The changes due to the rampant COVID-19 coronavirus are still coming fast as New Zealand enters into a four-week lockdown. The 78th annual World Science Fiction convention was to happen July 29-August 2 2020 in Wellington New Zealand. Today, convention organizers announced they will “virtualize” the event.
On their website they said:
“The choices we are faced with are:
- Move the date of CoNZealand. We are constrained in the ability to move the con by the timing of other events that have booked the venues. It might be possible to move it to the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, but that would put undue pressure on fans to travel to two Worldcons too close together, and there is no certainty about whether there would be another wave of illness.
- Cancelling CoNZealand and minimally fulfilling the WSFS requirements. This would certainly be the easiest, but not necessarily the best or most fulfilling, choice.
- Virtualise CoNZealand. This choice provides certainty about what we are aiming to do while we still have time to make the plans. This will allow folks who can’t travel this far or those who are immunocompromised to attend.
The strong belief that we can put on a great Worldcon has led us to the decision to make CoNZealand a virtual convention. Our Tech Division is confident they can deliver a virtual Worldcon and are excited about the possibilities.
We are standing by our decision not to cancel, but in consideration of the health, safety, and wellbeing of our members and crew, we think that holding a large face-to-face event, even if it were possible would be irresponsible. “
Memberships will be required for people to participate in the interactive virtual convention, rates to be determined by April 15th.
Guests of Honor are:
MERCEDES LACKEY – Author Guest of Honour
LARRY DIXON – Author Guest of Honour
GREG BROADMORE – New Zealand Artist Guest of Honour
ROSE MITCHELL – Fan Guest of Honour
GEORGE R.R. MARTIN – Our Toastmaster
The convention is planning on having as many guests of honor and panelists as possible participate in the virtual con. The con will contact programme participants.
Refunds will be made for hotel, airfare, etc.
More info at ConZealand
Worldcon, formally the World Science Fiction Convention, is the annual convention of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS). It has been held each year since 1939 (except for the years 1942 to 1945, during World War II). The members of each Worldcon are the members of WSFS, and vote both to select the site of the Worldcon two years later, and to select the winners of the annual Hugo Awards, which are presented at each convention.