About Worldcon

Worldcon, or more formally The World Science Fiction Convention, is a science fiction convention held each year since 1939 except for the years 1942 to 1945. It is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society (or WSFS).

This is an interview with Norman Cates, the bid chair, about the New Zealand bid, and Worldcons. This interview took place at MidAmericon 2, in 2016.

Activities and events at the convention typically include (but are not limited to):

  • Activities to support fan and external charities
  • Art show – presenting paintings, drawings, sculpture and other work, primarily on science fiction and fantasy themes
  • Autographing sessions, literary beer or coffee-with meet-ups, Walks with the Stars, and other chances to meet favorite science fiction and fantasy professionals.
  • Awards ceremonies:
    • The Chesley Awards ceremony
    • The Hugo Awards ceremony
    • Other ceremonies, depending on timing and the country the Worldcon is in.
  • Costuming – both formal competition (the “Masquerade”) and casual “hall costumes”
  • At least one dance, with either live music or a DJ (LoneStarCon 3 had three in 2013, including a Firefly Shindig contradance and a steampunk dance.)
  • Dealers’ room (often referred to by fans as the “huckster room) – a large hall full of people selling books, games, comic books, movies, jewelry, costumes (often including weapons), and other fannish goods
  • Filk and other musical performances, music circles, and workshops
  • Films – an independent film festival and other film rooms showing science fiction movies, television shows, etc.
  • Gaming – live-action and tabletop board games, card games, and role-playing games
  • Live theatrical performances
  • Panel discussions on a wide range of topics pertaining to speculative fiction (SF) literature; film, audio and other media; art; graphic stories; fandom and fannish hobbies; science, technology, and society; costuming, gaming, and music
  • Socializing in the “con suite”, convention bars and at parties (typically run by other conventions or bidders, clubs, publishers/magazines, and by private individuals)
  • Speeches or other presentations by the Guests of Honor and other program participants
  • Other business of the World Science Fiction Society, including voting on the location of future Worldcons and North American Science Fiction Conventions (NASFiCs, which occur when the Worldcon is overseas) and any changes to the WSFS Constitution, which are made at WSFS business meetings during the convention.

There are many science fiction conventions around the world, but Worldcons offer a unique mix of fans and professionals from all walks of life and all corners of the Earth for a very exciting experience.

What’s a Bid?

Because Worldcons are run by a different group of people each year, there is no central organising body to decide where they should be held. Instead the members of each Worldcon get to decide where the convention two years later will be held.

Anyone can bid to run a Worldcon, but it can take several years of careful planning to have a potential Worldcon bid prepared for fans to vote on. There may be several bids for any given year, so selection is by no means certain.

New Zealand in 2020 will be voted on at the 2018 Worldcon in San Jose!