Making the Call on the 2023 Worldcon
For various reasons, I was already leaning against physically attending the 2023 Worldcon in Chengdu, China, but now, a little over a year out and with other organizations querying me about appearances in the same timeframe, I should more firmly note that I won’t be on the ground at the 2023 Worldcon.
I will say that aside from any other reasons, at this point the two primary reasons for this decision are purely practical. One, air travel is currently a mess, and no matter what the airlines say about it, I’m not optimistic it’s going to be all that much better a year from now. That’s currently bad enough domestically, when flights are being cancelled en masse, and realistically one has to budget an entire extra day for travel (both Athena and I had overnight delays due to cancellations on our last flights). Dealing with international delays or cancellations from halfway around the world seems like a good way to lose a week.
Two, COVID is still actually a thing and the most recent variants of it have the transmissibility of measles. There’s little reason to believe either that we’ll have the virus contained by next year, or that strains a year from now will be more mild (I will still get boosters when available, to significantly reduce the chance that I’ll be hospitalized – or dead – if I am reinfected). Given all this, the idea of testing positive for the virus in China, with few personal resources or the ability to easily navigate the local medical options, and then trying to return home on rescheduled flights, does not thrill me.
It’s possible things will be better on both fronts a year from now, and these concerns are overstated. I hope I am wrong, in fact! Be that as it may, I have to make choices now about what I’m doing in a year. I’d rather be wrong, and at home, than right, and stuck (and possibly very ill) on the other side of the globe.
When the stars align in these and other areas, I would love to be able to visit China, and spend more than a few days to explore that vast and hugely interesting country. That visit, I’m sorry to say, won’t be in 2023. I hope the people who do choose to attend have a fantastic time, and that I’m seethingly jealous of the fun they are having in Chengdu.