Steven Barnes, Author Guest of Honor
NY Times Bestselling author Steven Barnes has written comic books, animation, newspaper copy, magazine articles, television scripts and three million words of fiction published in seven languages, making him one of the world’s most honored, diverse and popular writers. He has written for Twilight Zone, Andromeda and The Wizard, and wrote the Emmy-winning “A Stitch In Time” episode of The Outer Limits. He is an avid martial artist, and a certified yoga instructor and hypnotist. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, American Book Award-winning novelist Tananarive Due, and son Jason.
Barnes received the 2003 Endeavor Award for the novel Lion’s Blood and the 2009 NAACP Image Award for In the Night of the Heat, co-authored with Blair Underwood and Tananarive Due.
Steven Barnes blogs at darkush.blogspot.com.
John Picacio, Artist Guest of Honor
John Picacio is a Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning artist, and one of the most prolific American cover artists for science fiction, fantasy, and horror of the last ten years. His artwork is noted for its diversity and range, often combining traditional drawing and painting with digital finishes. His body of work includes covers for books by Michael Moorcock, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., Dan Simmons, Joe R. Lansdale, Jeffrey Ford, Frederik Pohl, James Tiptree, Jr., and many more. He has produced cover artwork for franchises such as Star Trek and the X-MEN, and he was the artist for the 2012 George R. R. Martin / A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar.
Picacio has received the Locus Award, seven Chesley Awards, and two International Horror Guild Awards, all in the Artist category, as well as two Asimov’s Poll Awards for Best Cover Art. His work is often featured in the pages of Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art. Some of his most notable covers over the years include Elric: The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock (Ballantine/Del Rey); the 2005 Chesley Award-winning artwork for Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr. (Tachyon); the 2009 Chesley Award-winning artwork for Fast Forward 2, edited by Lou Anders (Pyr); the Age of Misrule trilogy by Mark Chadbourn (Pyr); the Well-Built City trilogy by Jeffrey Ford (Golden Gryphon); Ghosts of Columbia by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (Tor); and 2013 Chesley Award-winning artwork for The Creative Fire: Book One of Ruby’s Song by Brenda Cooper (Pyr). He is the owner and founder of Lone Boy, and is currently creating artwork for a bold reimagining of the classic Loteria card game. La Sirena Loteria card won the 2013 Chesley Award for Best Product Illustration.
Bernadette Bosky, Arthur D. Hlavaty, and Kevin J. Maroney, Fan Guests of Honor
Kevin J. Maroney’s first fannish activity was on Usenet in 1981, using accounts borrowed from the University of North Carolina in his hometown of Chapel Hill. He moved to the hard stuff–comics fanzines–a couple of years later while at Duke in nearby Durham, North Carolina. Fandom has brought him many glorious friendships, none better than the 25-year-and-counting marriage with Bernadette Bosky and Arthur D. Hlavaty. In 1992, the three of them decamped from central NC and landed in Yonkers, New York, on the Hudson, where they live with their mischief of pet rats and far, far more books than they will ever read in nine combined lifetimes.
Kevin joined the staff of the New York Review of Science Fiction (NYRSF) in 1994 and soon after was one of its managing editors by virtue of hanging around. He stuck with it and, in August of 2012, he became the publisher. NYRSF has garnered 22 Hugo nominations for Best Semiprozine, 14 of them despite his editorial contributions. Professionally, his main jobs have been assistant manager of a comic book and science fiction store; computer game producer, designer, and critic; and software engineer for a century-old investment bank. Kevin’s other hobbies include comic books; board gaming; and, to quote a very old Alan Moore joke, writing about himself in the third person.
After a precocious childhood and depressed, alienated adolescence, Bernadette Bosky discovered sf/f fandom and joined the Esoteric Order of Dagon amateur press association in college. While loccing and occasionally writing for fanzines, appearing on programming at conventions, and turning out reams of apazines, she still managed to receive an M.A. in English Literature from Duke, taught there and at Durham Technical Community College, did the coursework and passed 15 hours of written exams for her Ph.D., but resigned herself to permanent All But Dissertation status. Her professional publications include poetry, reviews, literary criticism, two pieces of fiction, personal essays, and a multitude of encyclopedia articles on topics from Renaissance alchemy to serial killer Albert Fish. She is active on LiveJournal but does not want her legal name and LJ name linked in any Googleable way. A fat-acceptance advocate, proud owner of pet rats, and hinge-person in a long-time triad marriage, she generally is found by people outside fandom to be odd but pleasant. She teaches at a Korean-American after-school academy in Manhattan, spreading knowledge like manure, and is married to the two most wonderful men on earth. Her main financial indulgence is made-to-measure clothing in novelty fabrics, some in skiffy themes, which she will show off at NASFiC.
Arthur D. Hlavaty, an sf reader since childhood, joined fanzine fandom in 1977, publishing The Diagonal Relationship. He soon branched out into amateur press associations, including the Fantasy Amateur Press Association, the legendary first sf apa, in which he met Bernadette. He has appeared on the Hugo ballot for Fan Writer twelve times, and he still pubs his ish at least once a year. (It is now called Nice Distinctions.) He has written book reviews for The New York Review of Science Fiction and articles for reference books on sf and other topics. He blogs on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth as supergee, his zine appears at http://efanzines.com/NiceDistinctions/, and a selection of his writings is available at http://www.maroney.org/hlavaty/ .
Helen Greiner, Scientist Guest of Honor
Helen Greiner is CEO of CyPhy Works, Inc, a startup company that designs and delivers innovative robots. In 1990, she co-founded iRobot, which has become the global leader of mobile robots with the success of the Roomba™ Vacuuming Robot and the PackBot™ and SUGV Military Robots. Ms Greiner served as President of iRobot until 2004 and Chairman until October 2008. Specifically, she developed the strategy for and led iRobot’s entry into the military market place. At iRobot, she created a culture of practical innovation and delivery that led to the creation and deployment of the 6000 PackBots with our troops. She also ran iRobot’s financing projects which included raising $35M venture capital and a $75M initial public offering. Greiner holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in computer science, both from MIT. She was presented with an honorary PhD by WPI in 2009.
Helen is highly decorated for her visionary contributions in technology innovation and business leadership. She was named by the Kennedy School at Harvard in conjunction with the U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders and was honored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) with the prestigious Pioneer Award. She has also been honored as a Technology Review Magazine “Innovator for the Next Century” and has been awarded the DEMO God Award and DEMO Lifetime Achievement Award. She was named one of the Ernst and Young New England Entrepreneurs of the Year, invited to the World Economic Forum as a Global Leader of Tomorrow and Young Global Leader, and has been inducted in the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame and the National Academy of Engineering. Helen is a Trustee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston Museum Science (MOS), and on the Board of Visitors of the Army War College (AWC) and Army Science Board (ASB). She has served as the elected President and Board Member of the Robotics Technology Consortium (RTC) and as Trustee of the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA).
Bill and Brenda Sutton, Music Guests of Honor
Bill and Brenda Sutton perform as the eclectic musical duo Bed & Breakfast. These adept and charming entertainers specialize in Irish songs and unusual modern folk/acoustic music, as well as numerous original compositions. Both Suttons are talented singer/songwriters with numerous credits and awards. They were inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 2001. Bill won Pegasus Awards for Best Male Filker in 1986, Best Techie Song for Do It Yourself in 1989, and in 2009 for his uproarious country space song Stray Dog Man. Brenda garnered her share of Pegasus Award recognition with a nomination in 2002 for In a Gown Too Blue, winning Best Song for Strangers No More in 2001 and Best Performer in 2002 for her work with Three Weird Sisters. At Chicon 7, the 2012 World Science Fiction Convention, she staged a reader’s theater performance of her one-act operetta based on the Tanya Huff short story “Choice of Endings”. In addition to Bed & Breakfast, Brenda also can be found playing with Three Weird Sisters and the Indianapolis-based Irish traditional trio Alair.
The Suttons have been instrumental (bah-dum-DUM!) in the filk community for over twenty-five years. They teach lyric writing workshops to help others improve and enjoy the music creation process, and have worked conventions at all levels from committee to chair. They helped create and run Interfilk, a non-profit organization that fosters up-and-coming contributors to filk music by sending them to filkcons far from their stomping grounds. Most recently, they headed the music track for LoneStarCon 3, the 2013 Worldcon. Brenda currently chairs Chambanacon, the longest continually running Midwest relaxacon. When they aren’t playing seisiún tunes at a local pub or sitting in with one or more pick-up bands across the country and around the world, Bill and Brenda live in Danville, Indiana, with two cats and a dog who likes to occasionally sing along.
Nnedi Okorafor, YA Author Special Guest
Nnedi Okorafor is a novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. In a profile of Nnedi’s work titled, “Weapons of Mass Creation”, the New York Times called Nnedi’s imagination “stunning.” Nnedi’s young adult novels are Akata Witch (an Amazon.com Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (winner of the Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award). Her children’s book Long Juju Man is the winner of the Macmillan Writer’s Prize for Africa. The sequel to Akata Witch (Akata Witch 2: Breaking Kola) is scheduled for release in 2015.
Nnedi’s adult works are Who Fears Death (winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel), her recently released short story collection Kabu Kabu and her science fiction novel Lagoon (to be released this April). Nnedi holds a PhD in literature and is a professor of creative writing at Chicago State University. Find her on facebook, twitter (@Nnedi) and at nnedi.com.
Jon Davis, Video Game Special Guest
Jon Davis has spent the last 18 years as a programmer in the video game industry. He currently works for Respawn Entertainment as a member of the team that created one of 2014’s most anticipated games, the sci-fi shooter Titanfall.
Starting with PilotWings 64, a launch title for the Nintendo 64, Jon has worked on a wide selection of video game genres across several well known franchises including EverQuest 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 1 and Modern Warfare 2. He is comfortable handling anything from game design tools to dirty optimization hacks, but his religion changes from vi to Emacs and back again on a whim. True to stereotype, he considers caffeine to be a vitamin rather than an occasional stimulant. When he is not wrangling compilers, Jon enjoys melting glass, curing meat, experimenting with yeast and playing pretty much every game he can get his hands on.
Roger Sims, ConChair Emeritus
H. G. Wells’ Time Machine, which was in his 11th grade English book, was Roger Sims’ first contact with sf literature. That’s if you don’t think E. B. White’s Once and Future King was, which he read at age 5! But he did not read a prozine until 1949 when he was 19. He called a phone number in the letter column and as a result entered fandom that same year. He has been a member of a fan club continuously since, if you count the bowling team made up of sf-fans. His first club was the Detroit Science Fiction League; his second was the Lunarians of New York, his third, The Cincinnati Fantasy Group; currently he is a member of the Orlando Science Fiction Society.
Many wondrous things have come his way over the past 54 years. Most important is meeting Pat, his bride of 49 years, at a Midwestcon. Others include meeting Sally Rand at MidAmericaConin 1976; dancing with Vampira to the music of Turk Murphy at the 1954 WorldCon; with Pat the 1995 DUFF Delegates for 3 fantastic weeks in Australia meeting local fans; Co-chair with Fred Prophet of the 17th WorldCon in Detroit in 1959.
His first WorldCon was the 1950 NorWesCon. From 1950 through 2012 he missed seven – four overseas and three US. That means he has attended 56 Worldcons. He was Fan Guest at the 1988 WorldCon in New Orleans, NolaCon II. He and Pat were part of two failed WorldCon bids. The 1982 bid for Detroit and the 1994 Louisville bid. He was the fan guest at 6 regional Cons. He hosted with Bill Bowers Corflu IV and he and Pat hosted Ditto 10. He and Pat have retired to Florida and due to the aging process, only attend WorldCon, OASIS, Midwestcon and Franhurst.
He has had articles published in Quandry and Mimosa. He has published four issues of his perzine. He holds the record for time between the first and second issues, He is currently a member of Flap. He has been a member of Saps, the Cult and ANZAPA and The Music APA.
Finally he had the opportunity to change seats with the driver as the car traveled down the highway at 55 mph! Who was the driver you ask? Harlan Ellison. When? 1954!
Fred Prophet, ConChair Emeritus
“Want to go to a Misfits meeting?”
I first met Fred Prophet at a bowling alley south of Detroit, which wasn’t what I expected from a science fiction club, but everyone was having a good time. Since then, any time I have run into him, he was always having a good time… playing cards at Midwestcon or the CFG suite, bringing something back for George and Howard from Worldcon overseas; Fred is all about seeing friends and enjoying their company. Perhaps we can credit his attitude of “I don’t care what Howard says as long as he pays his club dues” and “let George do it” for the relaxed attitude and desire to throw a good party that has characterized Detroit fandom ever since. At Detention, Fred hosted what Dave Kyle called the best drinking party ever, playing bridge and enjoying the company of his friends while the whole convention wandered back and forth between the party and Roger and Howard’s fanzine panel, carrying pitchers of beer, for about seven hours.
If you have the opportunity to meet Fred, do yourself a favor and say hello, I think you’ll walk away with a smile on your face.
By Chad Childers