The Austin Chronicle

Bouchercon 2002

Previewing the world's premier mystery convention

By Shawn Badgley, October 18, 2002, Books

In 1970, a group of sci-fi/mystery fans in California decided to organize a convention to celebrate the genre that brought them together in the first place. Thirty-three years later, Bouchercon -- we'll get to its eponymy in a minute -- is the convention for mystery fans worldwide, and 33 years later it's taking place in Austin. For the first time in Texas, thousands of mystery/suspense/thriller/fantasy/historical/pulp enthusiasts will gather to share stories, listen to readings, buy books and have those books signed, eat, drink, stay up late, play practical jokes, and generally bond over what Anthony Boucher né William Anthony Parker White spawned when he decided to pick up a pen and become one of our preeminent genre critics, not to mention a fine novelist, translator, and editor. Boucher (pronounced like "voucher"), who took his pseudonym from his grandmother's maiden name, would eventually become the "Criminals at Large" columnist for The New York Times and edit the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. He knew Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, William Nolan, and C.L. Moore. If there had been any questions as to the genre's legitimacy, Boucher answered them.

Much like the genre, though, Bouchercon itself is a sprawling and diverse endeavor. Taking place over four days and bubbling madly with authors and fans, as well as eight different tracks of programming and dozens of different sessions within that programming, the convention looks as daunting as it does enticing. And if it looks like that to us, we're thinking it might look that way to you. We're here to help. We're giving you all of the information we could get -- including Jesse Sublett's instructions for a satisfactory if not utterly fulfilling experience, an interview with co-chair Willie Siros, and sundry data and opinion -- but if you demand more, check out

When: Thursday, Oct. 17, through Sunday, Oct. 20, beginning at 9am each day

Where: Renaissance Hotel at the Arboretum

Registration: Preregistration is now closed, but you can register at any time after 9am on Thursday, Oct. 17, at the convention, for $175.

Daily registration breaks down like this: Thursday, $40; Friday, $70; Saturday, $90; Sunday, $30. Call 383-1376 for more registration information.

For past Chronicle coverage of the following authors who'll be in attendance, check the following links or and click on this story:

Harlan Coben:

Jan Grape:

James Carlos Blake:

Tom Zigal:

David Lindsey:

Rick Riordan:

Darryl Wimberley:

George Pelecanos:

Deborah Crombie:

Steven Saylor:

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