Guests of Honor and Special Guests of Westercon 69

Writer Guest of Honor: John Scalzi

John Scalzi has been writing professionally since 1991, first as a film critic and general columnist for the Fresno Bee newspaper (where his reviews and columns were nationally syndicated), then as America Online’s in-house writer and editor, and since 1998 as a full-time freelance writer. Scalzi is best known as a writer of science fiction, with several novels in the genre published since 2005, including Redshirts, the 2013 winner of the Hugo Award for best novel. He also frequently writes non-fiction. A full book-format bibliography is here. Scalzi’s novel Old Man’s War is being adapted into film by Paramount Pictures, with Wolfgang Petersen attached to direct.

Scalzi is also a consultant on writing, editing and marketing. Clients (directly or in association with marketing companies) have included The Walt Disney Company, AOL, Oppenheimer Funds, US Trust, Zagat and Network Solutions. Scalzi also served as the Creative Consultant on the television show Stargate: Universe and wrote a column on science fiction film for the site. He’s working with video game maker Industrial Toys on Morning Star, a first-person shooter, due in 2014.

Scalzi was elected president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 2010. He was the only nominee on the ballot. His term ended in 2013.

A California native, Scalzi attended the Webb Schools of California and the University of Chicago, and lives in Ohio with his wife, daughter and an assortment of pets. A full biography is here.

Artist Guest of Honor: Theresa Mather

A professional artist since 1989, Theresa Mather creates fantasy works featuring a variety of unusual creatures. Best known for her pieces painted on feathers and stone, integrating her paintings with the natural colors and textures of the surface, Theresa draws much of her inspiration from the world around her.

“When I need inspiration, I go hiking somewhere,” is how Theresa answers that frequently asked question. Theresa and her husband Barry Short reside in Cedar City, Utah, where the many nearby national parks – Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capital Reef, Arches, Canyonlands, and Grand Canyon - give her plenty of opportunity to find inspiration.

Theresa is an artist who chooses to work outside of gaming and publication, exhibiting and selling her work at science fiction convention art shows across the country. She enjoys the freedom this gives her to paint whatever she desires, allowing her paintings to be truly her creations. In addition to this, she was active in the field of antique carousel restoration from 1989 through 1999, painting suites of large scale paintings for the crestings of 5 antique carousels and decorative paintwork for a sixth.

While Theresa does have some formal art training, she'll tell you that one art professor gave her the best advice: “You don't need to be here. Just go paint. Paint and paint and paint.” And she did.

Theresa exhibits at over 70 shows each year and is the recipient of numerous awards, including Popular Choice Best of Show at ConJose, the 2002 Worldcon. View her gallery of work on her website

Science Guest of Honor: Bobak Ferdowsi

An American systems engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Bobak Ferdowsi has served on the Cassini–Huygens and Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity missions. Also known as the "Mohawk Guy", Bobak is a flight director on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity mission in both Cruise/EDL and Surface phases.

The 32-year-old Oakland native has become the star of NASA’s mission coverage, becoming an overnight internet sensation thanks in large part to his stars-and-stripes, mohawk haircut and his ever-growing social media fan base. Since his television debut in the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) mission control, he has become known as simply, ‘Mohawk Guy.’

President Obama called JPL to congratulate the engineers on their successful Mars landing. During the call he gave a shout out to Mohawk Guy, celebrating his unique appearance and how his edgy mohawk was making science ‘cooler’ than it used to be.

Since Curiosity’s landing, Ferdowsi helped popularize the Mars rover mission with young people and modernize the public’s perception of NASA scientists and engineers. In 2012, Bobak hosted a two-hour online broadcast on Internet radio satellite Third Rock Radio. The show, entitled Getting Curious with the Mohawk Guy, features Ferdowsi discussing his experience with the rover’s landing, the renewed interest in science and exploration, and NASA’s evolving image.

Read more about Bobak's work on his NASA Blog post "My Life on Mars Time" and follow Bobak via Twitter.

Bio credit to NASA ArtSpace.

Filk Guest of Honor: Alexander James Adams

An accomplished singer, songwriter, and musician, Alexander James Adams learned to read sheet music before he learned to read and has been making music since childhood. He frequently accompanies his vocals with guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and a variety of percussion. Alec may be singing with his guitar and fiddle at a pub one night, playing rock with Tricky Pixie another, and fiddling at a wedding on a third. He frequently performs at pubs, Renaissance Faires, conventions, and private parties.

Alec is also the appointed heir to Heather Alexander. Heather, who was actually a changeling, was called back to faerieland in November 2006; at the same time, Alexander, the child in whose place she had originally been left and who had been raised in faerieland, was released after beating the faerie queen in a fiddling contest. Thus, Alec now carries on Heather’s musical legacy. You can also hear all the music and buy downloads here

Special Guest: Charles Stross

Charles Stross, 49, is a full-time science fiction writer and resident of Edinburgh, Scotland. The author of seven Hugo-nominated novels and winner of the 2005 and 2010 Hugo awards for best novella (The Concrete Jungle--free to read online--and Palimpsest), Stross's works have been translated into twelve languages.

Like many writers, Stross has had a variety of careers, occupations, and job-shaped-catastrophes in the past, from pharmacist (he quit after the second police stake-out) to first code monkey on the team of a successful dot-com startup (with brilliant timing he tried to change employer just as the bubble burst). Along the way he collected degrees in Pharmacy and Computer Science, making him the world's first officially qualified cyberpunk writer (just as cyberpunk died). His most recent novels as of July 2014 are The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files #6) and Neptune's Brood (a tale of interstellar banking skullduggery).

More is available at his website.

Fan Guest of Honor: David D. Levine

David D. Levine attended his first SF convention in 1977. It was X-Con 1, the first con in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the next year, at X-Con 2, David found himself co-head of Gaming. Since then he's attended over 120 conventions and has worked at many of them in some capacity, most often Publications but also Tech, Programming, Fanzine Lounge, and even Chair. Many people know him for his fannish theatrics, including as a member of the Not Ready for Sidereal Time Players and Whose Line Is It Anyway.

He created the 1990 Portland Westercon's pioneering website, set up and ran the websites for OryCons 17 through 26 and Oregon Science Fiction Conventions Inc., and still maintains (including the Sue Petrey Fund and Jo Clayton Fund pages) and the OryCon and OSFCI mailing lists. In recognition for all of this work he received an OSFCI Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

In addition to running conventions, David has co-edited a long-running paper fanzine, spent two weeks at a simulated Mars base in Utah, made and worn costumes, served as officer and board member of several fan organizations, gamed, filked, created fan art, and even sat behind a dealer's table a time or two. He's also a Hugo-winning SF author. Learn more at his author site and fannish activities site.