Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Winter 2008

Of course, you’ve heard this great news for a Chall pal already, but let’s just pretend

You Heard it Here FIRST

Taral Wayne

Just a few hours ago, while it was still Sunday, I got the news.

The first part arises from the Labour Day Weekend being the traditional date of the World Science Fiction Convention, (usually known as The Worldcon.) This year it was held in Tokyo. One of the routine matters at the Worldcon every year is the selection of the Worldcon site two years in future.

This year the choice was between Kansas City in the U.S. and Montreal in Canada. Montreal seemed the dark horse. Most often, American voters will choose an American city for the convenience of not having to travel abroad. But not always, as evidenced by several U.K. and Australian Worldcons. There's been three in Canada before, and even one in Germany.

This year, as I said, it was between Kansas City, home of steak and jazz clubs, and on the other hand Montreal. Montreal was by far the more adventurous choice, since it's an international city -- its population speaks both French and English. As well there are many long established ethnic neighborhoods where a host of languages are spoken. It has old world architecture, a unique literary and musical scene, restaurants of every variety, a lively theatre community and a vibrant nightlife. But it's across an international border, and once again, Americans usually (though not always) prefer a domestic site.

To my surprise, Montreal was chosen over convenience and cheap airfares. Maybe all those Japanese voters tipped the balance?

What does this mean to me? Well ... I haven't been able to go to many Worldcons of late, what with the cost. Neil Gaiman as the announced Guest of Honour is certainly an interesting draw. (He was the writer for The Sandman comics, as well as the author of the novels Good Omens, American Gods, and The Anansi Boys) But that's not the real reason I'm boring you all with this.

The real reason I'm boring you with all this is that Worldcons also have *Fan* Guest of Honours... and the 2009 Worldcon chose ME as its FanGoH!


I'm not used to good news, so it was pretty hard at first knowing what to do in the face of the best news I've had in ages. So I reached for the phone to tell the first 500 people I could think of. Dammit though... I knew I could find a lead slug in a chest of gold coins! Almost everyone I knew was either *at* the Worldcon (and probably knew my news before I did) or had chosen the Labour Day Weekend for a bit of a holiday, and were out of town.

I don't want to sound flippant, this still has me excited and happy. I was never able to score a Hugo. Though I came close enough to view one from afar a few times, I never had enough votes in the final ballot to rise from the bottom of a slate of four or five. But this is easily in the same league. Maybe somewhat better. Lots of people win Hugos every year, but there are only three or four GoH at each Worldcon, and only one is the *Fan*GoH. In Canada, I share the distinction with only two others (one was FGoH at the first Aussie Worldcon in 1975, the other in Winnipeg). So plainly I'm in a more exclusive club.

Of course, it’s also a lot more arbitrary. Kansas City could have easily won and someone else would be GoH. For every Worldcon there has ever been, 66 so far, there has been at least one set of Guests of Honour who were disappointed, and sometimes more than one. Likely as not, they all deserved the recognition. Unfortunately, only a few could be so lucky.

And so for once I was lucky. Woo-hoo! I wish I could hold a party, but everyone is out of town...

Maybe I'll order a pizza tomorrow – go crazy and order double cheese *and* double pepperoni!


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