February 7th, 2009


Worldcons and Site Selection

The loss of the Seattle Worldcon bid has left a lot of people saying, "oh, that proves we should have kept selecting bids three years in advance, like we always did since I started paying attention." I disagree, and I've been saying so in various places today, particularly here and here. (The former suggests to me that a lot of people aren't paying close attention to where and when Worldcons have been for the past ten or twenty years. As far as I can tell, some people think one Worldcon per decade in Chicago is "too often" while simultaneously bemoaning that it hasn't gone back to the UK already even though the most recent one was less than four years ago. Selective memories, people.)

Regarding the lead time and its effect on Worldcons and Worldcon site selection, Deb Geisler says it better than I can. So does Cheryl Morgan.

To my knowledge, a three-year lead time would not necessarily have improved Seattle's ability to commit to facilities. Their committee has not said specifically that a lack of sufficient lead time was the issue, and I am unsure that it was. It may have been, but there may have been other things involved as well.

In 2002, we still selected sites three years in advance. (The election was at Aussiecon Three in Melbourne, 1999.) Both of the original 2002 Worldcon bids -- Seattle and San Francisco -- were obliged to fold for reasons that actually didn't have anything to do with other groups dropping money on their prospective sites. In the former, the person controlling the key hotels decided he didn't want the business, and in the latter, the headquarters hotel priced the bid away, chasing more-expensive business (that they didn't get -- I was happy to hear that the "Jukebox" was empty on Labor Day weekend 2002). The Bay Area was lucky -- we had another Worldcon-capable site fifty miles to the south that was eager for our business. Seattle wasn't so lucky and had to fold.

It Ain't Bragging If You Can Do It

I expect that a bunch of my posts the past two days, which have been mostly about aspects of Worldcon site selection, have come across as highly arrogant. I'm sorry about that, but IMO confidence sometimes sounds like arrogance. I went through the process of bidding for a Worldcon, and eventually co-chaired it, so when people say, "Worldcon should be in thus-and-such a place," I'm perfectly confident in saying variations on, "Congratulations for starting a Worldcon bid! Have fun!"

(And looking at my financial records, I could also say, "Kiss your net worth goodbye," too, but that's another story, and it sounds like I'm whinging when I say it (because I am, I'm afraid).)

Seriously, though: when someone says, "They should hold a Worldcon in [place]," my response is "There is no 'they.' There is only 'we.'" This is why I'm very careful about phrasing my preferences for Worldcon sites, and I'm extremely careful about saying anything that could be interpreted in a way that would cause $20 bills to head my direction (except donations toward the Retire Kevin's Debt Post-Supporting Membership Fund, which are not tax-deductible, thankyouverymuch).
Conrunner Kevin

Space Bags

Getting away from Worldcon politics for a bit: Has anyone had any experience with Space Bag or any of its variants? As I anticipate having to move and do some downsizing, the idea of being able to shrink bulky storage down, and also to have it be air- and bug-proof, appeals to me. But so many as-seen-on-TV products have been disappointing. (One exception: Moving Men Furniture Sliders work just the way they say they do, and I endorse them. I have two sets of them on permanent use in my apartment right now, allowing me to move my coffee and dining tables easily for vacuuming.)