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Why Run a Worldcon?

Henry Balen

Of the many questions asked, of the fans involved in the "British worldcon bid for the 1990's". the most notable has been 'why run a worldcon?'. It is also reasonable to say that there are at least as many answers as there are fans involved in the bid. I intend this article to cover my reasons for having another British worldcon.

The first thing that any member of a convention committee has to ask themselves is what is the aim of the convention. 'What to the aim of the worldcon?" - A worldcon enables SF fans from all over the world to get together and celebrate Science Fiction in a global context. This I see as the main 'purpose' for any worldcon.

It has been suggested that we could just organise a LARGE international convention, of a few thousand people, and target those that we wish to be present. This would have the advantage of the organisation not having to go through the uncertainty of a bid process. I think that whilst this is possible, it would actually require more work in the organisation: we would have to convince the World community of fans that the convention would be feasible and that they are interested in coming.

Whilst all this is possible the worldcon offers us various advantages. It has been going for fifty years and that 'history' carries weight with potential sites. We have a good idea of the expected numbers. Fans from all the World already are familiar with the event and will travel to it.

Worldcons are part of the tradition of SF fandom.

The main aspect of any convention that the majority of con attendees are concerned with is the programme. and as such this should be given the best effort. The resources that a worldcon enables the committee to call upon will enable us to stage events that would not have otherwise been possible.

But why a British worldcon? An out-of-America worldcon gives the organisers the ability to focus on the non-American aspects of SF. There are also other non-American Worldcons i.e. Confiction. but the majority of Worldcons are still American whilst there are a growing number of non-American fans. There are over a thousand British fans who are unable to travel to American Worldcons. I for one would like to see a British worldcon at least once a decade.

((Well. there you have it. Two for and one against. Naturally, I would like to get your views on the whole worldcon issue. even just a simple yea or nay. As I said in my editorial piece, I had not seen either of the two other articles at the time of writing, so in the next CONRUNNER I'll probably take up some of the points made by Vince and Henry.

I believe that Vince already has a name for the convention in mind, but would be interested to hear suggestions for a suitable name from the CONRUNNER readership - ed.))


This page updated on 09 July 1999