Charles Tan on the World SF Travel Fund

First, some good news! So far we’ve raised (as I type this) $3,924! That’s a tremendous response from some wonderful people, and means we’re only $2000 short of our goal of two years’ worth of funding (and can we make it three years? Can we? Can…)

Charles has written a heart-felt essay about the fund and its meaning. It’s over on his blog, but I’m reproducing it here anyway.

The World SF Travel Fund

By Charles Tan

I’m the first recipient of this project so there’s some self-interest involved here.

But I hope my readers give the World SF Travel Fund a look:

A combination of genre professionals and fans from the international scene and the United States have gathered together to create the World SF Travel Fund. The fund has been set up to enable one international person involved in science fiction, fantasy or horror to travel to a major genre event.

Personally, I would never dream of being able to afford to attend an event like World Fantasy Convention 2011. The planet ticket alone–and this is finding one of the cheapest flights (no first-class for me)–costs around $1300.00. Which might not sound much for some of you (even with the the US’s economic crisis) but for someone like me who lives in a third-world country (yes, we still use that term here), I’ll never afford it (I earn around $400/month).

And that’s why I’m excited about this fund because it enables writers, editors, artists, and other professionals involved in the genre who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend a major convention (let’s face it, the big conventions are held in either the US or Europe). In a perfect world, we’d bring the convention to them (imagine holding a World Fantasy Convention in Indonesia, in Singapore, in South Africa), but at this point in time, it’s impractical (especially for regular Con attendees) so this is hopefully the next best thing.

The World SF Travel fund won’t drastically change the industry, just as the World SF Blog isn’t creating massive change as of the moment (as Lavie laments, of all the posts in the blog, the Elizabeth Moon issue is still the most popular, and that’s despite all the other content that’s been posted for the past few years). But it’s a start, a drop in the bucket, our contribution for what seems right at this point in time.

The current Peerbackers project is aiming to raise $6,000.00. That’s not just for me, that’s to enable the project to be run for two years (so that the next recipient won’t have a hard a time raising funds–I mean it’s well and good if they’re more popular than me but what if it’s a professional/non-professional most fans haven’t heard of? All the more reason for them to go). And mind you, that’s not yet inclusive of the various deductions/fees from Peerbackers or the bank.

The project is backed by awesome people (and these people are just as deserving–if not more so–of being funded themselves):

The Board, tasked with selecting future candidates, is composed of Lauren Beukes, Aliette de Bodard, Ekaterina Sedia, Cheryl Morgan and Lavie Tidhar and reflects the truly international nature of the SF world today.

I’m also impressed by the many supporters of the project, including supporters like Angry Robot Books, Chizine, Apex, Small Beer Press, Tachyon and PS Publishing (here’s Small Beer Press’s offerings to those who’ll pledge), as well as those who’ve already pledged. Whether the project succeeds or not, thanks and it’s much appreciated.

As for readers of this blog, I hope you can back the project, whether it’s $10.00 or more (I only mention $10.00 because it’s a package that comes with eBooks!). Do it for me, do it for the cause of World SF, do it because of the rewards (there’s some impressive rewards–what Small Beer Press is offering is nothing to sneeze at for example).

Oh, and congrats again to the World Fantasy Awards nominees. It’s an impressive list and irregardless of whether I’ll be able to attend the event personally or not, I’m honored.

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