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About DaveAx

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    Castellan & Steward of Lamprey Pyes; Maester of Bee Stings
  • Birthday 07/05/1950

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  1. This was announced today on social media and by email to members: Hello Members of DisCon III, Mary Robinette Kowal is the new chair of the 79th World Science Fiction Convention. The decision was made by BWAWA, the Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, which is the host organization for this year’s Worldcon. Mary Robinette Kowal is a former President of SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and a four-time Hugo Award winner. She has a long history with conventions beginning with her career in theater and extending through science-fiction and fantasy. Prior to becoming president of SFWA, she ran programming for the Nebula Conference for six years in addition to stepping in to reinvent and manage the programming for 2018's Worldcon 76 in San Jose. Last year, she chaired the 2020 Nebula Conference which made the rapid and highly successful two-month pivot from in person to virtual. “I’m excited to be working with DisCon III. One of my conditions before saying yes was that I wanted to speak to the Division Heads first. It will be a pleasure to work with such a dedicated, competent set of people,” Kowal said. “I believe that Worldcon begins with the fans in all our complex diversity. It is, at heart, about connecting with our community and celebrating our shared love of science fiction and fantasy.” The appointment of a professional author as Convention Chair of a Washington Worldcon has precedent. In 1974, the successful DisCon II was co-chaired by science fiction author and biologist Jack “Jay” Haldeman II. "We knew we needed someone experienced to guide DisCon III across the finish line," BWAWA president Michael Nelson said. "Mary Robinette Kowal's background as the former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, her experience with crafting the 2018 Worldcon’s program, and involvement with the annual Nebula Conference brings an interesting new perspective, especially related to the challenges of making a hybrid convention experience. As Mary Robinette herself has said, ‘All pros start out as fans.’ She is the perfect embodiment of fandom's unique relationship with the creators of SF&F. After Mary Robinette met with many of the key members of the DisCon III convention committee, it was clear to everyone she would be a great fit for the convention." Because Kowal is a finalist in two categories, DisCon III intends to keep a full firewall between the chair (and any other Hugo finalists working on the convention) and the voting and administration of the 2021 Hugo Awards. One of her conditions for considering the role was that the longstanding practice of an Independent Hugo subcommittee remain in place to isolate the Chair and other staff from Hugo Awards decisions. This separation will be further reinforced by the appointment of a vice-chair with independent authority to manage any needs of the division. Any questions about the Hugo Awards should be addressed to [email protected] Thank you for continuing to be a member of DisCon III, and we look forward to seeing you in DC in December! DisCon III is the 79th Worldcon, and the third to be held in Washington, DC. Previous DC-based Worldcons were held in 1963 (DisCon I) and 1974 (DisCon II). DisCon III will be held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel from December 15-19, 2021. DisCon III is sponsored by the Baltimore-Washington Area Worldcon Association, Inc. (BWAWA, Inc.), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Maryland.
  2. Room reservations opened up at 1 PM EDT today. They are only accessible via a link on the con's website in the member area, and you must already have an ATTENDING membership prior to booking. Room cost is, after taxes, just under $200/night. The con reports that they have arranged a discounted rate of $35/day for the valet parking at the hotel, but also warns that spaces will be limited.
  3. No idea if I'll make it to this, but I'll note that Luxembourg produces some excellent wines, especially dry whites and sparkling wines, though they are seldom seen here in the US. This makes perfect sense in terms of geography: the country's eastern border is the Moselle River. In Germany, on the other side of the stream, the Mosel region is one of the biggest of the country's 13 wine-producing regions -- and certainly the most famous, especially for high-quality white wines both sweet and dry. Luxembourgian wines are made with grapes such as Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Auxerrois Blanc, Gewürtztraminer, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Blanc, and tend to be similar in style to the wines produced in Alsace and some parts of Germany with the same varietals. They also produce several varieties of sweet wines: Vendanges tardives (late harvest), Vin de Glace (ice wine), and Vin de Paille (straw wine, made from raisinated grapes in a style similar to Italian vin santo). All can be quite excellent. A few years back, the DC chapter of the German Wine Society had a tasting I attended -- it conveniently overlapped with the Capclave convention, a few Metro stops away -- that was held at the Embassy of Luxembourg, featuring roughly two dozen wines from that country. I was quite impressed with most of the wines they served.
  4. At this point, it's too early to speculate on what will occur over the next eight months. So I'm simply not ruling out any possibilities and hoping that I'll get to see my old friends in person in December. Worldcon is the gathering of the tribe, even when said tribe is in the process of factionalization. And it's worth noting that Parris' connections to fandom essentially began in the DC/Baltimore area. So I don't think it's impossible that George and/or Parris will attend as individuals, though there exist many factors other than recent events that could influence the final decision -- pandemic status, work demands, health, etc. Also, if there are motions before the Business Meeting regarding changes to Best Related Work eligibility, one or both of them might well opt to express an opinion in person, even if distance options for participation are available. Side note: I'm reminded of Harlan Ellison's boycott of the con hotel when he was GoH at Iguanacon in '78. He was responding to the failure of Arizona legislators to approve the ERA, and stayed in a rented RV as a protest. Full details here: http://file770.com/just-an-innocent-question/
  5. While it may be nit-picking, I would note that choosing not to make an appearance, to me, equates to not being a program participant and still allows the option of being an attendee without such commitments.
  6. Hotel parking, either self-park or valet, is indeed ludicrously expensive in the DC area, though the con may negotiate a discounted rate once it has a definite venue. ETA: The Omni Shoreham's web site states that they only have valet parking. $35 for 0-4 hours; $55 for 4-24 hours. (Tax included.) A bit of web searching shows that there is a lot at 2631 Connecticut Avenue, a few blocks away from the hotel, with a rate of $22/day. There are lots scattered about the city with lower rates, and one could theoretically drop all the passengers, luggage, and alcohol at the hotel and then relocate the car and take public transit back. But the big advantage of a hotel's garage, in most cases, is that you have the vehicle handy should you want to take an off-site expedition. One thing I'm checking out is that a few of the DC Metro stations have a limited number of multi-day parking spaces in their lots and garages. These are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Greenbelt station has between 15-17 of them, for instance, with a cost of $8.95/day. (All Metro lots are FREE on weekends and Federal holidays, so you would not need to pay at all for part of the con.) Plus, of course, the subway fare to/from the hotel when you want the car. More info here: DC Metro Parking Lots
  7. Neither of the 2023 options really appeals to me, TBH. I wonder where the NASFiC will be if Chengdu wins.
  8. It's a reasonable question, especially as we're almost at the point where hotel reservations would open up for an August convention. I suspect the big issue for many people will be the various holidays celebrated in December. They may choose to spend vacation days and money on those events, rather than on a convention trip. It's also a little too early for schools to be closing for holiday/winter breaks, so parents with kids will not always be able to bring them along. University students, however, may have the option of attending. Airfares are often less in winter months, but that may not be true so close to the holiday season. Personally, I'd rather see a belated in-person event than a "timely" virtual event. But I'm in the position of not having either family or work obligations AND being within easy driving distance from DC (even in bad winter conditions).
  9. Agreed. I find myself wondering what mechanism they will use to include nominees in the Hugo Packet.
  10. This sounds quite lovely. If my budget survives a Glasgow Worldcon the previous year, I would definitely consider attending.
  11. Interesting that they couldn't be bothered notifying the paid-up members about this.
  12. GRRM will be happy that it's a Labor Day weekend event. (September 1-5, 2022) Guests of Honor: Author -- Charles de Lint Artist -- Floyd Norman Fan -- Edie Stern & Joe Siclari First Fandom -- Erle Korshak Toastmasters: Annalee Newitz & Charlie Jane Anders Website: https://chicon.org/ Hotel: Hyatt Regency Chicago Room rate is US $160/night for single, double, triple, or quad, plus 17.38% tax, for a total of US $187.78/night. Internet is free.
  13. There is an Israeli bid in the works, tentatively aiming at 2027. It has not taken any formal actions as of yet, but I'd expect to see some of that -- bid parties, pre-supporting memberships, etc. -- by '22 or '23. If you think that the current fuss is ugly, the notion of a con in Israel will be utterly feco-ventilatory in comparison.
  14. China is also paying for many authors to attend conventions there. It's not just fans who are getting the funding.
  15. One also wonders how welcome fans who are Jewish -- either by faith or ancestry -- would feel there.
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