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.

Membership List Now Online

We have published our current Membership List on the site. We will update this list periodically. It is not dynamically updated when you buy or upgrade a membership. We will include the date of the latest update at the top of the list.

If you do not want your name listed in our membership list either on the website or in our publications, contact Westercon 74 Registration.

Progress Report 1 Published

Westercon 74 has published Progress Report 1 on our Publications page. We mailed paper copies to those members for whom we only have postal mailing addresses, and in a few days we will also send paper copies to those members who do have e-mail addresses but who requested paper copies as well.

PR 1 is a booklet designed to be printed on a double-sided sheet of 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper and folded twice. You are welcome to print and distribute our PR anywhere you think there might be people interested in Westercon 74 in Tonopah in 2021.

Westercon 74 Membership Rates to Increase on March 1, 2020

The cost of an attending membership in Westercon 74 will increase to $50 effective March 1, 2020. In addition, the $10 conversion-to-attending rate for those people who voted in the 2021 Westercon Site Selection in Utah expires at the end of February 2020. Membership rates for Young Adult and Child members remain unchanged.

Effective March 1, 2020, anyone who voted in 2021 Westercon Site Selection who has not already converted their membership to an attending membership may convert their membership to attending by paying the current attending membership rate minus $20.

If you voted in 2021 Site Selection and want to take advantage of the $10 conversion-to-attending rate, we ask that you send your payment by paper mail instead of registering online, due to online payment processing costs. Postmark date applies to memberships send by postal mail.

A full list of membership rates is on our Membership Types page. Online and paper mail registration information is available on our Membership/Registration page.

Tonopah Wins 2021 Westercon

The bid for Tonopah, Nevada in 2021 won the right to host Westercon 74 in voting held at Westercon 72/SpikeCon in Layton, Utah. Westercon 74 will be July 2-5, 2021 at the Tonopah Convention Center, Mizpah/Belvada Hotels, and other hotels to be announced, in Tonopah, Nevada.

As previously announced while bidding, Westercon 74 does not currently anticipate having Guests of Honor. However, the convention will consider inviting special guests through outside sponsorship should the opportunity arise.

Westercon 74 Progress Report Zero is available for download.

If you did not vote in Westercon 74 Site Selection, you can buy a new supporting or attending membership through Westercon 74’s registration page. Please note that Grenadine’s system uses the word “ticket” to refer to what we call a “membership,” and that credit card payments through Grenadine will be processed by Stripe. Credit card payments made in person at our fan table are processed through Square.

Because of online processing fees, we ask that if it is possible for you to do so, if you voted on Westercon 74 site selection at SpikeCon (Westercon 72 in Layton UT) and want to upgrade to an attending membership for $10 through the end of 2019, you download our registration form below and mail your $10 payment to us at the address below.

You can also join by downloading our current registration form and mailing it with payment by check, money order, or credit card to:

Westercon 74
PO Box 61363
Sunnyvale CA 94088-1363

Online upgrades will be available once we have loaded all of the voting records into the database.

Thank you everyone who voted for us and supported us!

Tonopah’s bid received 82 of the 134 ballots cast with a preference, with the other filed bid, Phoenix, receiving 51 votes, and a write in vote for “Both” receiving 1 vote. 68 votes (a majority of the ballots expressing a preference) were required to elect. There were 6 No Preference (abstention) ballots cast, for a total of 140 ballots of all types.

The details results of voting are:

Candidate Mail Thu Fri Total
Phoenix, AZ 3 11 37 51
Tonopah, NV 9 32 41 82
Both 1 1
None of the Above 0
Total With Preference 134
Needed to Elect (Majority) 68
No preference 6 6
Total votes cast 140