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Worldcons Now and Then
A preview by Laurie D. T. Mann
Algis Budrys
Algis Budrys

Michael Moorcock
Michael Moorcock

Don Maitz
Don Maitz

Worldcon Related Sites

LoneStarCon 2
SF Site Interview with Algis Budrys

From all corners of the world science fiction fans, authors, artists, and publishers will descend on San Antonio, Texas for the 55th World Science Fiction Convention. This Worldcon, dubbed LoneStarCon 2 in honor of the Lone Star State, has named writers Algis Budrys and Michael Moorcock and artist Don Maitz as professional guests of honor; fan writer Roy Tackett as fan guest of honor; and Neal Barrett, Jr. as Toastmaster. LoneStarCon 2 will be held at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center and the Marriott RiverCenter and RiverWalk Hotels over Labor Day Weekend.

The Worldcon is an eclectic mix of annual meeting, exhibition, awards ceremony, opportunity for making publishing deals, and old home week for over 4,000 science fiction fans and professionals. The Worldcon is an opportunity to share ideas, experience, and the love of the fantastic.

Over 1,200 science fiction books were published last year, demonstrating the continuing vitality of the science fiction industry. Science fiction movies are among the most-watched movies of all time, and science fiction on television is undergoing a resurgence, with the popular Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Babylon 5 series. While LoneStarCon 2 emphasizes the publishing industry, all types of science fiction are exhibited and discussed during the five day convention.

Worldcons have grown impressively since their humble beginnings in New York City in 1939. The first Worldcon had about 50 young male attendees, mostly from the East Coast. Since then, Worldcons have attracted up to 8,400 members (in Los Angeles, 1984); nearly half of the Worldcon attendees are female; and attendees come from all over the world. In the last ten years, Worldcon sites have included The Hague, The Netherlands; Los Angeles, California; and Boston, Massachusetts. Next year's Worldcon will be in Baltimore, Maryland and the 1999 Worldcon will be in Sydney, Australia. Worldcons are also one of the few large conferences run exclusively by volunteers.

Activities at LoneStarCon 2 include:
the largest science fiction art exhibition and sale of the year;
a dealer's room that sells books, magazines, prints, and video tapes, as well as a wide variety of hand-crafted jewelry and costume accessories, art prints, and souvenirs;
hundreds of hours of panel discussions, readings, and autograph sessions with authors, including Texas writers such as Bruce Sterling and Elizabeth Moon;
opening ceremonies and a gala Meet-the-VIPs gathering on Thursday night;
the presentation of the Science Fiction Achievement Awards (Hugo Awards) on Saturday night;
a glittering masquerade on Sunday night;
the creation of a huge science fiction exhibit hall, which will include literary exhibits, fan history mementos, display of many science fiction Web sites, and a NASA exhibit;
fund raisers to benefit a variety of activities in fandom, including the fund raising launch of the Real Musgrave Art Scholarship at Texas Tech University;
presentation of other awards in the science fiction field, such as the Chesley awards for artistic achievement;
hundreds of hours of video tapes, and a presentation by J. Michael Straczynski on Saturday on Babylon 5.

Copyright © 1997 by Laurie D. T. Mann

Laurie D. T. Mann is a long-time fan and conference organizer. She is the creator of AwardWeb and the current curator of Dead People Server.

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