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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.

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 76 Site Selection Open; No Bids Filed by Deadline

No group filed a bid by the April 15, 2022 deadline to host Westercon 76 (the 2024 West Coast Science Fantasy Conference). Bids can still file up until the close of voting (7 PM PDT, July 2, 2022) to be eligible as a write-in bid to win the election.

Site Selection voting is now open. See our Site Selection page for more information and to download a ballot. The ballot will also be distributed to members as part of Progress Report 5, scheduled for publication sometime in May. You can vote by postal mail (the address is on the ballot) or in person at Westercon 74 in Tonopah, or you can designate someone to deliver your ballot on your behalf to the convention. Voting will be open on July 1 and 2, and will close at 7 PM PDT on Saturday, July 2, 2022.

Should no eligible bid receive sufficient votes, or if None of the Above wins, the selection of the site of Westercon 76 will fall to the Westercon Business Meeting, which is scheduled for 11 AM on Sunday, July 3, 2022 in the Main Hall of the Tonopah Convention Center.

Note that no bid was selected to host Westercon 75 (the 2023 Westercon) at last year’s convention, but a committee was formed to attempt to find a group to host the convention. As of now, no groups have come forward prepared to host Westercon 75. It is likely that the determination of arrangements for both Westercons 75 and 76 will be up to the members of Westercon at this year’s Business Meeting. If the Business Meeting is unable to make a decision, the determination of arrangements for Westercon will be left up to the board of directors of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, owners of the Westercon service mark.

Programming Help Wanted

Update: We have a volunteer who has agreed to run the onsite portion of the Scavenger Hunt and the Trivia Contest. We hope people will join in on one or both activities.


Our Programming Team is looking for volunteer staff members to be the onsite runner of the Scavenger Hunt and to host the Trivia Game. Clues and Questions will be provided to you for both games.

Duties for Scavenger Hunt: Hand out clues to participants, collect and assess clue responses, and award the winner a certificate.

Duties for Trivia Game: Host and run the trivia game.

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.