BristolCon, Sasquan, Sirens memberships available

The following free memberships are now available for fans of color/non-white fans:

  • Sasquan, August 19-23, 2015, Spokane, WA, USA. Sasquan is the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon). Its guests of honor are Brad Foster, David Gerrold, Vonda N. McIntyre, Tom Smith, and Leslie Turek.

    Sasquan donated three attending memberships to Con or Bust, which have been claimed. An individual has also donated an attending membership to Con or Bust.

  • BristolCon, September 26th 2015, Bristol, UK. BristolCon is a fun, friendly and informative one-day con. Its Guests of Honour in 2015 will be writers Jasper Fforde and Jaine Fenn, with a possible artist GoH to be confirmed.

    BristolCon has donated two memberships to Con or Bust, which should be claimed by the end of August.

  • Sirens, October 8–11, 2015, Denver, CO, USA. Sirens is a conference dedicated to the remarkable women of fantasy literature: readers, authors, publishing professionals, scholars, educators, librarians, and even characters. Its Guests of Honor are Rae Carson, Kate Elliott, and Yoon Ha Lee, and its theme is rebels and revolutionaries.

    Sirens has donated three registrations and shuttle tickets to Con or Bust.

These can be requested individually or, through May 25, as part of a broader assistance request. Please see the Request Assistance page for more information, and please spread the word!


Request assistance through Monday, May 25

Reminder: Con or Bust will be accepting requests for assistance from fans of color/non-white fans to attend SFF cons through Monday, May 25. (Requests must be timestamped on or before 11:59 p.m. Eastern; I may or may not be awake to turn the form off.)

Here’s how to request assistance, and here’s the list of upcoming cons for which specific assistance is available. Please spread the word!


Invisible 2 anthology to benefit Con or Bust

Cover Jim C. Hines today announced publication of Invisible 2, a ebook anthology of essays about representation in science fiction and fantasy, all proceeds from which benefit Con or Bust.

The anthology contains 19 essays; an introduction by Aliette de Bodard; and a list of all the suggested books and stories from the comments and conversations online (full Table of Contents is behind the jump). The cover art is by Mark Ferrari.

It can be purchased at:

(iBooks availability is apparently forthcoming.)

Check it out, and thanks to Jim and all the contributors for agreeing to benefit Con or Bust!

Read More →


final auction report & feedback request; 2014-2015 activity report

I’m very pleased to report that the final total of pledged bids in the 2015 Con or Bust auction stands at $10,139. Donations during the auction, including the matching gift, bring the total for the Con or Bust’s 2015-2016 funds to $12,726. This doesn’t beat last year’s record, but is still the second-highest amount raised during the auction period in Con or Bust’s existence.

If you haven’t paid for your auction item yet, check out this post for information and to ask any questions. And if you have feedback about the auction, I would be very glad to hear it. I’m particularly interested in what people thought of the new last-minute bidding—in terms of the load the website was under, it seemed to work pretty well to me—and any suggestions for people who might donate items next year.

I’m also pleased to report on Con or Bust’s activity since the last auction. From March 2014 through May 2015, Con or Bust provided assistance 95 times to help 85 different people attend 25 different cons. Of those 95 times, 41 did not include monetary assistance, only donated memberships (or, in one case, a hotel room donated by a convention). Monetary assistance was provided 54 times, sometimes in conjunction with donated memberships. The awards ranged from $25 to $2,300; 34 of the 54 awards were $500 or less. This is a huge expansion of Con or Bust’s reach, and I’m very proud of it and grateful for all the community support that made it possible.

Thanks again for all your help and support during the auction and over the past year. And, of course, you can always support Con or Bust by donating money or con memberships and by spreading the word about the availability of assistance, including free memberships available now and monetary assistance to be requested from May 15-25.

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free con memberships: now available & coming soon

The following upcoming cons have donated memberships to Con or Bust:

  • Octocon, October 9-11, Dublin, Ireland. Octocon is the National Irish Science Fiction Convention. Its Guests of Honor this year are Maura McHugh and Emma Newman.

    Octocon has donated two memberships to Con or Bust.

  • AnomalyCon, March 25-27, 2016, Denver, CO, USA. AnomalyCon is a steampunk and alternate history convention. Its 2016 theme is Journey on the Silk Road, and its featured confirmed special guests (so far!) are Shelley Adina, Elizabeth Bear, Delilah S. Dawson, Frenchy and the Punk, Jaymee Goh, Emmy Jackson, David Malki !, Lisa Mantchev, The Cog Is Dead, Chuck Wendig, and Brenna Yovanoff.

    AnomalyCon has donated twenty (20) passes to Con or Bust, to be claimed by March 1, 2016. (Note that AnomalyCon has a policy of legal names on badges.)

    (AnomalyCon also has a separate sponsored pass program for those experiencing financial hardship, so if you’re not a fan of color/non-white fan and need assistance to go to AnomalyCon, check it out!)

These memberships will be available during Con or Bust’s next assistance request period, May 15-25, and thereafter; see the Upcoming Cons page for more cons that have donated memberships.

Con or Bust also has memberships available immediately for the following upcoming cons:

  • WisCon, May 22-25, 2015, Madison, WI, USA. WisCon is the world’s leading feminist science fiction convention. Its Guests of Honor are Alaya Dawn Johnson and Kim Stanley Robinson.

    WisCon donated six memberships and a dessert ticket to Con or Bust, which have all been claimed; and three individuals have also donated memberships, of which one remains.

  • Archipelacon, June 25-28, 2015, Mariehamn, Åland, Finland. Archipelacon is the Nordic SF & Fantasy convention (but its main language will be English). Its Guests of Honor are George R.R. Martin, Johanna Sinisalo, and Karin Tidbeck.

    Archipelacon has donated two memberships to Con or Bust.

  • Pi-Con, July 31-August 2, 2015, Windsor Locks, CT, USA. Pi-Con is “the friendliest little convention in New England”; its Guest of Honor is Tanya Huff and its Guest of Awesome is Vikki Ciaffone.

    Pi-Con has donated six memberships to Con or Bust.

  • Nine Worlds, 7-9 August 2015, London, UK. Nine Worlds is about gaming, film, cosplay, fandom, literature, science, geek culture, meeting people and having a really big party.

    Nine Worlds has donated twenty (20) passes to Con or Bust, to be claimed by 1 August, of which 18 remain.

Please spread the word!


matching gift met!

I’m very pleased to report that the $250 matching gift has been met, and as a result donations since its announcement have been doubled. Donations of any amount are always gratefully received, however, along with other forms of support. Thanks to all the donors!


the auction’s (mostly) over, now what?

If the magic of scheduled posts has worked properly, this has posted at 4:01 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, May 3, 2015, and Con or Bust’s 2015 auction is now over—except for items that had last-minute bids.

(Reminder: if bidding is still live on something, do not wait until the last second to bid. While I have improved the performance of this website considerably since last year, if your comment doesn’t go through I can’t do anything about it, because in order to be fair and transparent, the timestamp of posted comments is the only thing that counts. Give yourself the margin that the new rules allow.)

Is Bidding Over? Did I Win?

This year, bidding was extended for last-minute bids, so here’s a refresher on whether the bidding on any specific item is over yet:

Was a valid bid on an item posted with a timestamp from 3:50 and 4:00 p.m. today? A valid bid is higher than the last one.

  • No.
    • If the last valid bid on an item was timestamped 3:49 p.m. or earlier, then that bid is automatically the winner.
  • Yes.
    • If a valid bid was timestamped 3:50 p.m., 4:00 p.m., or any time in-between, then bidding on that item is automatically extended until 4:10 p.m.
    • Next, either:
      • no further bids are received timestamped on or before 4:10 p.m., and therefore bidding is over at 4:10 p.m. and the last high bid wins; or,
      • another bid is timestamped on or before 4:10 p.m., and bidding continues until 4:20 p.m. Repeat as necessary.

The extending and closing of bidding is automatic and the determinations are purely mechanical; no mod ruling is required.

If you can’t quite remember what you bid on, you can either search for the name you would have commented under in the sidebar, or you can comment here using the same email address you would have used for bidding and we will email you when the spreadsheet is sorted out.

I Won; What Do I Do Now?

Congratulations and thanks very much! You can pay with a PayPal account or a credit card (after you click the orange button below, click “Continue” on the left side of the screen, above the credit card logos). On the “review your donation” screen, please click “Add special instructions to the seller” and state what auction item or items this is for. (It’s fine to aggregate payments for multiple auctions. No-one’s ever run out of room, but if you do, just email with the information.)

Other things that should go in the “special instructions” field: (1) if your email address is different from the one you used to comment; (2) if you DON’T want your PayPal mailing address to be used to ship your item to.

Once you’ve paid, you will get an email acknowledgment of your payment and we will notify your seller.

I Offered Something for Auction; What Do I Do Now?

Thank you for offering something! Just wait until you get email from, letting you know that your winner has paid and providing you with their contact information. Then make whatever arrangements are necessary!

If you can’t quite remember all the things you offered, use the search or the index to find any one post, and then click on your name next to “Posted by” to see all the posts you’ve made.

Finally, I mention this only because some people have asked if they could do it in past years: if bidding was vigorous, you may, where practical and in your sole discretion, offer additional items to people with the high losing bids or who got their bids in late. But that would be an entirely optional exercise of extreme generosity on your part—which means, bidders, don’t importune or I will frown disapprovingly at you over the Internet.

I Need Help!

Comment here or email It is very important to me that everyone who participates in the auction be satisfied that they were treated fairly, and I want to hear about any concerns or problems.


24 hours left in Con or Bust’s auction!

Thanks to the magic of scheduled posts, it should be 24 hours until Sunday, May 3, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern (time zone conversions, countdown), when bidding ends in Con or Bust’s auction. Except, of course, for items with last-minute bids, in which case bidding is extended; I reproduce the new rules on bidding extensions behind the “Read more,” for a quick refresher.

Note: the new rule change means you should not wait until the last second to bid! While I have improved the performance of this website considerably since last year, if your comment doesn’t go through I can’t do anything about it, because in order to be fair and transparent, the timestamp of posted comments is the only thing that counts. Give yourself the margin that the new rules allow.

As always, check out the auction index for any bargains you may have overlooked; it can be sorted by any column if you either right-click on that column’s letter or click anywhere in the column and then choose “Data” and “Sort Sheet” from the menu bar across the top. Happy bidding! (And don’t forget that non-auction donations can be doubled through Monday!)

Read More →


reminder: double your donation to Con or Bust through Monday

In addition to the auction, of course, Con or Bust is also delighted and grateful to accept donations to help fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons! Moreover, thanks to a matching gift from an anonymous donor, any regular donation (not an auction payment or a T-shirt order) that is received through Monday, May 4, will be matched until the gift of $250 is met.

You can donate with a PayPal account or a credit card (after you click the orange button below, click “Continue” on the left side of the screen, above the credit card logos). On the “review your donation” screen, please click “Add special instructions to the seller” and state that this is for the matching gift. (Soon there will be many, many auction payments to process and this will make bookkeeping immensely easier.)

And if you’d like to add to the matching gift itself, that would exceptionally be wonderful; email me at to arrange it.

Thanks, and please spread the word!