Report from the Fannish Inquisition
by Adrienne Foster
Although the committees bidding to host the World Science Fiction Convention in 2018 are American, the prospects for next decade look more international. At the Fannish Inquisition Thursday afternoon, seven other bidcoms presented themselves as candidates to be voted on through the year 2024.
Vince Docherty and Helen Montgomery moderated the forum that allowed the bids to sell their committee and site to MidAmeriCon II members. Additionally, Worldcon 75 in Helsinki made a presentation. Crystal Huff and Jukke Halme, Worldcon 75 Co-Chairs, announced that they have currently sold about 4,500 memberships to date with 2751 of those being full-attending. They are also offering a reduced rate to first-time attendees, to encourage new people to participate.
Two site selection races are being decided at MidAmeriCon II, including the 2017 North American Science Fiction Convention and 76th Worldcon in 2018.
The 2017 North American Science Fiction Convention bids were the first to present. Those years when Worldcon is held overseas, a NASFiC is held for the North American fans who are unable to go abroad.
Pablo Vazquez, bidcom chair, said that the San Juan in 2017 bidcom wants to have a culture exchange with the U.S. mainland and show off what a vibrant science fiction community Puerto Rico has. Hotel room rates have been locked in $149 per night at the Sheraton Puerto Rico, with three shoulder nights on either side of the convention. The hotel is completely non-smoking.
The Valley Forge bid proposes the Valley Forge Convention Center, which includes the attached Radisson Hotel Valley Forge and Valley Forge Casino Resort Tower, for the 2017 NASFiC. Bid Chair Michael VanHelder said they are still negotiating some of their details with the hotels, but have locked down competitive room rates starting at $129 per night. They want to do outreach to underrepresented and non-traditional fans groups as well as solicit donations for mobies.
New Orleans in 2018 opened the proceedings for Worldcon 76 bidding. It’s been nearly 30 years since The Big Easy hosted a Worldcon and they want to introduce fandom to new people. It offers to put the entire convention under one roof at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans with room rates at $149 per night. If this colorful city wins the honor, seasoned veteran Mike Willmoth and well-established local Ray Boudreau will partner in chairing the convention.
If San Jose in 2018 wins the opportunity to host Worldcon 76, Chairman Kevin Roche promises a useful restaurant guide to go with it. Tech Shop and RoboGames have already been invited to contribute to the event. This bidcom offers the San Jose McEnery Convention Center with the adjoining Hilton and Marriott Hotels as its facilities. Room rates start at $139 per night.
Next year, site selection for Worldcon 77 will be voted on at Worldcon 75 in Helsinki. So far the only serious candidate is Dublin in 2019. Brian Nesbit, Lea Sapp, Emma England, and Esther MacCallum-Stewart announced that they have just over 1,000 presupporting members and project that if they win the bid, they expect an attendance of 4,000–5,000. James Bacon would chair the convention.
Likewise, the bid for New Zealand in 2020 is also unopposed. The facilities still have not been decided yet, but will most likely be either in Wellington or Auckland. Norman Cates announced they are leaning toward facilities in Wellington, but acknowledge the concern that they haven’t been built yet. Cates also warned that if New Zealand wins the bid, he will pull out someone’s colon if members of the Bay Area Science Fiction Association do not help out.
No questions for Worldcon bids after 2020 were opened since they are in their exploratory stages. The first representative among them was Rick Kovalcik for a proposed Boston in 2021 bid. Tim Miller declared that the previously announced Dallas-Fort Worth in 2021 bid is on hiatus, after the death of his bid partner.
Dave McCarty played coy when he reminded everyone of the Chicago in 2022 bid.
A 2023 Worldcon skipped, but there were some representatives to announce they were exploring the possibilities for two different bids in 2024, one for the Baltimore/Washington area and the other in the United Kingdom.
Despite not having any representatives present at MidAmeriCon II, there are three other serious bids listed on the official Worldcon website; Doha, Qatar in 2022; France in 2023; and Perth, Australia in 2025.