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Worldcon bids and analysis, Smofcon edition

By Petrea Mitchell| December 1, 2012 | Comments Off

It’s Smofcon time, which means another gathering of thousands of years of combined con-running experience and probable Worldcon bid news. Let’s look at how things stack up right now.

One very handy thing this year’s Smofcon has done is send out a questionnaire to all the bids so that the “Fannish Inquisition” Q&A sessions aren’t taken up with the same old easily answered questions. All the answers are gathered here for not only Worldcon bids, but also both NASFiC bids and some Smofcon ones.

Here’s how things stacked up going into the weekend:

2015: Spokane vs. Orlando vs. Helsinki

Helsinki is a very late entry, and at a disadvantage going for the year after London anyway. The North Americans who make up the majority of Worldcon’s site selection voter base may be just about ready to accept two conventions in a row outside North America, but probably not two in (from a North American viewpoint) the same other part of the world. Even the bid chair has said that this will probably be a practice run, with a serious bid for a later year. Many people expect them to try for 2016.

A bigger problem for Helsinki regardless of year is that the same people were already running a hoax bid for another part of Finland in 2016. This was already causing plenty of confusion at Worldcon this year when the serious bid was announced.

Meanwhile, Spokane vs. Orlando: both are serious contenders and the vote is likely to be close. The biggest hurdle for Spokane is explaining to everyone that Spokane is a real city which can be accessed through many major forms of commercial transportation; the biggest one for Orlando is to overcome past publicity missteps.

2016: Kansas City unopposed

…although probably not for long. Any bid announced soon will almost certainly be for 2016, plus Helsinki may move to this year.

2017: Japan vs. Montreal vs. (possibly) New York City

With NYC probably withdrawing (we’ll find out for sure this weekend, but not having submitted anything to the Smofcon Q&A makes it look more and more likely) and concerns about the debt left over from Nippon 2007, Montreal has apparently decided that the 2017 field looked weak and moved from 2019.

The Montreal bid is pretty straightforward: same place as 2009, much of the same committee, same enjoyable convention.

Japan has in its favor that at this point the voters will probably be looking at two Worldcons in a row previous to it being held in the US. The big question is whether the voters will accept its explanation for the debts– that they were the result of the huge uncertainty of holding a Worldcon in a region which had never seen one before, and that Nippon 2017 is a separate organization in any case.

With the vote coming in 2015, the location of the Worldcon that year is likely to influence the result through the voter pool as well.

2018: Possibly New Orleans

The New Orleans bid is still officially tentative, but a decision may be made this weekend. Fandom has fond memories of New Orleans as a city, but unpleasant ones of the scheduling meltdown that happened at the last New Orleans Worldcon. If the bid goes ahead, the committee will be spending a lot of time the next few years explaining that they are a whole new generation of fans with no connection to Nolacon II. And, since they are relative newcomers, expect this year to eventually be contested.

2019: No bids

With Montreal moving to 2017, this year is now completely unclaimed and may be for some time. Then again, since there’s already a bid for 2020…

2020: New Zealand unopposed (not 2017 as the Q&A page incorrectly says)

Taking the place of the once-a-decade visit to Australia, this has the support of the long-time Australian con-runners, plus the added excitement of a brand-new location and the mystique of Middle Earth. As long as it produces no scandals, this year will be New Zealand’s to lose.

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