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Finland, Finland, Finland

denvention
In the comments section to the post immediately below, someone asked about voting for this year's Hugo Awards.  Alas, Hugo voting closed some time ago... for the 2013 awards, at least.

You can still cast your vote at LoneStarCon, however... not for the Hugo Awards, but for site selection.

It's the fans who nominate and vote for the Hugos, and the fans who decide where the world science fiction convention will be held. Unlike Dragoncon (always in Atlanta), Comicon (always in San Diego), or other megacons of their ilk, worldcon moves to a different city every year, just as it has since its founding in the 1930s.  Cities wishing to host worldcon must put together a concom, find a suitable site and hotels, and bid for the rights to hold the con.  Bidding, like American presidential elections, sometimes seems to go on forever, but the actual site selection ballot takes place two years in advance.

At this year's San Antonio worldcon, LoneStarCon 3, fans will decide where the worldcon goes for 2015.

(The site of the 2014 worldcon was determined at Chicon 7, last year's worldcon.  The winner was London, England).

There are three contenders for 2015: Spokane, Washington; Orlando, Florida; and Helsinki, Finland.  All three will be campaigning vigorously and throwing parties at Texas, I'm sure, selling pre-supporting memberships, and bending the ears of everyone who cares to hear about their wonderful cities, amazing facilities, and experienced committees.  So who to choose?

As it happens, I've been to all three cities.  Back in the mid 90s, I was GOH at a small regional con in Spokane.  Nice fans.  The city has its charms, and the surrounding countryside was lovely.   It's a small city, though, and it was a small friendly low-key con, which makes me wonder if the committee is ready to tackle something as large and contentious and complex as worldcon.

Orlando hosted the worldcon once before -- MagiCon in 1992 -- and was supposed to be the site once even earlier -- SunCon in 1977.  But SunCon was a disaster, had to move to Miami Beach after the fans voted for Orlando, and still ranks as one of the worst worldcons ever.  MagiCon was much better... but hot, swelteringly hot.  I have fond memories of the Peabody Hotel, but the new Orlando bid isn't using the Peabody, instead they will actually be inside Disney World, using Disney facilities.  I like visiting Disney parks from time to time, and I love attending worldcon, but that does not mean I want to mix the two.  The Orlando convention set-up has some undeniable advantages... I love the idea of having all of worldcon under a single roof, without elevators... but if you've ever been to Disney World or Disneyland, you probably know that there will be drawbacks as well.  Under the Mouse's roof, the Mouse's rules apply.  And what with global warming and all, Orlando in 2015 will probably be even hotter than Orlando in 1992.  Just thinking about it makes me want to turn the air conditioner up to "ARCTIC BLAST."

Fortunately, I think there's one choice for 2015 that stands head and shoulders above the other two:



No, no, no, NOT England.  England is next year.  I'm talking FINLAND!  Helsinki!

Singing, dancing, fish-slapping, reindeer, lingonberries...

Well, no, not really.  But Parris and I were guests at Finncon just a few years ago, and we had a great time.  Helsinki is a great, lively, historic city, and the Finnish fans are terrific... warm and friendly and hospitable.  They all speak English, by the way.  Every Finn we met spoke English.  So no one need worry about getting lost in a country where you cannot understand the language.  You can eat reindeer and lingonberries if you have a yen... but there's plenty of other types of food for those who'd rather not.  Saunas are omnipresent... but not compulsory, if you are the shy sort who would rather not take off your clothes around other people.  Helsinki's not quite north enough for a midnight sun, but we got a ten-oclock-at-night sun, and that was pretty cool too.   Hell, you could even find good pizza.  (I prefer never to go anywhere where you cannot find good pizza).

Even more than the charms of the city, however, it was the competence and experience of the committee that impressed me.  We have had too many badly-run worldcons in recent years (need I mention Montreal, anyone?).   The Finncon we attended was huge, drawing something like 30,000 people to Helsinki as I recall.  That's six times as large as any worldcon since the 80s, yet the con ran smoothly start to finish, and everyone seemed to have a great time.  I have no doubt that a Helsinki worldcon would be well run as well... and I know the Finnish fans would love to show your their city, their castles, the herds of reindeer wandering the streets.   Oh, there's vodka too.  And saunas.  Did I mention the saunas?

But seriously... if you'd like to know more about the Finnish bid, check out their website here:  http://www.helsinkiin2015.org/

Anyway, those of you who will be attending LoneSTarCon should be sure to visit the site selection booths, check out the literature for the competing bid, then sign up for 2015 and cast your ballot.

Me, I'll be voting for Helsinki... to put the "world" back in worldcon.

(And for KANSAS CITY IN 2016 as well, but that vote is next year, in London).

POST LONESTARCON ADDENDUM

Alas, Helsinki did not win the rights to host the 2015 worldcon.  The Finns threw the best parties and had the most first place votes, but after leading on all the early ballots, they lost out in the end when Orlando was finally eliminated, and their votes swung en masse to Spokane.  The vagaries of the Australian ballot.

The Finns will rise again, I hope.  But it's Spokane in 2015.

(Future bids announced or rumored at the con included New Orleans, Washington DC, and Dublin.  I like the sound of all of those.

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Comments

usernamenumber
Aug. 19th, 2013 05:29 pm (UTC)
...then why call it "Worldcon"?

That's not meant to snark at you, it just amazes me how frequently this "but how can we have it somewhere else in the world twice in a row?" argument seems to come up, when "world" is in the convention's name. :)

Edited at 2013-08-19 08:35 pm (UTC)
alexvdl
Aug. 20th, 2013 01:21 am (UTC)
Why call it the World Series when it's only open to teams in North America?

Irrelevant Baseball reference aside, world being in the name doesn't prevent it from either always being in the US or outside of the US. I'm merely pointing out that there are a lot of people who can't travel outside of the US to get to a WorldCon. So you'd have hard time selling a Worldcon in Finnland, to people who can't get to Finnland. Where is this year's WorldCon? Texas.
kevin_standlee
Aug. 20th, 2013 02:55 am (UTC)
You may not be aware of just how many non-US fans either can't or won't come to any convention in the USA because the USA has made it increasingly difficult and unpleasant for them to come here. Worse, it's affecting people who might want to go to Canada from Europe because the USA imposes its rules on flights to Canada even if the flight never crosses US airspace.

I really don't see a problem with letting non-North American fans have a reasonable chance to attend two Worldcons in a row for the first time ever. Indeed, maybe we could get them sufficiently infected with the Worldcon bug that they might be wiling to try attending an American Worldcon even with all of the roadblocks the USA has set up to make us look like an Evil Empire.

(I'm not joking. Most Americans are unaware of it, that's all.)
alexvdl
Aug. 20th, 2013 05:40 am (UTC)
If non-US fans either can't or won't come here, and US fans either can't or won't go there... all the more reason to alternate.

Regardless, I'm not saying it shouldn't be in Finland, merely that it's going to be a hard sell. Both you and usernamenumber seem to grasp that (how frequently people say things and most Americans being unaware).
werthead
Aug. 20th, 2013 07:14 am (UTC)
"Irrelevant Baseball reference aside, world being in the name doesn't prevent it from either always being in the US or outside of the US. I'm merely pointing out that there are a lot of people who can't travel outside of the US to get to a WorldCon. So you'd have hard time selling a Worldcon in Finnland, to people who can't get to Finnland. Where is this year's WorldCon? Texas."

The reverse is also true. There are a lot of people who can't travel TO the USA to get to a worldcon. So you would - and do - have a hard time selling a worldcon in the USA to people who can't get to the USA, which is quite a lot.

For myself, despite being a major SF fan for almost thirty years, LonCon will be the first worldcon I get to attend. If the subsequent one is held in Finland, there's a good chance I could make that as well. If it's back in North America again, no chance. And if a Finnish SF convention can attract a bigger audience than any worldcon for decades (though we have to see if the same audience turns out as they did for Finncon), that has to count for something. Myself, I'm interested in seeing what the turn-out is for LonCon, as it's taking place in one of the largest and most vibrant SFF communities outside of the USA, most of whom can't travel on a regular basis to other worldcons.

Edited at 2013-08-20 07:19 am (UTC)
ext_2123018
Aug. 20th, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
A little 'murica-centric, don't you think? The rest of the world is much much bigger than the US. No offence but you guys need to get out more. Ps. There's no such country as 'Finnland'. ;)

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