I’ve covered all my ballots, so time for a personal plea. I’m based in Brisbane, but I did most of my growing up in Wellington, New Zealand. At this years Worldcon, site selection voting will occur for Worldcon 78 in 2020, and Wellington is the only venue on the ballot. However, it is theoretically possible that a strong push of write ins or none of the aboves could derail the process. I’m not affiliated with the Wellington organisers in any way,1 but I love it as a city, have family there, and importantly, visit semi-regularly so could probably get to a Worldcon there.
I’m not going to lie, the most famous song about the place literally starts with a description of its terrible weather,2 and in late July it might be underselling it. But Wellington is the cultural heart of one of the most beautiful countries on earth. It has a strong literary culture, with classic book shops, National and City Libraries, and Katherine Mansfield’s home in the cities inner suburbs. For those going out, there is a vibrant beer and coffee culture, 3 and like the rest of the country, the ice cream is second to none.4 New Zealand prides itself on being welcoming to all, and if Wellington isn’t as diverse as Auckland, it tries harder.
For the SFF fan, it is of course the home to Weta studios,5 Lord of the Rings locations are scattered around the country, and Peter Jackson’s early films were filmed in the outer suburbs of Wellington.6 New Zealand has appeared in numerous science fiction tales, whether as a prison settlement in Star Trek, a refuge at the end of the worlds in the Chrysalids, or as a home to vampires and werewolves (not swear-wolves). The national museum has even preserved key pieces of NZ’s SFF heritage. Between New Zealand and Australia, I’m sure it will attract a broad range of local SFF talent and diverse voices.
All of these points have clearly convinced you that Wellington is a worthy host, so what can you, dear reader, do to help? Well the easiest thing is just not be an idiot and vote against it. If you want to be more supportive however, you can go to the Worldcon site, pay for an advance supporting membership to Worldcon 78, and vote for Wellington. 78
- Actually, I just had to frantically check the ballot to confirm this, as Wellington is not THAT big a place. I’m guaranteed to know someone who knows someone on the organising committee.
- Wellington, by the Mutton Birds (spotify, youtube).
- Start reading my favourite Philosopher/Beer writer in preparation.
- Just don’t ask about the night life.
- And is the home of the NZ film industry generally.
- I grew up around many of Bad Taste’s filming locations.
- Which I must admit I haven’t done yet, but I have until the 18th to justify spending the money.
- Pictures from 15 years ago – Top, me at Wellington’s iconic bucket fountain, right, a Nazgul infestation on one of Wellington’s most famous cinemas.