Discon III

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The 79th Worldcon, Discon III, will be held December 15–19, 2021, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.

The con has been fraught with troubles. It was to have been held August 25-29 2021, at the Marriott Wardman Park and Omni Shoreham. Because of the Covid-19 epidemic, it will not be held as scheduled but postponed to December.

The con conducted a poll in December 2020 to determine fan preference, but did not release the results until April 7, 2021, due to legal issues over its hotel contracts. Two-thirds of the respondents said they preferred a live Worldcon in December over an earlier online event. However, the Worldcon will offer virtual memberships and events in addition to the in-person convention.

In the summer of 2020, the Marriott Wardman Park announced that the hotel, which had been closed since March due to Covid-19, might shut down permanently, with a final decision scheduled for sometime in the Fall of 2020. Subsequently, the Wardman Park’s owners filed for bankruptcy, announced the hotel’s permanent closing, and their intent to sell the property.

Discon III is chaired by Bill Lawhorn. Colette Fozard was co-chair but resigned in January 2021 due to abuse from the online community over the Worldcon’s (quickly rescinded) announcements regarding limits on certain credits for large teams receiving Hugo nominations. She issued a statement on File 770. (IA)

GoHs: Author GoH, Nancy Kress; Artist GoH, John Harris; Fan GoH, Ben Yalow; Special Guests, Malka Older and Sheree Renée Thomas.

The convention had announced Baen BooksToni Weisskopf as Editor GoH. However, after what many viewed as toxic content on her company’s online user forums was publicized (IA) by Jason Sanford on February 15, 2021, the concom announced it was “monitoring” the situation. Weisskopf took down the forums the next day, promising to investigate. However, Discon issued a statement on February 19 (IA), saying, in part:

DisCon III condemns the violent and hostile content found within Baen Books’ forums. We also cannot condone the fact such content was enabled and allowed to ferment for so long. We want to make it clear abusive behavior is not, and will not be, tolerated at DisCon III. Such behavior goes entirely against our already established policies concerning inclusivity and creating a welcoming environment for our members.... As a result, after discussion with her, we have notified Toni Weisskopf we are removing her as a Guest of Honor for DisCon III.

This marked the first time a Worldcon had ever removed a GoH. The decision was controversial, to say the least.

The DC in 2021 bid was selected at Dublin 2019 in an uncontested race and will conduct site selection for the 2023 Worldcon. The con is sponsored by the Baltimore Washington Area Worldcon Association ("BAWAWA").

In November 2020, the concom announced it would implement a special Hugo Award category for “Best Video Game” in the 2021 Hugo Awards.


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