SF in S.A.

The 55th World Science Fiction Convention, also known as LoneStarCon 2, takes place in San Antonio August 28-September 1, one of the largest gatherings of science fiction fans anywhere. Nearly 4,500 attendees are expected for the five-day event, which includes appearances and panels with noted SF/fantasy writers and artists, an art show, dealers room, the famous masquerade ball, exhibition area (including the Hugo Awards, an interactive exhibit of the best SF websites, booths for book publishers and the Sci Fi Channel) and award presentations, including the presentation of the annual Hugo Awards and Chesley Awards.

Guests of honor for this year's WorldCon are authors Algis Budrys and Michael Moorcock, artist Don Maitz,and toastmaster (and Austin-based author) Neal Barrett, Jr. Other names appearing throughout the convention are Joe R. Lansdale, Bruce Sterling, Harlan Ellison, Forry Ackerman, Austin Bay, Lois McMaster Bujold, C. J. Cherryh, Bradley Denton, Rick Klaw, and Susan Wade.

WorldCon exhibits, programming, and dealers room open at noon Thursday at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center, while official opening ceremonies will take place at 7pm in the Grand Ballroom, Marriott RiverCenter Hotel. A gala Meet-the-VIPs party will follow, giving convention-goers and fans that special opportunity to meet writers and artists and other fans. From there on in, the days (and nights) are filled with events that should satisfy even the most hardcore Trekkie.

All of WorldCon's daytime programming will take place in the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center beginning Thursday 28 at noon. Topics include "Cyberculture," "Nanotechnology Update," and (we like this name) "An Agent is to a Publisher as a Knife is to the Throat." Programming will also feature children's events, literary teas, autograph sessions, discussions with the authors of the current "Best Novel" Hugo nominees and various workshops for writers and artists. There are even introductory panels about the WorldCon for people who have never attended a science fiction convention before.

Previews of upcoming films of interest to SF fans are also scheduled, including clips from Starship Troopers, Sphere, The Postman, Alien Resurection, Wes Craven's Wishmaster, Lost in Space, The Avengers, and Superman.

Here are some of the highlights:

FRIDAY


Chesley Awards
Convention Center, 8pm

The Chesley awards are presented in recognition of excellence in the field of science fiction illustration, as voted on by members of the Association of Science Fiction Artists. Artists David A. Cherry and Janny Wurts host.


Short Story Contest Winners
Convention Center

The winner of LoneStarCon2's Short Story Contest is Jay Lake of Austin, who will read his winning entry.

SATURDAY


Science Education Symposium
Convention Center, 9am

SF authors Greg Benford and David Brin will conduct a symposium on using science fiction to teach science.


Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski
Marriott RiverCenter Grand Ballroom, noon

J. Michael Straczynski, a winner of the 1996 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation for his series Babylon 5, will be discussing the series and show footage from Babylon 5.


1997 Hugo Awards
Marriott RiverCenter, 8pm

Hosted by Neal Barrett, Jr., the Hugos are awarded each year by WorldCon members to recognize the best in science fiction.

SUNDAY


The Masquerade
Marriott RiverCenter

LoneStarCon 2's Masquerade Ball takes place at 8pm in the Grand Ballroom, Marriott RiverCenter. Costumes will be judged by a panel of VIPs and Heather Alexander will perform.

CONVENTION DETAILS


Registration

Convention Center, 9am-9pm, Thu/Fri; 9am-5pm, Sat/Sun; 9am-noon, Mon.

Full convention memberships are $150; day rates at the door will be $30 per person for Thursday or Monday and $50 per person for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. VISA, Discover, American Express and MasterCard, checks (picture ID required), and cash accepted.

Want to volunteer? Go to Conference Room 8 on the third floor of the Marriott RiverCenter Hotel after noon Sunday, August 24 or after the convention begins. For the best information possible, visit LoneStarCon's website at http://www.io.com/~lsc2. Beam me up!

-- Margaret Moser

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