Chicon 8

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Chicon 8, the 80th Worldcon and (as-you-know-Bob) eighth in Chicago, was held September 1–5, 2022, at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in Chicago, IL.

GoHs: Charles de Lint (Author), Floyd Norman (Artist), Edie Stern and Joe Siclari (Fan), Erle Korshak[1] (First Fandom), Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due (writers).

Korshak died in August 2021; in March 2022, de Lint withdrew due to family health issues and Chicon "released" him so that he might be a Worldcon GoH at another time. In June 2022, Chicon announced that Norman would be "unable to participate in Chicon 8 at the level of Guest of Honor" and that Barnes and Due would be additional Guests of Honor for the con.

In November 2021, the convention announced three "Featured Guests" soon renamed Special Guests ("folks that we view as either “up and coming or [... not] as well known in Worldcon circles as ... they should be. We looked for ... historically marginalized groups, and ... with Chicago connections"): Dr. Eve L. Ewing (sociologist and writer), Gene Ha (comics artist), and Eric Wilkerson (illustrator).

Chicon 8 was chaired by Helen Montgomery. Toastmasters were Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders.

The Chicago in 2022 bid soundly defeated Jeddicon in Saudi Arabia by 517 votes to 33 at the 2022 Site Selection conducted by CoNZealand two years earlier. Chicon 8 hosted the 2023 NASFiC Site Selection, won by the unopposed Winnipeg in '23 bid, and the 2024 Worldcon Site Selection, won by the unopposed Glasgow 2024 bid. The 2022 Hugos were held.

The convention newsletter, named Star Chart, was a weblog by Rex Allen Hughes, entirely online. Chicon also had a printed souvenir book; a pdf pocket program distributed only online; an online program guide app (which crashed for some time on Sunday); printed program grids passed out only on request at the Information Desk; a multi-page website including the newsletter; a Facebook page; a separate Facebook group; plus Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Airmeet accounts, with some of the program virtual only, some live only and some mixed.


Highlights[edit]

Chicon 8 presented a Special Committee Award to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.

Late GoH Erle Korshak was represented by a life-sized cardboard cutout (contributed by Fanac.org); his son, Stephen Korshak; and their amazing Korshak Collection of stfnal art. GoHs Edie Stern and Joe Siclari also displayed their extensive art collection.

The concom had announced that it would not exercise its option to run the 1947 Retro Hugos, but instead had a 1946 Fiction and Fandom Retrospective Program Track, coordinated by Cora Buhlert. This included an exhibit of a mock-up of a 1940s fannish den created by First Fandom Experience.

A crew of techies from Chicago’s Build a Blinkie presided over a weekend-long blinkie soldering workshop in the exhibit space.

Lesleigh Luttrell celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Down Under Fan Fund and her trip with a party co-hosted by Fanac.org. The CFG hosted a brief memorial for Roger Sims.

Business Meeting Highlights[edit]

The 2022 WSFS Business Meeting ran over into a Monday session. Among other business, it ratified an amendment to the WSFS Constitution passed at Discon III in 2021 that does away with supporting and attending memberships to Worldcon.

Beginning in 2023, only annual memberships in WSFS will be offered. These convey all the rights previously granted to supporting members, such as voting on the Hugo Awards and Site Selection and receiving publications — however, they are not transferable.

WSFS members may then buy ticketsattending supplements” in order to be allowed into that year’s convention. (These may be transferred, but only to people who already hold WSFS memberships.) The change was ratified by a vote of 46–40.

In new business, the BM passed a proposal to create a new Hugo Award category for Best Game or Interactive Work. This must be ratified in 2023 to take effect in 2024, plus it requires re-ratification at the 2028 Business Meeting.

The meeting also adopted two continuing resolutions of solidarity with Ukrainian fans, the first “recognizing that Ukraine has been invaded by fascists. We encourage all to boycott those who would platform or champion the illegal invasion.” The second condemns “Worldcon 2023’s Guest of Honour, Sergey Lukianenko’s appalling utterances, calling Ukrainians Nazis and encouraging an illegal invasion of Ukraine. This is utterly unacceptable. Lukianenko should neither be platformed nor celebrated, and we ask the Chengdu 2023 committee, fans and members to refuse Sergei Lukianenko as your guest.” Neither resolution has more than symbolic effect.

Accessibility Issues[edit]

Despite heroic efforts by its Accessibility Services team, led by Katie Anderson, the con suffered from difficulties that disproportionately affected people with disabilities, an ever larger proportion of Worldcon’s aging community. The entire Chicago area sold out of rental mobies over the weekend, an issue exacerbated by Covid-19 parts supply-chain problems.

The Hyatt Regency Chicago, built in 1974, before the Americans with Disabilities Act, is a massive two-tower hotel with the usual hassles (“It's in the other tower!”) and its East Tower, where the main lobby, restaurants, much of the program and the party rooms were, is served by only one small elevator to the underground levels that housed the art show, hucksters' room, fan tables, exhibits and other popular functions (and shared with baggage to the parking garage) making getting up and down challenging for those on wheels.

Meanwhile, there were accessibility issues with Airmeet, Chicon’s virtual program platform, as well. Not to mention that large areas of the function space were blocked from internet service.

Covid-19 and other ailments[edit]

Despite a mask mandate and vaccination requirements, 60 attendees had reported contracting Covid-19 while at Chicon 8 by the time the concom stopped tracking on September 10.

There were no reports of monkeypox. On Facebook, a number of attendees said they tested negative but nevertheless had symptoms of respiratory con crud.

After the convention, Chicon revealed anonymous death threats had been sent beforehand about two participating pros, Patrick S. Tomlinson and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, but nothing untoward happened.

Links[edit]

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  1. Or “Early” as the toastmasters repeatedly and unapologetically referred to Korshak during opening ceremonies, despite the flame fests about mispronounced names following CoNZealand in 2020. No one told them to “Fuck off into the sun.”



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