Westercon 50

Progress Report 1

Views from the Chair

By Sally Woehrle

      The folks who brought you the bid for the 50th Westercon to happen in Seattle, are currently busy at work to make it happen. The hotel contracts have all been signed, the GOH's have all accepted, the division heads have all been found, and we are well on our way to filling the positions of department heads. (If there is a job you want to do real bad, just let us know!) More about volunteers later.

      We have a very exciting theme planned in honor of the "Golden Anniversary" Westercon; read all about it in the article by Phil Zack, our director of programming and chief visionary. The idea of folding time to encompass both Westercon 1 and Westercon 100 is a real challenge, but I think that Phil and his very able staff are up to the job. Thank goodness we have a year and a half to accomplish it.

      The Sheraton Hotel is a very grand place. The rooms are beautiful, the view breathtaking, and best of all it is in downtown Seattle. The director of the site management team, William Sadorus, will be telling you all about the hotel and what is happening in Seattle. So be sure to read all about it.

      The rates went up as of January 1st, so be quick to get in your memberships and conversions before they increase again. We have included a handy membership form for your convenience.

      If you or your group are interested in finding out more about Westercon 50 or helping us publicize this event please contact us by email or our hotline. (Numbers are somewhere else in this report.)

      We are looking forward to seeing you at Westercon 50 and being able to welcome you to our city.


By Phil Zack

      To begin with, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: it's my fault. The rest of the Seattle Westercon Organizing Committee would have been satisfied just to put on the best Westercon ever. But I wanted more; I wanted Westercon 50 to be different. I wanted to give you a reason to come, and something to remember when you left. I wanted the 50th annual Western Regional Science Fiction Convention to be more than just the latest in a series.

      Fifty years of passing a convention from hand to hand is quite an accomplishment when you consider that it's all done voluntarily. I wanted to celebrate that feat, and to honor all those who have gone before us, but there was something missing: Science Fiction is about the Future, not the Past. The solution was obvious: by turning the convention itself into Science Fiction, we could fold the past and future together to celebrate the first 100 years of Westercon. We're living with the superscience dreamed of by the fans who started Westercon in the 1940s. And our own future is probably as boring as yesterday's netnews to the fans who will gather for Westercon 100 in the 2040s. With a little imagination and a lot of work, we can bring all of that and more to the Seattle Sheraton over the July 4th weekend in 1997.

      The first part of the plan was laid when we chose our Guests of Honor. It's a bit like Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in that we'll be visited by the GOHs of Westercon Past, Present and Future. (They are listed elsewhere in PR#1.)

      Next come the time travellers themselves: members of the convention. You, if you'd like. We're recruiting time travellers to play at being from the other two Westercons, and anyone can apply. The theme will run through all aspects of the convention, so there's lots of room for everyone. For atmosphere, we're inviting hall costumers to join the fun and dress the part of fans, pros, costumers and so forth from the other two cons. For the hardcore among you, we're looking into having a weekend long Westercon live role-playing adventure. We'll even have scheduled tours of the convention for your gawking pleasure. (But please don't create any time paradoxes.) Some of our time travellers will be on panels for a different perspective on certain topics. Both pros and fans are invited to take part, but please contact us early.

      Panel programming will play into the theme in a big way. Besides the usual collection of panel topics, we'll be serving up a rich assortment of specialties, including such things as the social effects of the technologies that look like they'll be taking over our lives in the next half century. You might even find a support group for people who spend so much time in VR that they can't deal with crowds, especially at conventions. We're making a list of the kinds of panels that would work well with the theme. So far, we're considering. . .

      Of course no convention would be complete without the traditional staples. At this point, we're certain that we'll have a dealers' room, art show and all the rest; we just haven't worked out where they'll be. Convention programming will be spread over four floors in the Seattle Sheraton. Most of our space is on the second floor, which contains three dividable ballrooms — the Grand, East and West — plus six rooms of various sizes in the Sheraton Conference Center, and some wonderful lobby space. Above it on the third floor is the Metropolitan Ballroom, and on the fourth floor there are ten meeting suites for smaller activites. Finally, like icing on the cake, there is the Cirrus room on the 35th floor. According the hotel, it's Seattle's most stunning function space; the view is unparalleled. They're right, too.

      Once we've finished fighting over the prime real estate, we'll be able to sketch out our special events, like the masquerade and so forth, and then get down to laying out the panel programming. Pricing for the dealers' room and the art show are not set yet, so we can't quote you (dealers and artists) a price list yet. For now, please tell us that you are interested, and we'll get the information to you when it becomes available. (For information about the Dealers' Room, contact Conrad and Lady Jane Larsen, and for the Art Show, contact Jo Seaver by way of Westercon 50.)

      As we get closer to the con, we'll have more details to share with you. On the other hand, if you want to get in on the ground floor and help make this a convention to remember, this is the time to act. We're prowling for staff and trawling for volunteers. Get on board!

GOH of Westercon Past. . . Martin Harry Greenberg
(more in an upcoming Progress Report)

GOH of Westercon Present. . . J. Michael Straczynski

      You may know J. Michael Straczynski as the creative force behind Babylon 5, but he has had a long relationship with science fiction and related genres. He has previously been the story editor and primary writer for the syndicated The Twilight Zone series and his adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde for Showtime earned him both ACE and Writers Guild Award nominations. He worked as a story editor on two animated series, Captain Power and The Real Ghostbusters, as well as the live action series Jake & the Fatman. He served as producer on the hit series Murder, She Wrote, the Babylon 5 telefilm and created the Babylon 5 series. He has also written short stories, an anthology and two dark fantasy/horror novels. (Adapted from the Babylon 5 site on the World Wide Web.)

GOH of Westercon Yet To Come. . . Amy Thomson
(more in an upcoming Progress Report)

Artist GOH. . . Victoria (Poyser) Lisi
(more in an upcoming Progress Report)

Music GOHs. . . Spider & Jeannie Robinson

      Since he began writing professionally in 1972, Spider Robinson has won three Hugos, a Nebula, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the E.E. ("Doc") Smith Memorial Award (Skylark), the Pat Terry Memorial Award for Humorous Science Fiction, and Locus Awards for Best Novella and Best Critic; sixteen of his twenty books are still in print, in ten languages. He has been married for twenty years to Jeanne Robinson, a writer, modern dance choreographer, former dancer, and teacher of both dance and the Alexander Technique; she founded and was Artistic Director of Halifax's Nova Dance Theatre during its seven year history. Her most recent work of choreography, Zenki-Zu, premiered at the Women In View Festival in Vancouver. The Robinsons collaborated on the Hugo, Nebula and Locus winning 1976 classic novel, Stardance, which created the concept of zero gravity dance, and on its sequels, Starseed, and Starmind. (Jeanne was on NASA's short list for a Space Shuttle seat, to try out zero gee dance in practice until the Challenger Tragedy ended the Civilian In Space program.) She and Spider met in the woods of Nova Scotia in the early 1970s. As to their music, for a start, it isn't filk. Not that they have anything against filk. They like listening to a lot of it, but they just don't do it themselves. To find out more, you'll just have to come to the Westercon 50 Music concert.

Science GOH. . . Jack Cohen

      Jack Cohen is an internationally known reproductive biologist, who was a university teacher for thirty years, and has published nearly a hundred research papers. His books include Living Embryos, Reproduction (1977), Spermatozoa, Antibodies and Infertility, and The Privileged Ape (1989), a rather different look at human evolution, and he has an article called "Imagining Aliens" in the 1994 Encyclopedia Britannica YearBook. He now works with the mathematician Ian Stewart with whom he has explored issues of complexity, chaos and simplicity, producing several joint papers. The two have published The Collapse of Chaos (1994) — a ground breaking inquiry into how simplicity in nature is generated from chaos and complexity. A second collaboration, Figments of Reality is due out soon. Mr. Cohen acts as a consultant to top science fiction writers, designing credible creatures and ecologies, and frequently appears on radio and television programs. He spoke about redesigning the human body at Intersection, and recently had the honor of speaking on Reproductive Fallacies at the Royal Institution, a most prestigious venue. His hobbies include boomerang throwing and keeping strange animals. (Adapted from the Penguin Books/UK site on the World Wide Web.)

Fan GOH. . . Walter J. Daugherty

      Walter Daugherty is a Fan Extrodinaire. His fannish resume reads like the history of Westcoast fandom and his address book like Who's Who In Science Fiction. Forrey Ackerman once stated that you could "ask him anything, chances are he'll know the answer." A charter member of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (founded in 1934), Walter was the first to do many of the things we now take for granted. He was the first to record a science fiction convention (Denvention) and the first to create "a fanzine with round edges", a set of paper discs sent to other clubs for their listening pleasure. He also created Fan Awards, including the Evans Freehafer Award and the E.E. Evans Memorial Award, and a formal convention Art Show. He was also the first to wear a fantastically expensive costume in a World Con masquerade. Walter's list of firsts would not be complete without mentioning conventions. He was the director of the first West Coast science fiction convention, Pacificon. He went on to create the second largest, second oldest roving science fiction convention in the world: Westercon.

The Once and Future Westercon What's It All For?

By Larry Baker

      Many of you reading this will have no doubt heard of the central theme of Westercon 50: "Celebrating the first 100 years of Westercon."

      Many of you may have thought "Gee that sounds interesting; I wonder how they're going to do that." The answer lies in another question: What are you going to do to make it happen?

We are very serious in our intention of getting everyone we can to participate in the process by impersonating visitors from the three time periods: Westercon 1 in 1948, Westercon 50 in 1997 and Westercon 100 in 2047. This means that there are an infinite variety of roles and infinite room for improvisation. The only limitation is your own imagination.

      The point of all this, of course, is to have fun. But more than that, we would like the participants and observers to gain some perspective on how much the world and the people in has changed, or not changed, in the last half century and perhaps how far we will go in the next.

      There is room in our efforts for every level of participation, but we are especially interested right now in developing programming ideas and participants for programming in each of the three eras we are covering. If you are interested, get a hold of us soon. From A-Bombs to Pentiums to Xenolinguistics, we can do it.

Why Seattlites Endure the Rain

By Larry Baker

      Sure, Seattle has a reputation for rain. Floods and storms that would devastate most populated parts of the continent are a regular visitors to our area. Sometimes, late in Winter, when its been raining almost without end for the previous four months, when we've forgotten what the Great Golden Orb looks like, some of us wonder what brought us to such a soggy state.

      But even here, the rain doesn't last forever. Sometimes we have to wait until the clouds themselves get tired of the cold and gloom. Sometimes it seems like it will never come, but when the rays almost timidly peek through the overcast and the grey landscape takes on its first tinges of green and brown; when the birds almost burst with the songs that they've been waiting for weeks to sing; when the clouds recede enough to reveal the majesty of the mountains on the horizon and the deepest blue of Puget Sound or Lake Washington sweeping before them, it is then that it is possible to see why people choose to call Seattle home.

      When it's sunny in Seattle in July a wide variety of opportunities presents itself: From water skiing or sailing or canoeing the Puget Sound or one of the local lakes to visiting some of the most impressive waterfalls anywhere to climbing local mountains to just taking a ferry ride — all within an hours drive of the city.

      We can't promise that Westercon 50 will take place during one of those times; veterans of Westercon 46 know better. But even if it does rain all weekend, no population in the World has developed a more diverse and comprehensive set of indoor activities to keep our citizenry sane. As the original home of the electric guitar, Jimi Hendrix and grunge music, not to mention the second highest density per capita of micro breweries, behind only Portland, in the country, Seattle can aptly be seen as a trend setting cultural community and the night life, whether it's music, micro-breweries, wineries, theaters, restaurants, bookstores or the Mariners, Seattle is always World Class. And then, if that's not enough to keep you occupied, you could always attend the convention.

Westercon 50 Hotel Report

By William Sadorus

      Okay! This hotel report is for you all of you ". . . just give me the facts! I don't have time for any of that cutesy drivel that most convention progress reports insist on publishing!" Here is the pertinent and relevant facts about the Hotel in two concise sentences:

      The room rates for the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers for Westercon 50 are $115.00 (plus tax) a night for single and double occupancy, and $130.00 (plus tax) a night for triple and quad occupancy; suites, parlors, and other room rates are available but need to coordinated through Westercon 50.

      Westercon 50 attendees will receive a 25% discount from the regular cost of parking at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers during our event; we are exploring other creative ways to decrease this expense.

      Blatant plug for Westercon 50: Start planning now to attend Westercon 50. Line up those roommates, begin saving a couple of sheckles each month, and make certain to reserve vacation time from work in advance so you can really enjoy the Westercon-experience. Seattle Westercon 50 is shaping up to be a convention like no other, and it would be a shame to miss out on all the fun. Stay tuned for future updates on what's happening in downtown Seattle as July 1997 draws closer!

Staff / Volunteer Recruitment

By Rick Bligh

      Westercon 50 is looking for a few good fen! Even a cursory glance at the WC50 staff list printed elsewhere in this Progress Report will inform you that there are still many open positions on our staff. There are still four department head positions available for those of you who enjoy the challenge of being a working manager. If you prefer a more hands on approach there are still abundant opportunities at the project coordinator level. And, for those really into the nitty gritty of convention support there will be a nearly inexhaustible supply of opportunities to volunteer at the convention.

      We are committed to putting on the very best Westercon we can! To do this we will need the help and support of a lot of people volunteering a little or a lot of their own time and effort Whether its hours, days, weeks, or months you and your work will be much appreciated. As an extra side benefit, whether you choose staff or volunteer, you'll find the tasks challenging, the people enjoyable, and the experience rewarding.

      So, if any of these positions are overwhelmingly irresistible or just merely attractive, or if you're finding it hard to sleep at night knowing you haven't signed up yet — get cracking! Drop us a note at the WC50 address giving us your name, address, phone, email, and what position(s) you would like to be considered for. Or contact Karen Thompson (between 9 A. M. & 9 P.M. ) at (206) 788-3872, email: Fredblink@AOL.com

Club Participation & Table Reservations

By Rick Bligh

      The active presence of clubs and organizations is a dynamic and entertaining facet of any sf convention. WC 50 eagerly encourages such participation and we will work diligently to create as many opportunities as we can. Club tables, programming, & volunteers are three areas where clubs have traditionally been involved and WC 50 will be no different. We will gladly entertain suggestions for other less traditional methods of entertaining ourselves while at the same time providing a club with an opportunity to showcase itself. For example, several cons in the Northwest have in recent years been offering to local clubs the opportunity to sponsor a food event in Hospitality. Your creative and innovative ideas will be gratefully accepted.

      Our club table reservation policies are not fully developed at this point, but, as soon as they are we'll be mailing out a letter which will detail what inventory, space, and service we will be able to provide and we'll include a return card which will give you an opportunity to tell us what you need.

      Clubs, bid committees, or other organizations interested in receiving information on WC 50 participation can contact our Clubs and Organizations Liaisons at the WC 50 address listed elsewhere in this Progress Report or Gene Armstrong at (360) 794-7172; or Bobbie DuFault at (360) 765-4814, email:
BobbieD@Daka.com. Westercon bid committees should also contact our Westercon Business Department Head at the WC 50 address or Rick Bligh at (206) 742-8943, email: rbligh@AOL.com

Progress Report and Program Book ad deadlines

Progress Report 2 May 1, 1996
Progress Report 3 December 1, 1996
Progress Report 4 April 1, 1997
Program Book January 1, 1997

Progress Report ad rates

Inside Cover/Back Page $100/50
Full Page $80/40
Half Page $40/30
Quarter Page $30/25


PR1 Editor George Nyhen
Layout George Nyhen
Proofing Marie Ormes & Lisa Woodings
Printing Michael Brocha

Westercon 50
P.O.Box 283
Seattle, WA 98111-0283
(206) 742-8943
email wester50@isomedia.com
Homepage: www.isomedia.com/westercon

Westercon is a service mark of the Los Angeles Science Fiction Society, Inc.
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