Why Voting on Worldcon Location Matters

Previously on this blog, I wrote a post on how to vote on Worldcon location for the 2015 Worldcon race, and it was translated into several languages (Chinese, Swedish, Finnish, Deutsch, Irish, Japanese, Dutch …).  I regret that it’s not also an intro to what Worldcon is, but I haven’t managed to write a real entry on that yet (tho I did write an entry on some fannish terminology).  I suspect that most people reading this blog (particularly the posts tagged “fandom”) are folks who go to conventions, whether or not they’ve been to a Worldcon yet.  Y’all might have an idea of what Worldcon is, therefore.  There’s also an entry on Wikipedia, if you want a general sense of “Worldcon 101.”

What I’d like to talk about now is why voting on Worldcon location matters on a philosophical level.

I’ve heard a lot of people say, “oh, I didn’t know you could vote on Worldcon location!” For them, the answer is yes. There are instructions. In several languages now, even. You already know that, though, because you read the first paragraph of this post.

Some people have said they were aware that Worldcon could be voted on, but if it wasn’t going to be near their home, they weren’t going to vote because they “didn’t have a dog in the race.” Is that you? This post is for you.

Major Ursa and Crystal

I do my best to be helpful! I swear!

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My Hugo Eligibility Post

Hugo Awards nominations are open until March 17th, which means it’s time to write an eligibility post! I didn’t publish any fiction or art or podcasts in 2016, myself, but I did do a lot of fan writing on various platforms, so I am eligible to be nominated as a Fan Writer. I’d be honored and privileged to be considered for your nomination.

Looking back on 2016, there are many things I wrote for and about fandom, but particular things I’d like to highlight are:

This Twitter thread (later turned into a longer essay) on bias in Worldcon bidding.

This post on international SFF reading.

This frank (Facebook) post on the financial cost of bidding for Worldcon, and subsequent discussions on North American and British privileges in bidding.

This compilation of gender inclusive forms of address, which I posted to Facebook & Twitter last year and participated in several SoMe (Social Media) discussions about. The goal was to encourage panelists, moderators, and public speakers in general to be more gender inclusive when addressing groups of people. I can report some concrete success, in that a couple of convention staffers contacted me to say they were updating their panelist & moderator info sheet to include this issue. Yay!

I co-authored the original Worldcon 75 accessibility statement at the beginning of 2016, and took a significant role on this topic within the committee and when engaging with the membership. W75 has since updated their accessibility page to reflect the goals and process of the new leadership, so I’m linking to the Wayback Machine for this.

I wrote parts of the Worldcon 75 website and publications, although I don’t know what parts of what I wrote are still being used at this point. You can see the Progress Reports (PRs) for Worldcon 75 here. I contributed to PRs 0, 1, and 2.

Relatedly, I was also interviewed for several podcasts last year. The most fandom-relevant of them was the Mad Writers Union podcast episode on community building, where we nattered for a couple of hours on conventions, speculative fiction, and communities. In particular, I talked about how Readercon staff, as a community, addressed the incident of sexual harassment that occurred at Readercon 23.

 

Crystal hugging Major Ursa, the stuffed polar bear.

I’m just amused by this photo shoot Worldcon 75 asked me to do with a stuffed polar bear.

I usually don’t write an eligibility post for any awards, and have some trepidation about doing so now. Historically speaking, women are punished for doing self-promotion. Heck, there are several think pieces about how Hilary Clinton’s popularity plummeted any time she asked for a promotion. It was really disheartening. Women and other marginalized people are penalized for promoting diversity of any kind, which is something we’re inherently doing when we’re doing self-promotion and are of a less-privileged identity.

In terms of being the change I wish to see in the world, though, I’ve decided to post this and see how it goes. I  support all the women, People of Color, trans folks, and others who are debating doing similarly. Having been on the receiving end of death threats for my feminist work in fandom, I recognize that everyone should make their own threat assessments and decisions on this topic. Here’s hoping it goes well.

There’s a crowdsourced compilation of Hugo-eligible works available in this spreadsheet, btw, for those who are interested — you may have forgotten some work you wanted to nominate, but maybe someone else can remind you!

PS: If you aren’t sure how Hugo nominations work or whether you are able to nominate, I covered that in a more recent blog post on Worldcon membership benefits. I’m also happy to answer questions, if you have any.

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What Do I Get With My Worldcon Membership?

I get asked this … a lot. Even now. So, okay, this is kind of a question about how the Hugos work, and kind of a question about how Worldcon in general works, in my opinion. Here’s a quick (and simplified) overview of what you get with a Worldcon membership of any given year.

  1. Hugo nomination rights for the year before, the year of, and the year after your membership to Worldcon. 
  2. Hugo voting rights for the year of your membership. 
  3. Access to the Hugo Packet, if applicable. 
  4. Paper publications of the convention, depending on the convention’s policies.
  5. Ability to send business to, speak up at, and vote on business at the WSFS business meeting at Worldcon.
  6. Ability to vote in site selection for Worldcon site options two years in the future (and NASFIC site options one year in the future, if applicable).

Some notes:

a) Worldcon membership benefits depend partly on how soon you get your membership. If you voted in site selection for a Worldcon (like, say, voting in the 2017 site selection race, which was won by Worldcon 75), you automatically got an immediate supporting (aka non-attending) membership of Worldcon for the year on which you voted. This means you have a membership early enough to get all possible membership benefits. Worldcon generally gives you all possible benefits of membership if you join the convention by January 31st of the year BEFORE the convention, though, so if you didn’t vote on site selection one summer, it’s not necessarily too late! (It is now too late to be able to buy a new membership and nominate with it this year, though — if you didn’t have a membership to MidAmeriCon2Worldcon 75, or Worldcon 76 by January 31st, you can’t nominate for the Hugos this year.)

b) A supporting membership to a Worldcon can be upgraded at any point prior to the convention for an attending membership to that Worldcon, generally at the cost of attending membership when upgraded minus the cost of the supporting membership one already owns. The rights of membership to Worldcon as a supporting member versus an attending member usually differ in only one regard — supporting members can’t show up at convention without paying more money, and there are a couple of things that members only get if they are at the convention in person (which requires an attending type of membership).

c) The Hugo Packet (which is our name for a compilation of eBook and PDF samples or entire content of the works nominated) isn’t something any Worldcon can guarantee, since it’s up to the individuals and publishers on the ballot what, if anything, is included of their copyrighted works. Any Worldcon can also decide not to publish a Hugo Packet.

So! Read more detailed explanations below if you’re so inclined.

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Changing my Role for Worldcon 75

I have a sad announcement to make.

I have loved my work on the Helsinki Worldcon bids and the resulting convention, Worldcon 75, over the past four years. It has been an amazing experience to collaborate with fantastic people from all over the world.

However, my family and my career must take priority over this project. It has become clear that these priorities are no longer compatible with my role as co-chair of Worldcon 75. With deep regret, I offered my resignation as co-chair today to the Board of Maa ja ilma ry, Worldcon 75’s organizing body, and they have accepted it.

I will still be a part of this team, creating a great Worldcon, just in a smaller role. I hope to see you all in Helsinki in August, if not before!

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International Reading

I’m often asked, recently, what people should be reading that’s non-American or non-British in SFF. Broad topic! Here are some I’ve loved, though. Most of them are from Finland, but you could probably have guessed that already…

 

FINLAND

book cover for Troll: a Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo

Troll: a Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

Rabbit Back Literature Society and Where the Trains Turn by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen

Collected Fiction and the Quantum Thief trilogy by Hannu Rajaniemi

Birdbrain and Troll: a Love Story by Johanna Sinisalo

The Otherling and Other Stories by Anne Leinonen

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2015 Reading

My title is a lie, actually — this is a list of books I’ve read since Readercon in July of 2015, and it’s only the ones that are Hugo-nominable. If it didn’t come out in 2015, it doesn’t make this list because I want to focus on what can be nominated for a Hugo right now.

The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord

Half-Resurrection Blues & Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older

An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

Lex Talionis by RSA Garcia

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

The Just City by Jo Walton

Updraft by Fran Wilde

House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard

Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal

Pocket Apocalypse and Red-Rose Chain by Seanan McGuire

Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor

Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

Time Salvager by Wes Chu

Court of Fives by Kate Elliott

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Only Ever Yours & Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

Last First Snow by Max Gladstone

Uprooted by Naomi Novick

Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee

Cold Iron by Stina Leicht

Chimera by Mira Grant

Revision by Andrea Phillips

The Sin-Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Deceptions by Kelley Armstrong

The Sculptor by Scott McCloud

Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Stand Still Stay Silent by Minna Sundberg

Collected Fiction by Hannu Rajaniemi (short story “Skywalker” is Hugo-nominable)

The Otherling & other stories by Anne Leinonen (short story “The Skinner” is Hugo-nominable)

Angels & Exiles by Yves Meynard (short story “The Song of the Mermaid” is Hugo-nominable)

Falling in Love with Hominids by Nalo Hopkinson (short story “Men Sell Not Such in Any Town” is Hugo-nominable, I think?)

Stories For Chip (full of short stories that are Hugo-nominable)

Octavia’s Brood (full of short stories that are Hugo-nominable)

Queers destroy SF (full of short stories that are Hugo-nominable)

 

I don’t want to get into any reviews or details, at this point, because I don’t really have the time and I don’t know if I’m up for it. I read all of these things, however, and thought they were magnificent and (so far as I’m aware) Hugo-nominable.

 

Other things & stuff:

Maija Peitikainen and Petri Hiltunen did the bid art for Helsinki in 2017, Hugo-nominable under fan artists.

Christopher Jones does amazing work for art for Convergence and is Hugo-nominable.

Nisi Shawl, Bill Campbell, and Carl Engel-Laird are all Hugo-nominable editors, so far as I can discern.

The Finnish fanzine MARVIN (published sometimes in Finnish and sometimes in English) is Hugo-nominable this year. This is the same crew of people who brought us the brilliant and needed articles about the shortage of evil villain bases of operation. We may need to rent co-working space in future, apparently.

 

 

Okay, I lied again, because I don’t want to lose track of what little I managed to track reading this year…

Things I read that aren’t 2015 Hugo-nominable, but that I still tracked:

(The Younger Gods, Michael Underwood, 2014)

(First three novels in the Ex Libris series by Jim C. Hines)

(How to Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ)

(Too Like the Lightning & Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer — 2016 books)

(Unspeakable Things by Laurie Penny)

(Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang)

(A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan)

(Omens & Visions by Kelley Armstrong)

(Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie)

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Arisia 2016 Schedule

I am quite active at Arisia this year (even in comparison with previous years)!

B&w photo of Crystal wearing goggles in Finland

Crystal can wear a pair of goggles like a pro, yo!

Friday at 5:30 pm in Marina 1
SUPERGIRL!

Friday at 7 pm in Faneuil
GENRE FICTION IN TRANSLATION

Saturday at 4 pm in Marina 4
MY FRIEND WROTE A BOOK; DO I HAVE TO BUY IT?

Saturday at 5:30 pm in Burroughs
CULTURAL ASSUMPTIONS IN SFF

Saturday at 9 pm in Room 666
WORLDCON 75 PARTY!!! (open to all Arisia attendees)

Sunday at 4 pm & Monday at 11:30 am in Independence Room (both sessions)
WORKSHOP TO COMBAT IMPOSTOR SYNDROME

 

Friday at 5:30 pm in Marina 1
SUPERGIRL!
“Although not (as of yet) connected to the rest of the TV DC Universe, the new Supergirl show is both a hit, and a blast to watch. We’ll talk about the first half-season of the show, what it means to have a positive female hero on the small screen as a headliner, and how the creators are reinterpreting a familiar mythos through an amazing new lens. We’ll also discuss the verve Melissa Benoist brings to the title role, and the dual roles played so well by Laura Benanti.”
My co-panelists are Adam LipkinSharon Sbarsky, Gordon Linzner, and Cassandra Lease.
I have already warned them about how much prep I’ve done for this panel. It may be EPIC. I may pull out various feelings about feminism and liking imperfect things. I imprinted heavily on the 80s Supergirl movie when I was a child. Seriously.

Friday at 7 pm in Faneuil
GENRE FICTION IN TRANSLATION
“Cixin Liu’s _The Three-Body Problem_, translated by Ken Liu, won the Hugo for Best Novel. Clarkesworld’s recent foray into translating Chinese SF has brought some well deserved attention to the vibrant body of stories in that country. Haikasoru has made a name for itself translating works from Japanese, and Tor.com has recently published SF stories translated from Spanish. What possibilities do we see in translation of other cultures’ SF? How might this change the landscape of the genre?”
I’m moderating this panel, with Ken LiuJohn Chu, Sarah Weintraub, and Morgan Crooks.
I plan to bring in plenty of stories the Finns have been telling me about SFF translation work, and we shall plumb the depths of what’s out there and what’s coming up in translation. Likely this conversation will include some structural racism of the genre. Good times, I promise you!

Saturday at 4 pm in Marina 4
MY FRIEND WROTE A BOOK; DO I HAVE TO BUY IT?
“This panel will discuss etiquette for friends of authors and other creators. How do we support their endeavors without going broke or feeling obligated to attend every signing. What do we do when we don’t like their creations and are asked (or feel it’s expected) to give a reaction?”
I’m moderating this panel, with participants Timothy Goyette, Kourtney Heintz, Deborah Kaminski, and Archangel Beth.
This is a panel where I will confess all of my sins that are on-topic, so I half hope none of my friends show up … but actually, I promise to give practical as well as funny advice on this topic, as well as address some of the more sensitive aspects of the question. What is friendship, when money becomes involved? This is another aspect of that question.

Saturday at 5:30 pm in Burroughs
CULTURAL ASSUMPTIONS IN SFF
“Recent novels such as *The Three Body Problem*, *The Grace of Kings*, and *Throne of the Crescent Moon* join other works that challenge the cultural assumptions behind mainstream (American and English) science fiction and fantasy. How are these genres being reimagined beyond just making the space cowboys swear in Mandarin?”
John Chu is moderating this one, with Max Gladstone, Kiini Ibura Salaam, and John Scalzi on the panel.
This panel is going to be amazing, and you should come to all of my panels, but this one especially. I love Firefly, and we’re totally going to address Firefly’s racism. Also, I have some book recommendations you all want to get in on! I know where to find all the cool books doing the awesome shit.

Saturday at 9 pm in Room 666
WORLDCON 75 PARTY!!! (open to all Arisia attendees)
We shall offer some Finnish delights (which are totally different from Turkish delight), and some prizes! Some books! Some music! It’ll be great. Come visit us in Room 666, where apparently we still can’t get past the impression that we’ll nickname the Helsinki Worldcon something evil. 😉


I’m also going to be offering TWO FREE WORKSHOPS to address Impostor Syndrome at Arisia.

Sunday at 4 pm & Monday at 11:30 am
Location: Independence Room (both sessions)

“Impostor Syndrome: the feeling that you aren’t really qualified for the work you are doing and will be discovered as a fraud. Many women, People of Color, QUILTBAG persons, and others from marginalized groups deal with this feeling, especially when they’ve been socialized to value other’s opinions of their work above their own. This workshop includes practical methods of addressing one’s own Impostor Syndrome as well as suggestions for how to improve one’s community. Limit 15 (due to room size).”

This workshop is usually given at a cost of $200 per person (or a company pays for their employees to take the workshop). In 2016, I’ve pledged to offer 12 workshops for free to nonprofits, and these sessions are toward that pledge. I care about the Arisia, Inc. community and want to help make fandom a better place. This is one way I’m working toward those goals.

After taking my workshop, participants have reported higher productivity on projects, improved self-esteem, and better capacity to deal with the negative messages society sends so many of us. I love giving this workshop, and want as many people as possible to take it. I hope to see many of you there this weekend!

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