1939’s World’s Fair was a long time ago, A group of fans decided a science fiction convention in New York City during the World’s Fair would be fun, so they called it “The World Science Fiction Convention.” They didn’t really intend it to be an on-going, traveling international event but seven decades later here we are. Except for a short break for World War II, there’s been a Worldcon every year since.
Worldcon has a strong basis in science fiction and fantasy literature, but it’s grown to embrace genre television, movies and animation too. Panel discussions about the works of the day, and the classics, have always been a part of Worldcons.
Fans (and pros) dressed in original and recreation costumes for masked balls and costume contests that evolved into the modern convention masquerade. Forrest J Ackerman, fan extraordinare, and Myrtle Douglas attended the original World Science Fiction convention in their “futuricostumes,” making costume and cosplay one of our oldest traditions.
In 1953, Worldcon started presenting the Science Fiction Achievement Awards. These days we know them as the Hugo Awards, named after pioneering editor Hugo Gernsback. Hugo Awards are nominated and voted by the membership of Worldcon.
But in the end, Worldcon is about fandom. It’s about getting together with people who share an interest in science fiction and fantasy, who want to build a community. And it’s those fans who decide, not just who wins the Hugo Awards, but where Worldcon is going to be.
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