Worldcon in Reno?
Posted on May 23, 2008 Posted by John Scalzi 36 Comments
For those of you with a science fictional bent, there’s a group of fan who have just decided to put in a bid for the 2011 Worldcon to be held in Reno, Nevada.
I think this is a fairly interesting choice, myself. Apparently the Reno Visitor’s Bureau wants the convention in town, and it’s a city where the accommodations, etc would be generally less expensive than in other bigger cities, which for cash-strapped fans has its own appeal. The other 2011 bid I know of is in Seattle, which should make for an interesting compare and contrast for SF fans, in terms of choices. I’d be happy with either, so I guess I win no matter what. I like it when that happens.
Judy: “I don’t love you anymore Bob”.
Bob: “You mendacious harridan”.
Judy: “I’m leaving you Bob, we’re getting a quick divorce in Reno”.
********** Two Weeks Later **********
Bob: “Jesus in a chariot driven sidecar, the hotel is packed full of sweaty people wearing Princess Leia outfits – don’t these people bath?”
As much as I love Seattle (I live here, after all) I do not want Worldcon hosed up by the fetish crowd that has taken over the local conventions.
Reno in ’11!
My gut instinct is to push for Seattle, because it’s a short train-ride away when school is in session.
On the other hand, Reno is only about 6 hours away by car when I’m not in schoool.
…which part of the year does Worldcon usually take place in?
For many years, Worldcon was held over Labor Day weekend.
For the next two years, it’ll be in early August.
Reno is bidding for August 17-21, 2011.
Seattle is also bidding for 2011, but the dates are not clear from their Web site.
Reno Bid Committee Member
… um. A WorldCon in Reno might be something I could attend. Seeing as I live around here.
Drat it, I’m too old and tired to try to hold my breath for 3.4 years!
I’d say the convention is Seattle’s to lose. Of course, they’re good at that.
You’ll be able to choose from Open Source Boobs and Commercial Shrinkwrap Boobs.
Jon H said:
You’ll be able to choose from Open Source Boobs and Commercial Shrinkwrap Boobs.
May I assume that this is related to the Princess Leia outfits?
With a raised eyebrow,
– Tom –
I take it you missed the hubbub back in April.
I favor Reno for a couple of reasons:
1. It’s cheaper.
2. Seattle eats cars. I mean seriously, at least Boston has an excuse. The roads in Seattle were planned that way on purpose.
They held RWA in Reno in 2005. Lots of complaining (there always is), but this time it was about how hard (and expensive) it was to get there for some folks.
I liked it fine.
Been to a conference once in Reno — airport radar went down, stranded there an extra day, followed by hours in the airport surrounded by slot machines you cannot get away from, which periodically (at least at that point in time) shout, “Wheel! Of! Fortune!”, over and over and over and over….
Exactly which circle of hell that is I don’t know, but I don’t remember doing something bad enough to deserve it….
A Worldcon in RENO?!?! Has no one watched Reno 911 which shows how the Reno cops treats a poor fantasy LARPer by macing him as he gives out his battle stats. Hell ya have the Worldcon in Reno then, and remember to bring your camcorders.
But seriously; Reno? Its just so Las Vegas without the sincerity. But a Worldcon would class the joint up a bit, and it is accessible from the San Francisco Bay Area by car, plane and train, so its got that. And the massive championship bowling alley. And the should have those train tracks through the downtown streets issue rectified by then.
I shot a man in Reno. Just to watch him die.
I’m wearing boots of escaping! I’m wearing boots of escaping!
Ow! Ow! Ow!
Hmm. Reno is to my mind hell on Earth, but then so is the airport strip where all the Seattle cons seem to end up. (Sure, they say it’s going to be at the convention center downtown, but talk is cheap.)
But skiffy be skippy with me!
Okay, what can y’all do with R2e0n1o1 ? Sounds like a drug.
You do realize that when I first glanced at this I thought it was a (political) campaign poster and my first thought was “….. didn’t she retire a long time ago?”
Never been to Seattle.
My only observation about Reno is that it is not where the beautiful people go to gamble.
So we can expect a Sci-Fi episode of “Reno 911: Miami”?
Reno is a nice venue for conferences, actually, as I can testify to having been to several science conferences there. And where Science Goes, Science Fiction can follow (that being the history of the modern Worldcon, with hotel, multitrack programming, and badges, as forced into being by analogy with the APS conferences by the late Milton Rothman, whom I’d known since the early 1960s.
The context includes the historical fact that the structure of major
Science Fiction conventions was brought into Science Fiction from Physics by a genius with feet in both camps, namely Milton Rothman, who explained to me, at a circa 1961 pancake brunch of himself, myself, and my science fiction book editor/publisher father, at Princeton (where he was doing Fusion Reactor engineering and Plasma Physics). Milton Rothman explained to me his version of the first true science fiction fan organization in Washington, namely the World War II-era group known as the Washington Worry-Warts; and how he finally persuaded a critical mass of fan activists of the American Physical Society (APS) annual conference format.
Of course, the highly fragmented conference and convention industry is somewhere between $50 and $80 BILLION dollars a year. Reno knows how to handle this.
Of course there are parallels between SFWA, and the older MWA and WWA, and their traditions of cons and awards.
Of course, once the culture existed, there could be completely
non-writer-centric cons, of which smofcon is a leader.
Of course, I’m terribly biased by being one of 10 professional writers and editors in my family, loving Science Fiction, and being a professional scientist.
But I seem to be on the same page here, now and then, with people who have expertise above and beyond mine.
I greatly enjoyed a couple (3?) years ago the SFRA annual conference held in a casino hotel at Las Vegas.
Once the casino management realized that few English Lit professors present were involved in gambling, boozing, or whoring, things settled down to the metaphysical strip show starring Ursula K Le Guin, a track to whom the conference had dedicated, and who appeared, smiling enigmatically, at all the papers on her oeuvre.
We all have a request from Kurt Vonnegut.
“I am, incidentally, Honorary President of the American Humanist Association, having succeeded the late, great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in that totally functionless capacity. We had a memorial service for Isaac a few years back, and I spoke and said at one point, ‘Isaac is up in heaven now.’ It was the funniest thing I could have said to an audience of humanists. I rolled them in the aisles. It was several minutes before order could be restored. And if I should ever die, God forbid, I hope you will say, ‘Kurt is up in heaven now.’ That’s my favorite joke.”
Kurt is up in heaven now.
I think it is also only fair to give him Kilgore Trout’s epitaph: “We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.”
Farewell Vonnegut, in non-heaven with Asimov. But more specifically:
Sonja Rae Fritzsche
has done first-rate research into the bizarro world of Science Fiction publishing in Cold War East Germany.
(Book) Science Fiction Literature in East Germany. DDR Studien/East German Studies Series. Bern; Oxford: Peter Lang, September 2006.
“Utopia, Dystopia, and Ostalgia: The Pre- and Post Unification Visions of East German Science Fiction Writer Alexander Kröger.” Journal of Utopian Studies 17.3 (Winter 2006): 441-464.
“Reading Ursula Le Guin in East Germany.”
Extrapolation 47.3 (2006): 471-487.
Asimov and Le Guin were 2 of the 3 first American authors whose science fiction was translated into German, with special foreword and afterword, for East German publication. The two were politically vetted.
Asimov was allowed as he was determined to be “a bourgois secular humanist.”
Le Guin was a trickier case. They liked her attack on Capitalism in “The Dispossessed” but denigrated her for failing to point out that Communism was objectively superior to the false dichotomy between Capitalism and Anarchism.
When Sonja Rae Fritzsche gave a talk at the SFRA (Science Fiction Research Association) annual meeting about 2 years ago in Las Vegas, Ursula Le Guin was in the audience. I questioned Dr. Fritzsche, by explaining the Asimov/Vonnegut role in the American Humanist Association.
Le Guin now entered the discourse, although usually she listened without comment to papers on her writings. She said approximately:
“Are you now or have you ever been a Secular Humanist? Well, I am not in the American Humanist Association, and didn’t know that Asimov was President.”
I like to slightly fictionalize this by paraphrasing her comment as: “I am not now, nor have ever been…”
Asimov was certainly a scientist, and Biochemistry Professor, who was also one of the greatest Science Fiction authors of all time, and proud of it. Vonnegut and Le Guin and Harlan Ellison and some other major authors have made a valid marketing decision in declining to have the phrase “science fiction” on their book covers, or used to denote them in TV interviews and the like, on the grounds that it could actually decrease sales.
Vonnegut thus wrote some Science Fiction, and metafiction about Science Fiction (i.e. Kilgore Trout), without being deemed a Science Fiction Author as such. Le Guin writes quite a bit of first-rate Science Fiction, where the Science is mostly Anthropology (given whom her parents were!), Linguistics, and Sociology.
All of these writers were interested in Religion, interested in Science, yet had distinctive analyses of how the two magesteria interacted. I’m sorry to say that I’d discussed this with both Asimov and Le Guin, but now can never ask Vonnegut directly. Nor do I expect to go to Heaven. And I can’t fathom why
(according to survey) more Americans believe in Hell than in Heaven. The first does not exist in Jewish theology, but, in the USA context, don’t they come together in the same box?
David Letterman (or jay Leno?) jokes once: “The I-15 freeway is closed because of brush fire between L.A. and Las Vegas. It’s the first time in 5,000 years that transportation’s been cut off between Sodom and Gomorrah.
Swiping from xkcd.com here…
“I shot a man in Reno, because he canceled Firefly.”
I think a con in Reno would be fun… or eat least close, which is good too.
David Moles @16:
A Seattle Worldcon would have to be at the Convention Center. You can just barely squeeze the 2500-or-so people who attend Norwescon into the SeaTac Doubletree. You can’t put a 5000-person Worldcon into the Doubletree. The Doubletree is simply too small.
And note that there’s a large genre convention happening downtown already these days — SakuraCon.
While I’m merely an adviser to Seattle’s bid, I can say that no site other than the convention center has ever been on the table. There’s no other place where you could put the event, in my opinion as a conrunner.
When I saw the image, I wondered if John McCain had announced a running mate….
Seattle would be awesome! Because I have a free place to stay there! And it’s all about ME!
Seattle may be nice, since it *does* have that sf&f museum
Urghlf. Reno is probably less expensive than many of the big-city venues. It’s also high altitude and everybody smokes. No, do not ever, ever want to go back to Reno. *shudder*
I have to say, Mythago, that having been to Las Vegas recently, the smoke was only bad in the casinos. The restaurants are all non-smoking. And people were pretty good about smoking away from the outside doors, so you don’t get hit too hard when you go out.
The convention center in Reno is completely non-smoking.
I like high altitudes myself. Reno isn’t quite as high up, as say Denver or Colorado Springs or the Grand Canyon or Santa Fe or Casper. If we win, we’d probably adopt the reminders we’ve been making for Denver – lots of water anytime, lots of sunscreen and hats when you’re outside.
The Reno folks had a bid table at Balticon this weekend. I ended up pre-supporting.
The hotels they intend to use look great, and the skywalk to the convention center from the main convention hotel will be completed well before 2011.
OTOH, Seattle would be great because I’ve got friends in Bellingham.
Given that I rarely do touristy stuff when I go to Worldcon, given that I try to get to as much of the con as possible, given how expensive it is, it doesn’t really matter where the con is held from my point of view, as long as it is well run.
Oy. Reno in the middle of August? That sounds like a slice of hell I’d rather avoid.
Is this butting up against Hot August Nights? Not that I couldn’t drive up to WorldCon in my 67 Cutlass and make it a two-fer, but still.
Reno is not Las Vegas.
The late summer temps in Reno average about 20 degrees cooler than Las Vegas, so we’d expect to see highs in the range of 80-90 degrees (cooler than Bucconneer, LoneStarCon, L.A.con and, of course, IguanaCon). And it will cool down at night more than Las Vegas (cooler than late August in Seattle, for that matter). So it should be fairly pleasant.
Even if it does end up hot, they are currently building an air-conditioned walkway from the main convention hotel (the Atlantis) to the convention center, and we’ll have free shuttles running the few blocks up to our other hotel, the Peppermill.
Both hotels are less than two miles from the airport (with free airport shuttles) and feature free parking.
Trust me. You don’t want anything to do with Reno. Do yourself a favor and get out now before you get in! The casinos are closing. There is no money here. Atlantic City without the beach.
Seattle is a lovely town.
It does not have facilities that can support a WorldCon. If you think the locations for Denvention were excessively dispersed (and that was a real sucky thing about Denvention), Seattle is much, much worse. Most of the attendees will have to travel long distances to go to the convention center.
I hate deserts. I’m perpetually dehydrated even in New Jersey, which is listed under “antonyms” when you look ‘desert’ up in the dictionary. I find cloudy places much more hospitable than sunny ones. I can’t stand Southern California (not that it isn’t pretty, but the sunlight tries to kill me), for example.
I’m voting for Reno anyway.
Xopher, the front door for the main hotel for Seattle is 420′ from the front door to the convention cneter (1 block) and that hotel is about 1250 rooms, there are several other hotels with a short walk (no more than 2 to 3 blocks) way closer than the overflow hotel for Reno
[Deleted because random hostility is not the way to make a good first impression on my site — JS]