Category: Information

Request assistance through Wednesday, Nov. 25

Reminder: Con or Bust will be accepting requests for assistance from fans of color/non-white fans to attend SFF cons through Wednesday, November 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!


availability of assistance for ICFA

People have asked whether assistance is available for fans of color/non-white fans attending ICFA, the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. After gathering information, it appears to me that ICFA is principally an academic conference, which is outside Con or Bust’s scope, but that it contains a smaller but distinct SFF convention portion. Therefore, Con or Bust assistance is potentially available to fans of color/non-white fans planning to attend ICFA who are not presenting a paper there. The usual procedure will be followed for determining whether any particular request for assistance can be granted; please see the Request Assistance page for more information.

Assistance can be requested through November 25, 2015 for all upcoming SFF cons; the next assistance-request period is February 15-25, 2016.


last-minute free memberships to SFContario 6

Fans of color/non-white fans who can get to Toronto this weekend:

Four free memberships (edit: one of which has been claimed) are available to SFContario 6, November 20-22, 2016, Toronto, ON, Canada. SFContario is a general-interest con with a literary focus; this year, its Guests of Honor are Saladin Ahmed, Peter Watts, and Tom Smith. The memberships have been donated by the con.

See the Request Assistance page for information on how to request these memberships, or to request other assistance from Con or Bust (now through November 25!). Thanks, and please spread the word!


free memberships to JordanCon, GeekGirlCon now available

The following free SFF con memberships are now available to fans of color/non-white fans:

  • JordanCon, April 22-24, 2016, Atlanta, GA, USA. JordanCon is a fantasy literature convention founded in honor of the late author, Robert Jordan; in 2016 it will also be hosting DeepSouthCon 54, which is the Southeast’s premiere regional convention for fans of genre literature. Its Guests of Honor are Catherine Asaro and John Picacio.

    JordanCon has donated two memberships to Con or Bust, which must be claimed by March 27, 2016.

  • GeekGirlCon, October 8 & 9, 2016, Seattle, WA, USA. GeekGirlCon celebrates and honors the legacy of women contributing to science and technology; comics, arts, and literature; and game play and game design by connecting geeky women world-wide and creating community to foster continued growth of women in geek culture through events.

    GeekGirlCon has donated ten passes to Con or Bust.

See the Request Assistance page for information on how to request these memberships, or to request other assistance from Con or Bust (now through November 25!). Thanks, and please spread the word!


reminder: request assistance from Nov. 15-25

Fans of color/non-white fans: Con or Bust will be taking requests for monetary assistance to attend cons, plus free memberships to cons, from November 15 through November 25, 2015. To learn how to request assistance, see the Request Assistance page. For the most up-to-date list of cons to which assistance is available, see the Upcoming Cons page. Please mark your calendars and spread the word!


many free memberships available now/soon

Con or Bust has the following memberships available free, first-come first-served, for fans of color/non-white fans:

  • (new!) SFContario 6, November 20-22, 2016, Toronto, ON, Canada. SFContario is a general-interest con with a literary focus; this year, its Guests of Honor are Saladin Ahmed, Peter Watts, and Tom Smith.

    SFContario has donated two memberships to Con or Bust.

  • Arisia, January 15-18, 2016, Boston, MA, USA. Arisia is New England’s largest and most diverse science fiction and fantasy convention. Its Author Guest of Honor is John Scalzi; its Artist Guest of Honor is Johnna Y. Klukas; and its Fan Guest of Honor is Pablo Miguel Alberto Vazquez III.

    Arisia has donated six memberships and two hotel rooms (double beds, available Friday through Monday) to Con or Bust.

  • (new!) Farpoint 23, February 12-14, 2016, Timonium, MD, USA. Farpoint is an annual gathering for fans of all genres of imaginative fiction – Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, SuperHeroes – in all the media formats in which they might appear. Its guests for 2016 include David Gerrold and Sean Maher.

    Farpoint has donated two memberships to Con or Bust, which must be claimed by January 31, 2016.

  • Boskone, February 19-21, 2016, Boston, MA, USA. Boskone is New England’s longest running science fiction and fantasy convention. Its Guest of Honor is Garth Nix; its Official Artist is Richard Anderson; its Special Guests are Arnie & Cathy Fenner; its Featured Filkers are Vixy & Tony; and the NESFA Press Guest is Bob Eggleton.

    Boskone has donated two memberships to Con or Bust.

In addition, multiple memberships will be available during the next request assistance period, which is November 15-25. The full list is available at the Upcoming Cons page, but here are two new cons for your information:

  • FOGcon 6, March 11-13, 2016, Walnut Creek, CA, USA. Friends of the Genre (FOGcon) is a literary-themed San Francisco Bay Area SF/F con in the tradition of Wiscon. Its 2016 theme is Transformations, and its Honored Guests are Jo Walton, Ted Chiang, Donna Haraway, and Octavia Butler (posthumous).

    FOGcon has donated two memberships to Con or Bust, and an individual has donated a third.

  • WisCon 40, May 27-30, 2016, Madison, WI, USA. WisCon is the world’s leading feminist science fiction convention. Its 2016 Guests of Honor are Sofia Samatar, Justine Larbalestier, and returning GoH Nalo Hopkinson.

    WisCon has donated four memberships to Con or Bust, of which three remain.

To request memberships for the immediately-available cons, or to learn to how request monetary assistance and memberships to later cons during November 15-25, please see the Request Assistance page. And please spread the word!


update on Carl Brandon Society’s tax-exempt status

I administer Con or Bust as a project of the Carl Brandon Society, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction. Questions about the Carl Brandon Society’s tax-exempt (501(c)(3)) status with the IRS were recently brought to my attention.

The Carl Brandon Society’s tax-exempt status was automatically revoked in August 2013; the CBS has today published an apology and an explanation on its blog. I apologize as well for inadvertently misleading donors to Con or Bust. I strive to run Con or Bust in as transparent and accountable a manner as possible, and I would never have represented that the CBS was a current 501(c)(3) organization if I had known that its status had been revoked.

As the CBS says in its statement, it will be applying for retroactive reinstatement soon and expects to be reinstated with no difficulty. Retroactive reinstatement means, effectively, that an organization will be considered to have been a tax-exempt organization all along, with no break in its status.

What does this mean for Con or Bust donors? If you’ve donated money to Con or Bust since August 2013, and you would like to be updated on the Carl Brandon Society’s reinstatement application, you can email with “tax status” in the Subject. I will add you to a mailing list that has the sole purpose of updating people on the CBS’s tax status. (No spam!) You can also keep an eye on the CBS’s website. So that future donors are aware, I am updating Con or Bust’s website with this information and will provide it in the thank-you emails to donors from now on. Unfortunately, if you’ve listed contributions to the Carl Brandon Society as itemized deductions on your tax returns in the past, either because you donated to Con or Bust or donated to support one of the CBS’s other projects, I cannot advise you on what, if any, steps you should take; please consult an appropriate professional.

Finally, I want to assure all donors that 100% of their donations are provided directly to fans of color/non-white fans to help them attend SFF cons. All administrative expenses are donated by me (principally web hosting, domain name, and postage) or the Carl Brandon Society (principally PayPal fees and postage), and everyone who helps with Con or Bust volunteers their time. I’m grateful for, and humbled by, all the support Con or Bust has received over the years, particularly the most recent outpouring of support thanks to John Scalzi’s donation drive, and I will continue to do everything I can to run Con or Bust in a manner worthy of that support.

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donation drive: John Scalzi parody audiobook

As John Scalzi has just announced, if a total of $2,500 is donated to Con or Bust between now and 11:59 p.m. (Eastern) Sunday, August 30, 2015 (here’s a countdown), he will make an audio version of John Scalzi Is Not A Very Popular Author And I Myself Am Quite Popular: How SJWs Always Lie About Our Comparative Popularity Levels, which is a parody of another book that we shall not link to here. John will also match the first $500 in donations.

Update: John’s announced some stretch goals if the drive reaches $10,000; check out the announcement post above. August 29: stretch goal reached! Thank you so much, everyone. I’m more grateful than I can say for the outpouring of support, which will make a huge difference to Con or Bust’s ability to help fans of color attend SFF cons in the coming months. John will be putting the audiobook up at his site in a few minutes; I will be sending acknowledgment emails to donors later today, as I have to head away from the computer for the afternoon. Thank you again!

To donate, click the big yellow-orange button below. You can use either a credit card or a PayPal account; to use a credit card, after you click the button below, click “Continue” on the left side of the screen, above the credit card logos.

The Carl Brandon Society, Con or Bust’s financial agent, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and therefore donations to Con or Bust are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. All donations will help fans of color/non-white fans attend SFF cons. (Update August 28, 2015: it has been brought to my attention that the CBS’s IRS status may not be current. I am looking into this. Please rest assured that regardless, 100% of all donations go directly to paying the expenses of fans of color who attend SFF cons; all administrative expenses, such as postage, web hosting, and PayPal fees, are donated by me or by the Carl Brandon Society.)

If you can’t donate right now, please consider spreading the word—not only about this donation drive, but about the many upcoming cons to which free memberships are available this very minute! And thanks for your help and support.

Update: the total for this fundraiser was $11,840.92, from about 380 people. Thank you so much, I’m staggered by your generosity.


free memberships to ConQuesT to be available

Fans of color/non-white fans: during the next period to request assistance, November 15-25, free memberships will be available to ConQuesT, May 27-29, 2016, Kansas City, MO, USA. ConQuesT is an annual science fiction convention held in the Kansas City, Missouri area that is sponsored by the long-running (since 1971) Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS, pronounced kax-fuss). The convention is held to celebrate science fiction, fantasy, and horror “in all its various forms”, but with a nod toward the literary side of these related genres. The Guests of Honor are Nnedi Okorafor, Julie Dillon, Lindsay Ellis, Diane Lacey, and Seanan McGuire. ConQuesT has donated four memberships to Con or Bust.

Many other cons have also donated memberships; for ones in the next several months, the memberships are available first-come, first-served. The ones later in 2016, like ConQuesT, will be available from November 15-25 (and thereafter if unclaimed). Check out the Upcoming Cons page for the full list, or learn how to request assistance. And please spread the word!