My first choice would be Montréal. Can you imagine a better site for a science fiction convention than the Palais des congrès?
Montréal is a short 5 hour drive for me, it is one of my favorite cities that I have visited, and I several Canadian friends whom I would want to visit while up there. My daughter is a bit of a Francophile and would relish the opportunity to hear French spoken in daily life. I have more reasons, and most of them involve smoked meat.
My last choice would be Washington DC. I go to Washington DC every year, at least once a year, for the main annual meeting of my profession (National Council of University Research Administrators - NCURA). It is the most slender of the application packages. The hotel that they have booked is huge, and hideous, in a relatively dull part of town. And August is the worst possible time of year to be in DC, which I know not only from having formerly lived there, but because August is when NCURA has its meetings. If it is guaranteed that I will spend some of August cooped up in an ugly DC hotel discussing research administration, I do not want to spend more of August cooped up in another ugly DC hotel discussing science fiction.
For the middle slots, it is a tough choice between Helsinki and Japan. On the one hand, Japan has some of my favorite science fiction authors working right now. A WorldCon in Japan could be genuinely interesting in a way that few other sites could. However, it is not in Tokyo but in Shizuoka, a city more than 2 hours by train to its south. Granted, that is a train ride that takes you past Mount Fuji, but the sight of Mount Fuji would just get me thinking, "why should I spend my time in Japan talking about science fiction in a convention center, rather than seeing Japan?" Helsinki, on the other hand, is the capital city, so it is more likely that attendees from a wide variety of countries would be able to get affordable flights. I know as little Finnish as I do Japanese, but the Finns are known for the high rates of fluency in English as a second language. And while Finland is not a country I might think to visit otherwise, that might be the attraction of holding WorldCon there. So for those reasons, Helsinki edges out Japan for me, narrowly.
Of course, for the outcome of this vote to mean anything for me hinges on three contingencies:
- For the Hugo award to not be rendered insignificant by Unhousebroken Puppies.
- For something Hugo-eligible to be published in my name in the year 2016.
- For enough of you people to read and enjoy that something and nominate it.
Whatever the outcome of all those contingencies, if you ever see me in Montréal, Worldcon or no, please let me know if there's any smoked meat grease dribbling off my chin.