Utah to Bid for 2024 Westercon

A Salt Lake City-based group has announced a write-in bid to host the 2024 West Coast Science Fantasy Conference (Westercon 76). If selected, they plan to host Westercon 76 at the Doubletree by Hilton SLC Airport over the weekend of July 4-7, 2024. The election to choose the site of Westercon 76 will be held at Westercon 74 in Tonopah, Nevada over the weekend of July 1-4, 2022, with voting closing on July 2. There are no bids on the ballot, nor do there appear to be any other candidates vying to host Westercon 76.

The Utah in 2024 Westercon bid is led by Chair Charles R. Galway and Treasurer Cheryl A. Sneddon. Both have experience with the Salt Lake City-area convention CONduit and other volunteer events ranging from CONduit to Westercon and larger non-genre events. They are in the process of finalizing their bid filing with Westercon 74 in Tonopah, and they expect to file their bid before the close of voting at Westercon 74. Representatives of the bid will be at Westercon 74 in Tonopah to answer questions.

No bids filed by the deadline to appear on the ballot for the 2024 site selection election. Under Westercon rules, groups may file as write-in bids until the close of voting. Any site that files the necessary documents required by the Westercon Bylaws can be selected through the election process at Westercon. Should no validly-filed bid win the election, the Westercon Business Meeting can select a committee. If the Business Meeting is unable to select a committee, the selection of the site falls to the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, owners of the Westercon service mark.

The Site Selection election at Westercon 74 to select the site of the 2024 Westercon will be held on the first two days of Westercon 74 in Tonopah, Nevada. Westercon 74 will be held July 1-4, 2022 at the Tonopah Convention Center and area hotels. The Westercon 74 website is http://westercon74.org/. Voting to select the site of Westercon 74 will close at 7 PM Pacific Daylight Time on July 2, 2022. All supporting or attending members of Westercon 74 are eligible to vote, although due to the deadline for advance voting by mail, votes will need to be cast at Westercon 74.

Any member of Westercon 74 in Tonopah can vote in the election to choose the site of the 2024 Westercon upon payment of a $20 voting fee, which entitles the voter to at least a supporting membership in the 2024 Westercon. Information about the 2024 Site Selection election is available at the Westercon 74 website at http://westercon74.org/whats-on/business-meeting-site-selection/site-selection/. There is no electronic voting, and voting fees may not be paid by credit card. Members unable to attend Westercon 74 in person may arrange for other persons to deliver their ballots on their behalf to the Site Selection voting desk at Westercon 74 in Tonopah.

Anyone who joins Westercon 74 as a Supporting member by June 25, 2022 will also have access to the convention’s Virtual Program, http://westercon74.org/whats-on/programming/virtal-program/. To register as a member of Westercon 74, see the convention’s registration page at http://westercon74.org/membership/. Advance registration for Westercon 74 ends at the end of the day on June 25.

Westercon Site Selection is governed by the Westercon Bylaws, which are available online at http://www.westercon.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/WesterconBylaws-202111.pdf.

The results of 2024 Westercon Site Selection voting will be announced at the Westercon 74 Business Meeting on Sunday, July 3 at 11 AM PDT in the Tonopah Convention Center. Should no eligible bid win the election, the Westercon Business Meeting can select a committee under the provisions of the Westercon Bylaws.

Progress Report 5 Published

Westercon 74 has published Progress Report 5 on our Publications page, with paper copies mailed to those members who requested them or who did not provide us with an e-mail address. Copies sent by postal mail also include a copy of the 2024 Westercon Site Selection Ballot.

PR 5 contains a copy of our COVID-19 Health & Safety Policy, updates on Programming and Events at Westercon, the Westercon Bylaws, the current membership list, and updated hotel booking information about the convention. Unlike our earlier “mini-reports,” this is a full-sized, 16-page progress report.

Westercon 74 Announces COVID-19 Policy

In the interest of protecting the members of the Westercon community, we have established a Westercon 74 Health & Safety Policy, clarifying and extending our previously published policy regarding COVID-19. All members attending Westercon 74 must be fully vaccinated (including at least one booster shot for those people eligible to receive one) against COVID-19. Members must present proof of vaccination (including booster, if applicable) at the convention registration desk in order to receive their membership badge. Members must wear their membership badge when accessing convention-controlled facilities including the Tonopah Convention Center and other function spaces.

Unvaccinated persons, including anyone ineligible for vaccination, may not attend the convention.

When accessing convention-controlled facilities including the Tonopah Convention Center and other programming spaces, all members are required to wear as a face covering either an authentic N95, KN95, or KF94 mask or a surgical mask that covers both their nose and mouth whenever they are not actively eating or drinking. While surgical masks are acceptable, we strongly encourage all members to wear an N95, KN95, or KF94 face covering as these are superior to a surgical mask.

The complete policy is on our website at http://westercon74.org/about/covid-19-health-and-safety-policy/

We are aware that as of this date, the State of Nevada has lifted its indoor mask mandate; however, the guidance from the state does say that private entities may require masks in settings in which they have jurisdiction. Be aware that while we require masks of our members, employees of the facilities in which we are holding the convention may not be required to wear masks, and it is likely that most businesses in Tonopah will not require them. While we recommend that you wear your mask in public, and many of us on our committee will be doing so ourselves, we cannot require it outside of our convention facilities.

Tonopah is the county seat of Nye County, Nevada. Approximately 57% of Nye County’s residents have had at least one vaccination dose, but less than 50% of the county’s population is fully vaccinated as of this writing. In addition, while Tonopah does have an urgent-care medical clinic and paramedic/EMT services, the nearest hospitals are in Hawthorne, Nevada and Bishop, California, both more than 100 miles from Tonopah.

If you have questions about this policy, please write to us at covid@westercon74.org.

Westercon 74 Announces Guests of Honor

Westercon 74 today announced that they will honor Kevin Andrew Murphy and Myrna Donato as Guests of Honor. Although the convention initially announced while they were bidding that they would not have guests of honor in an attempt to keep the cost of the convention down, thanks to a generous grant from the Utah Fandom Organization (Westercon 72/SpikeCon), they are able to honor two Nevadans for their contributions to the field of science fiction and fantasy, one of them as an author and another as a bookseller.

Kevin Andrew Murphy writes science fiction, fantasy, and horror fiction and roleplaying games, as well as poetry, plays, and occasional nonfiction. A longstanding member of George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards consortium, Kevin won the 2019 Darrell Award for Best Novella for “Find the Lady,” his contribution to Mississippi Roll. His most recent Wild Cards story, “A Flint Lies in the Mud”/“But a Flint Holds Fire,” is the opening tale for Knaves Over Queens, and he has more Wild Cards stories and a graphic novel coming out in the future. Kevin also writes stories outside the Wild Cards universe, including “Portals of the Past” in Weird War IV, edited by Sean Patrick Hazlett.

On the gaming front, Kevin has contributed both game writing and fiction to many worlds over the years, from White Wolf’s Mage, where he created the popular character Penny Dreadful and her novel of the same name, to Paizo’s Pathfinder, with numerous stories chronicling the adventures of the revolutionary alchemist Norret Gantier, to work for Sigil and Savage Worlds, most recently “The Covenant of Six,” the fiction for the S5E: Superheroic Roleplaying Kickstarter.

Kevin also brews mead, cooks, collects books and antiques, and generally enjoys himself. He resides in Reno, Nevada, in a fortified stone fortress with canyons on each side, home to proud hawks, majestic deer, and a somewhat less proud and majestic scurries of ground squirrels and coveys of quail.

Myrna Donato is the owner of Amber Unicorn Books, which she operated along with her late husband Lou Donato at two brick-and-mortar stores in the Las Vegas area and at conventions. She and Lou opened their first store in March 1981, and they were married on the beach in Maui in October of 1982. Over the years, they attended and sold books at many SF/F conventions, including both local conventions and Worldcons, most recently at the 2011 Worldcon in Reno.

In 1997, they sold their store and began selling books online and at conventions, coming out of retirement in 2008 when they opened their second Amber Unicorn Bookstore “due to the demand of our old customers,” as she put it.

Besides specializing in science fiction and fantasy, Amber Unicorn specialized in cookbooks, for which they were written up in Saveur magazine. They were voted as one of the top ten vintage cookbook stores in the USA.

In 2016, the loss of the anchor store in their business complex, followed by the sudden and unexpected death of Lou in 2017, and then the onset of COVID-19 led to Myrna taking the difficult decision to close the physical bookstore in December of 2020, ending a 39-year run as the largest and oldest used bookstore in Las Vegas. Since then, Myrna has been selling books online through AbeBooks.com and enjoying being at home with her black labs. She says, “If you wonder how and why the store was named the Amber Unicorn, ask me and I will tell you the story behind the name.”

Seattle Westercon Disbands; Westercon 74 Continues

Westercon 73, previously scheduled to be held in Seattle (Sea-Tac), Washington, announced on April 11, 2021 that they are disbanding. In accordance with arrangements made with LASFS, owners of the Westercon service mark, members of the Seattle Westercon who do not request a membership refund will have their memberships honored by Loscon 47, scheduled for November 26-28, 2021 at the Marriott Los Angeles Airport Hotel. Because Westercons are independently organized by different groups, the decision by the Seattle committee does not affect the Tonopah Westercon.

Westercon 74 is still scheduled to be held in person Friday, July 1, through Monday, July 4, 2022 in Tonopah, Nevada.

Progress Report 2 Published

Westercon 74 has published Progress Report 2 on our Publications page, with paper copies mailed to those members who requested them or who did not provide us with an e-mail address.

PR 2 contains our official notification to all members that we have postponed Westercon 74 in Tonopah one year, to July 1-4, 2022, as a result of the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the postponement of Westercon 73 in SeaTac WA to 2021.

Westercons 73 and 74 Postponed One Year Due to COVID-19

JOINT STATEMENT FROM WESTERCON 73 AND WESTERCON 74

Due to government orders prohibiting large gatherings having been extended into July 2020, Westercon 73 in SeaTac WA has been obliged to postpone their event. After consultation with Westercon 74 in Tonopah NV and with the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, the two conventions have agreed to postpone both of their events for one year. Westercon 73 will now be held in 2021 and Westercon 74 in 2022. There will be no Westercon held in 2020.

Sally Woehrle, chair of Westercon 73 SeaTac, said that Westercon 73 could not take place as originally scheduled in 2020 due to Washington state’s COVID-19 restrictions on large group events. The SeaTac Doubletree Hotel has agreed to move Westercon 73 to 2021. Current hotel reservations have been cancelled and can be rebooked after July 20, 2020. Westercon 73’s new dates are Thursday, July 1 through Sunday, July 4, 2021.

Westercon 74’s new dates are Friday, July 1 through Monday, July 4, 2022 at the Tonopah Convention Center, Mizpah and Belvada Hotels, and other area hotels in Tonopah, Nevada. Hotel reservations were not yet open for the convention’s original dates. Westercon 74 will announce plans for hotel reservations later. Membership rates previously announced as increasing in July 2020 will be frozen at their current level until July 2021.

No bids filed the necessary documents to appear on the ballot for Westercon 75 by the original April 15, 2020 deadline. Site Selection for Westercon 75 will now be for the year 2023 and will be still be conducted by Westercon 73. All deadlines for site selection for Westercon 75 will be postponed one year from the originally published dates.

Kevin Standlee, chair of Westercon 74 Tonopah, said that Tonopah’s facilities were very flexible and were willing to reschedule Westercon 74 to take place a year later. He cited the town’s flexibility regarding hosting Westercon as a major factor in allowing both conventions to be rescheduled.

The two seated Westercons consulted with the LASFS Board of Directors (owners of the Westercon service mark), who agreed that the “Westercon Two-Step” was the best plan for ensuring continuity of Westercon operations and minimizing overall disruption to both seated conventions.

Both conventions will contact their members directly with additional details about their respective postponements. For questions about specific impacts upon each convention, contact Westercon 73 through their web site, www.westercon73.org, and Westercon 74 through their web site, www.westercon74.org.