The 81st World Science Fiction Convention, also known as WorldCon, is set to take place in Chengdu, China. This is a historic event as it is the first time that this prestigious convention, which has a history of more than 80 years, will be held in China. Chengdu will be the second Asian city to host this convention, following Yokohama in Japan.
Over the course of five days, science fiction enthusiasts from around the world will come together to discuss the future. The convention will provide a platform for exchanging views on new technology trends, exploring the direction of humanity, and even contemplating the Earth’s destiny in the universe.
At present, humanity stands at a crucial moment with numerous advancements and challenges. Developments such as generative artificial intelligence, controlled nuclear fusion, quantum computing and communication, life sciences, and deep space exploration have placed us on the threshold of an uncertain future. Additionally, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, technological warfare, famine, riots, and terrorist attacks compel us to rethink mankind’s path and how we can survive in an increasingly challenging environment. Science fiction, known as Prophecy for Tomorrow, becomes particularly relevant during such times, which is why the theme of this year’s convention is the Symbiosis Era.
Science fiction originated in the United Kingdom in the 19th century and was introduced to China in the early 20th century by influential writer Lu Xun and others. It focuses on the intersection of science and fantasy, examining the impact of technological progress on society and exploring the potential future of humanity and the world.
The decision to hold the 81st WorldCon in Chengdu was made during the 79th World Science Fiction Conference in Washington D.C. in 2021. Chengdu, with its vibrant science fiction community and being home to the globally renowned magazine Science Fiction World, emerged as the winning bidding city. China’s science fiction industry, including publications and films, has grown significantly, reaching an output value of 87.75 billion yuan (approximately 12.2 billion U.S. dollars) in 2022. Furthermore, Chinese science fiction films like The Wandering Earth have achieved tremendous success at the box office, contributing to China’s reputation as a futuristic country.
Chinese science fiction has gained international recognition, with several foreign universities offering courses on Chinese science fiction and students writing dissertations on the topic. Each year, hundreds of Chinese science fiction works are translated into dozens of languages, spreading the influence of Chinese science fiction worldwide.
The 2023 Chengdu WorldCon will serve as a global platform for science fiction writers and fans to gather and delve into common topics of concern. Chinese science fiction enthusiasts will provide unique perspectives on the future of mankind, stimulating interest and discussions. Through thought experiments and brainstorming, participants can seek answers from various viewpoints on the theme of coexistence in the future.
In 2007, the World Science Fiction Conference held in Yokohama, Japan, saw only a four-member delegation from China. However, this year, thousands of Chinese science fiction writers and fans, including many young people, will gather in Chengdu. Their participation in sharing knowledge about new technology and visions of a new world contributes to shaping the future. By embracing science fiction, individuals can create a path towards a more imaginative and magical future.
In conclusion, the upcoming World Science Fiction Convention in Chengdu marks a significant milestone for China and the global science fiction community. The convention will provide a platform for lively discussions on the future, the challenges humanity faces, and the potential solutions that science fiction can offer. With the growing influence of Chinese science fiction and the enthusiasm of Chinese enthusiasts, the 2023 Chengdu WorldCon promises to be an exciting and thought-provoking event.