Worldcon, a.k.a. the World Science Fiction Convention, is a science fiction convention that has been held from 1939 to 1941 and then every year since 1946 somewhere on the planet (so far). Most Worldcons have been in the United States, but they have also taken place in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. The 2007 Worldcon will be the first to be held in Japan.
The name is owned by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) (whose members are the members of the convention), but the convention itself is typically run by local fan organizations, which organize "bids" to host Worldcon. For over 20 years bids were voted on three years in advance by the Worldcon membership – for example, the site of the 2007 Worldcon in Yokohama was selected in voting by members of the 2004 Worldcon in Boston – but in 2004 the rules were amended to revert to the earlier practice of selecting the site two years in advance, hence there will be no site selection held in 2005. Since 1975, the WSFS has administered a parallel bidding process for a North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC), scheduled during years where the Worldcon is being held outside of the North American continent. NASFiC bids are voted on by Worldcon membership two years in advance (in other words, the year after a non-North American Worldcon site has been selected).
Members of Worldcon (attending or not) vote on which speculative fiction works (writing, artwork, performance, and works related to science fiction or fandom) of the previous year will receive a Hugo Award.
Activities at a Worldcon include (but are not limited to):
- panels -- on technology of the future, writing, publishing, the philosophical and sociological implications of the genre's works, recent scientific discoveries, etc.
- speeches or other presentations by the guests of honor
- gaming (role-playing games (live-action and table), board games, card games)
- filk music
- costuming -- a competition, and whatever people are wearing in the halls
- presentation of Hugo awards
- shopping -- there is generally a large hall full of people selling books, movies, jewellery, costumes (often including weapons), games, comic books, etc.
- an art show, presenting paintings, drawings, sculpture and other work, primarily on science fiction and fantasy themes
- live performances (Klingon opera, productions of Rossum's Universal Robots, etc.)
- voting on where the Worldcon two years later shall be
- watching science fiction movies, television shows, etc.
- meetings regarding other WSFS business
- www.wsfs.org – More source info and Hugo Award winners