2022 Worldcon Report

By Keith G. Kato

The 80th World Science Fiction Convention, Chicon 8 (https://chicon.org/), was held from Thursday, 1 September 2022 through Monday, 5 September 2022 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Chicago, Illinois.  As its name indicates, this was the eighth time a Worldcon was held in Chicago, and fifth time at this particular hotel.  The Heinlein Society was well-represented with President John Tilden, Vice President Ken Walters, Secretary Dr. C. Herb Gilliland, and Emeritus President Mike Sheffield, and Betsey Wilcox from the Board in attendance.  Also attending were David Gerrold and Joe Haldeman from the Board of Advisors, committee members Will Hamilton, Dr. Keith Kato, and Reverend Sharon Sheffield, and Members Ty Arnold, Lester Gibo, Alan Petrillo, and Craig and Sharon Stanfill.

Also joining in the fun were our partners in crime from the Center For Ray Bradbury Studies at IUPUI, led by their Director Dr. Jason Aukerman, and two of Jason’s staff, Jordan Brinker and PhD candidate’s Carrie Cooper.

A combined 12 diners from THS and IUPUI met for dinner on Wednesday, 31 August, the day prior to the Worldcon’s opening.  Keith Kato walked the group through the interior passageways from the Hyatt to the corner of Michigan Avenue and Lake Street, across the street from Giordano’s Restaurant and catty-corner to the American Writers Museum, the location of our Friday night party.  Member Ty Arnold, who used to work in Chicago, testified Giordano’s was superior to the more famous Pizzeria Uno/Duo restaurants.  The diners indulged in Chicago deep-dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches.  Keith and Jason Aukerman took the opportunity to brief the diners on logistics, timing, and work party needs for Friday’s party.

Thursday setup of the THS information table (which, by request, was next to IUPUI’s table) was fairly straightforward.  The Friday night party was problematic.  The Chicon committee seemed universally structured to impede communication and easy operations.  Several SFWA Grandmasters and prominent SF authors basically boycotted the Worldcon because of the hassle.  Our Friday party was originally planned for a “party suite” within the Hyatt, but their draconian party policies (e.g., a “corkage waiver” on external food and drink that wasn’t) forced us to look elsewhere.  Fortunately, the Bradbury Center had been supplying several Bradbury artifacts for the American Writers Museum’s exhibit on Bradbury, for free.  The Bradbury exhibit was actually extended through the Worldcon dates, so Jason Aukerman channeled his inner Don Vito Corleone to ask for a “favor,” the use of the Museum for our party.  Normally, the Museum charges $4,500 to use their facility for up to four hours, plus (being a public building) the need to hire a bartender to dispense consumable ethyl alcohol.  Instead, the Museum let us use their facility for six hours (not including setup, tear-down, or moving materiel in and out), free, and they sprang for the bartender as well.

Thus the joint party hosted by THS, Center For Ray Bradbury Studies, and Keith Kato was held from 6:00 PM to midnight at the American Writers Museum.  Normally, a $14 per person fee is assessed for entry, but our guests were admitted for free and allowed to wander the Museum as they wished.  A couple of times during the evening, Jason Aukerman conducted a Docent’s Tour of the Bradbury Exhibit.

Four types of chili (beef mild, beef hot, bison mild, and vegetarian) were available, plus a cake (commemorating the final Keith Kato Chili Party at a Continental U.S. Worldcon), veggie and cheese platters, wine, beer, soft drinks, and bottled water.  Among our special guests were Writer Guest of Honor Steve Barnes, THS Board of Advisors Joe Haldeman, G. David Nordley, and David Gerrold (all of whom took delight in typing on the array of Bradbury-approved typewriters), and other SF authors such as Alec Nevala-Lee, Sandy Parsons, and David Levine.

The 2022 Worldcon held site selection votes both for the 2023 North American Science Fiction Convention (“NASFiC” whenever the Worldcon is held off the North American continent) and 2024 Worldcon (where Glasgow, Scotland was running unopposed).  The future calendar for 2023 and 2024 is now officially:

  • 7/20-23/2023: Winnipeg, Canada NASFiC (htpps://main.winnipegin2023.ca).
  • 8/16-20/2023: Chengdu, China Worldcon (www.worldconinchina.com/kh/memberShipE.html).
  • Note one week before the Glasgow Worldcon: 8/7-11/2024 Rotterdam, Netherlands Eurocon (www.erasmuscon.nl).
  • 8/8-12/2024: Glasgow, Scotland Worldcon  (www.glasgow2024.org).  Note by this table from Glasgow’s website, these registration rates are valid until 30 April 2022, including a “First Attending Worldcon” rate:

For future consideration, voting at the 2023 Chengdu Worldcon will determine the 2024 NASFiC and 2025 Worldcon.  Candidates as of now are:

  • 2024: Buffalo NY NASFiC bid.
  • 2025: Seattle WA Worldcon bid.