​Chengdu Worldcon unveils slogan and sci-fi panda mascot

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, September 14, 2023
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Organizers of the 81st World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) unveiled its slogan, mascot, and emblem on Wednesday in Chengdu, the first city in China and the second in Asia to host the world's premier sci-fi event.

Chengdu Worldcon organizers unveil the event emblem at a press conference held in Chengdu, Sichuan province, Sept. 13, 2023. [Photo courtesy of Chengdu Worldcon]

To engage the global sci-fi community, the organizing committee launched a worldwide call for slogans in August. From over 5,000 entries, the final slogan, "Meet the Future," was chosen after careful deliberation.

"The 2023 Worldcon is an invitation sent out to the world by Chengdu. It calls for a collective envisioning of peaceful development and cultural exchange, letting the light of stars and dreams illuminate the era, driving continuous technological innovation and making the glow of civilization shine brightly," said Yao Haijun, a renowned Chinese sci-fi publisher and honorary co-chair of the organizing committee of the 2023 Chengdu Worldcon, at a press conference.

He highlighted Chengdu's rich history, dating back 2,300 years, as well as its vibrancy and abundance of opportunities. Emphasizing it as a city where dreams become reality, he especially praised Chengdu's commitment to pioneering technological feats, fostering industrial evolution, and nurturing future-oriented industries.

The convention's mascot, designed by artist Song Hongshu, is a cyberpunk giant panda. The design marries hi-tech mecha armor with quintessential Chengdu cultural motifs, drawing inspiration from the ancient Jinsha archaeological site and the Sanxingdui Ruins.

Yao, also the president of Chengdu Science Fiction Society, revealed that the panda's name is Kormo, a pronunciation reminiscent of "Ke" (science) combined with "Meng" (dream) in Chinese. Within its design, one can see a harmonious fusion of the ancient Shu civilization with modern technology, as well as a captivating interplay between mechanical aesthetics and imagination.

"It seeks to highlight the oriental aesthetics rooted in Chinese culture. Even amidst the rapidly advancing digital world, it maintains a distinct identity, continually exploring and ceaselessly creating," he added.

Conceptual 3D rendering of the Chengdu Worldcon mascot, Kormo. [Image courtesy of Chengdu Worldcon]

This year's Worldcon emblem also features a panda, Chengdu's iconic symbol of peace and friendship, reaching for the stars. It is surrounded by blue-green rings and planets, symbolizing technology and the future. Yao described the design as the panda navigating a space-time "wormhole," exploring the unknown universe. "This symbolizes the 81st Worldcon's efforts to push the boundaries of imagination and innovation, embracing the world and envisioning the future," Yao explained.

The organizing committee intends to unveil over 200 Kormo-themed merchandise items across 12 categories, including toys, bags, clothing, stationery and daily necessities. Organizers revealed that these products are slated for an official public release at the end of September.

This year's Worldcon, which will kick off on Oct. 18, has extended invitations to top sci-fi figures like Ben Aaronovitch, David McCarthy, Robert J. Sawyer, Liu Cixin and Weta Workshop's co-founder Richard Taylor. Esteemed film directors Frant Gwo ("The Wandering Earth") and Yang Lei ("Three-Body" TV series), along with other leaders in the sci-fi field, will also participate. The convention will feature 260 themed salons, parties and relevant events. There will be both corporate and fan exhibitions. To date, over 40 companies and more than 60 global sci-fi enthusiasts have been invited to exhibit. Exhibits will spotlight acclaimed sci-fi franchises like "The Three-Body Problem," "The Wandering Earth," and "Star Citizen," and corporate participants like National Geographic, Huawei, Tencent, and NetEase.

The convention will also unveil the winners of the prestigious 2023 Hugo Awards, the pinnacle of recognition in science fiction literature.

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