CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, will be making history, as it becomes the first ever ‘virtual Worldcon’, CoNZealand Chairs, Kelly Buehler and Norman Cates have announced.
"This has been an incredibly difficult decision, but one that had to be made now to give our guests and members some certainty during this extraordinary time for the world.
"The changes are coming fast and furious as New Zealand enters a four week lockdown. We are all dealing with an unprecedented set of circumstances that make it very difficult to plan for the future.
"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," they say.
Kelly and Norman noted that the con committee considered three choices – to move the date of CoNZealand, to cancel it completely, or to make it virtual. Of the three, the last was deemed the option that provided the best certainty about what they can do while still having time to make plans.
"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."
Information has been posted on the CoNZealand website regarding hotel room cancellations. This will be updated as more information becomes available.
"As we have said before, please look after one another, and stay in touch. Especially when we are each isolated, it is good to be reminded that we are a community.
"We are together for a reason beyond Worldcon. We are fans. We are passionate. We love science fiction, fantasy, comics, art, worldbuilding, reading, writing and a million other things. Let’s concentrate on being kind to one another and helping each other through a very difficult time," they say.