Fred Duarte, Jr. | Texas in 2013

Texas in 2013Texas in 2013

September 18, 2009

Fred Duarte, Jr.

Reprinted with Permission from

Fred Duarte, Jr. / Photo by Mark Olson.

Memo from Mission Control: San Antonio is currently contending to host the 2013 World Science Fiction Convention. If you’re a science fiction/fantasy fan in San Antonio and the surrounding area, this is hugely exciting news. Missions Unknown will be running periodic interviews with the people making the bid happen. The vote for the 2013 Worldcon’s location won’t happen until 2011, so this next two years of work will be critical to SA’s chances of winning the bid. Check out the Texas bid’s official website for more info. Let’s make this happen, SA. FRED DUARTE, JR. has been involved in fannish life since 1981 when he moved to Austin from Kansas City. He found Robert Taylor and Willie Siros through an ArmadilloCon ad in the back of ANALOG MAGAZINE. He went to ArmadilloCon for the first time in 1981, and began helping out at the convention shortly thereafter. His exposure to large sf/f conventions began at the 1983 WorldCon in Baltimore. He met Robert Silverberg and Isaac Asimov for the first time and he remembers it as “quite the culture shock.”

Austin was the site for the 1985 North American Science Fiction Convention when WorldCon was in Australia that year. Fred and his circle of friends got the idea to bring WorldCon to Texas after the 1988 WorldCon in New Orleans. After bidding for and winning the 1997 WorldCon, he chaired the 2000 World Fantasy Convention in Corpus Christi, and co-chaired the 2006 WFC in Austin. He’s also chaired or co-chaired four or five ArmadilloCons.

Favorite sf/f authors, books, and movies include: Dan Simmons, Ray Bradbury, Robin Hobb, John Scalzi, Roger Zelazny; A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ, TIMESCAPE, HYPERION, THE FALL OF HYPERION, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK; BLADERUNNER, STAR WARS, STAR TREK (the new one), FORBIDDEN PLANET, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1950 version)

FRED'S FAVES: Four of Fred Duarte, Jr.'s all-time favorite sf/f books, along with Neil Gaiman's GRAVEYARD BOOK
FRED’S FAVES: Four of Fred Duarte, Jr.’s all-time
favorite sf/f books, along with Neil Gaiman’s GRAVEYARD BOOK
What makes San Antonio an attractive 2013 Worldcon bid site? One of the big reasons is how much space there is at the convention center and the proximity of the big hotels to it, such as the Marriott Rivercenter, Marriott Riverwalk, and now the Grand Hyatt. You need 1800 room nights for the two peak nights at a WorldCon and now you can get them in just three hotels. You also need something to entertain folks besides the convention, and the Riverwalk fits the bill perfectly. Now that it’s been extended, there’s even more new enjoyment for travellers who attended Worldcon when it was in San Antonio back in 1997. You were a vice-chair for that Worldcon. What worked especially well at that show? What do you hope to improve upon this time around? The 1997 Worldcon was considered a big success by the attendees. People kept coming up to us and saying what a great thing the Riverwalk was, and we replied, “We told you all along you would like it!” The Masquerade and the Hugo Awards Ceremony worked especially well that year. Both were held at the Marriott Rivercenter, which has the largest ballroom in the state. What we need to work on for next time is getting even more qualified volunteers, regardless if they are local or not. How can San Antonians help bring Worldcon to the city in 2013? They can do it by just going to the local sf conventions in Texas, such as ArmadilloCon, FenCon, ConDFW or ApolloCon in Houston, and look us up at our bid table. Pre-support the convention. A presupporting membership is a way of contributing money to the bid committee as a way of helping to spread the word at many conventions around the US about the bid. Bidding for Worldcon is a very expensive endeavor. We estimate that it cost us $60,000 in bid costs to bring the 1997 WorldCon to San Antonio. We have several levels of presupporting starting at $20. Please see our website, join today, and spread the word.

They can also get more details about Worldcon, and how they are run, by attending SmofCon, the SF convention runners’ convention. It will be held this year on the first weekend of December at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Austin. I will be there as well as several others working on the 2013 Texas Bid. If you go, please look us up. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about the bid or about conventions in general.

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