Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Worldcon Site Selection Politics

I am concerned about rumblings over the current Worldcon site selection election. Specifically, I've heard people say that if Kansas City doesn't win, it proves that the relatively new "no-zone" site selection system is broken and needs changing. For heaven's sake, it's only been in full operation for the last three election cycles (the previous three years were a transition period). It takes a lot longer than that to figure out whether a system is working or not. We did three-year lead time for almost twenty years before going back to two years.

The same complaints inform me that the center of the continent will be completely frozen out under "no-zone," and that Denver certainly isn't "Central" (although it looks that way from here in California), but neither is Chicago! That is, Denver is "West" and Chicago is "East." And when I asked about Texas, they told me that it's "South." That means "Central" consists of a pretty small area: Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. Oh, and possibly western Illinois and Wisconsin, but not Chicago and not Milwaukee.

Some have pointed to the lack of a Minneapolis Worldcon as further evidence of bias against the center. Minneapolis, for instance, is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the US & Canada to not yet host a Worldcon. But like the old joke about Murray and God, you have to buy a lottery ticket in order to win the lottery, and aside from Minneapolis in '73, there are have been no serious bids from Minneapolis. (Which is a shame, really, because it's a nice city with a good looking convention center and relatively close downtown hotels.)

Frankly, I expect "no-zone" will lead to slightly fewer Worldcons in what was the old Central zone (which did include Chicago and Texas; sorry about that, folks), because Worldcons are now more likely to follow general population demographics, and the edges of the continent have more people living there than the center. But accusations that the con will bounce back and forth between Boston and Anaheim are just silly.

Edit, 11:35: Fixed geographic typo pointed out in comments.
Tags: worldcon
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