A UK committee last night launched a bid to hold the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention (aka, Worldcon) in London in August 2014. The bid was launched with a party at the 2010 UK National Science Fiction Convention, Odyssey 2010, where the choice of London as the host city for the bid was announced by British science fiction author Christopher Priest (who was a Guest Of Honour at Interaction, the previous UK Worldcon in Glasgow in 2005).
The Worldcon is the premier international science fiction event, and awards the prestigious Hugo Awards for achievement in the field of science fiction. 2014 will be the 75th anniversary of the first Worldcon, in New York in 1939, since when the event has been held every year apart from a break during the Second World War.
More often than not the Worldcon is held in North America, but it has visited the UK on six previous occasions, and there have also been Worldcons in Germany, Australia, the Netherlands and Japan. It was last hosted by London in 1965, nearly 50 years ago.
The site for each Worldcon is selected by vote of the members of the event held two years previously, so the 2014 site will be selected by the members of the 2012 Worldcon, which is likely to be held in Chicago. Between now and 2012, the bid committee will be publicising and promoting the bid to science fiction fans all around the world.
If the bid is successful, the convention would be held from 14-18 August 2014 in the new International Convention Centre, which is part of the ExCeL exhibition centre complex in London's Docklands. The name of the convention, and its Guests Of Honour, will only be announced once the bid has been won.
Mike Scott, co-chair of the bid committee, comments, “We’re excited by the opportunity to bring the Worldcon back to London after a gap of 49 years. 2014 will be the 75th anniversary of the first Worldcon in New York, and we’re hoping to mark the occasion in another great world city. London is the home of the UK’s publishing and media industries, and is the largest and most diverse city in Western Europe. We think this gives us a chance to run a very special Worldcon, bringing together the best elements of different science fiction traditions, and reaching out to new science fiction fans from all around the world.”
The bid, and the convention itself, will be non-profit-making organisations run entirely by unpaid volunteers. The bid will be primarily financed by the sale of “pre-supporting” and “friend” memberships, costing £12 and £60 respectively and giving discounts on membership of the convention itself. One of the objectives of the bid is to encourage a greater interest in the Worldcon and the science fiction community among the next generation of science fiction fans, and heavily discounted rates are available for members who will be aged under 26 at the time of the convention. Memberships, and further details about the bid, are available via the bid's website: http://www.londonin2014.org/