to both. (I’m tired of missing Worldcon – and I could see being into the situation by 2019 that I cannot afford to miss one).
2020: New Zealand: What can I say: After missing out on Aussicon 4, I really want to go to New Zealand!
2021: DFW: I like the bid chair (Tim Miller), and think that he has more than enough energy and enthusiasm to carry this off. My only worry is that if they couldn’t find a useful facility in Texas outside of San Antonio (early on the bid was looking at the whole state), are the Dallas and Fort Worth facilities workable?
On the other hand, as Tim pointed out both in his Fort Worth SMOFCon presentation and in his DFW Worldcon presentation: if the con is in Dallas or Fort Worth, you cannot be made to change planes at DFW – and DFW is the right airport for the wrong purpose. It was clearly designed to be a destination airport, but became a hub airport – a role for which it is wholly unsuited due to its architecture.
2022: Chicago. I was part of the Chicago in 2008 and Chicago in 2012 bids and this is largely the same team, but a different facility. I’ll probably be involved (and may be an official member of the bid committee again – even if I’m mostly back in my role of trying to evangelize for Worldcon in San Diego where too many people don’t seem to care).
I’ll admit a bit of a concern about McCormick Place due to its sprawling size (about twice the size of Anaheim), and the tales of Union shenanigans. But after two Hyatt Worldcons and having to hear the horror stories twice now (and they are horror stories, even if we laugh at them), I’ll be yet another voice in the “Not the Hyatt, oh and did I say ‘Not the Hyatt’” crowd.
(I’m not saying anything about 2023. I’m not saying anything about 2023. I’ve never said anything about 2023 outside of my own head. So stop hearing things that I’m not saying, OK?)