For the first time ever, Worldcon—the annual World Science Fiction Convention—will take place not in August, but in December. DisCon III, as this year’s event is known, will be held December 15 through 19 at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, DC.
Notably, this means that the winners of the Hugo Awards will not be announced until December. Finalists will still be announced on April 13th, but an update on the con website notes that there will be shifts in the voting timeline.
It’s official – DisCon III is moving 📦🚚
For the first time in Worldcon history, Worldcon will happen in December. ❄️☃️
— DisCon III – The 79th Worldcon (@worldcon2021) April 7, 2021
As with everything, the pandemic has had a considerable effect on conventions. Last year’s CoNZealand was held entirely virtually, and did not go off without its share of hitches. Planning for this year’s Worldcon has been complicated, to say the least; as organizers note:
We considered our members, staff, and potential members’ preferences. We have monitored the legality of an in-person event. As well as preference, we had contractual obligations which were developed long before the pandemic hit and we had to make the adjustments we could agree with our partners. None of this was simple and to not say anything which would force us into a breach of contract situation, we haven’t been able to say much until now.
A December 2020 poll of attendees indicated the majority of people would rather wait and have an in-person event. There will still be some virtual programming for those who prefer not to travel or attend a convention this year.
For more details and information on the date change and con plans, see the DisCon III site.