17 years of Willycon

Sci-Fi Club hosts convention next weekend

Brenden Buskirk, Staff Writer

For the 17th consecutive year, WillyCon will captivate minds and stimulate the imaginations of many.

Open to students, faculty and the public, WillyCon is sponsored and run by the WSC Sci-Fi Fantasy Club.

The convention will take place Friday, April 10, and Saturday, April 11. The weekend of activities will start Friday morning at 10 a.m. with the opening of the WillyCon Art Show.

A variety of campus organizations are involved with the convention and strive for a unique quality of fun and education. Some of the WillyCon panels are presented by WSC science educators, and others by students and/or selected guests dealing with fantasy, science fiction and gaming topics.

There is also a short-story contest, an incredible art show and auction, a masquerade show, gaming, movies, a dealer’s room and many more activities to enjoy.

“It’s a really fun weekend to explore things you haven’t seen before. It’s got a little of everything,” Ron Vick, counselor and advisor of the Sci-Fi Club, said. “People get the impression it’s a Wayne State thing, but it’s open to the public. We welcome everybody to come.”

Vick said the event takes about a year to plan, and he has already begun the planning of next year’s.

Each year, guests of honor are chosen to take part in the festivities. David Weber was chosen to be the guest author. His stories have military, particularly naval themes and fit into the military science fiction genre.

“Our author David Weber is very well-known and has a huge following. People from Minnesota, Colorado and South Dakota have already registered just to see him,” Vick said.

As a writer, Weber challenges gender roles in the military by assuming that a gender-neutral military service will exist in his imagined future. He frequently places female lead characters in what have previously been seen as traditionally male roles.

He also explores the challenges faced by women in the military and politics. His most popular and enduring character is Honor Harrington, whose story, together with the “Honorverse” she inhabits, has been developed through 17 novels, five shared-universe anthologies, a young-adult series and an upcoming “historical” series written with Timothy Zahn.

Betsy Mott was selected to be the guest artist for WillyCon XVII.
After nine years of college and two master’s degrees (English literature and theatre), Mott decided she wanted to be a professional artist.

For more than 30 years, her media portrait, techno drawings and fantasy paintings have been seen in science fiction art shows all over the country.

Her work can be seen on the Landmark, Great Warrior and Great Space Ships series of published note cards, CDs, Web books, websites, fanzines and collections around the world. She will be providing assistance and tips to aspiring artists.

WillyCon will also feature an art show and auction, displays and sales of science fiction and fantasy art, and a vendors’ room with gaming supplies and miscellaneous merchandise.

WSC students and local artists are encouraged to submit their artwork.

An authors’ workshop will offer the public an opportunity to learn from a successful author and gather information about the craft of writing.
There will also be an artists workshop that offers specific instruction from a talented artist on illustrative drawing or painting techniques.

WillyCon is an inexpensive, fun-filled weekend suitable for all ages. Registration for the convention is $25 for the weekend at the door. WSC students may attend at no cost and students from other colleges will be charged $10.

For additional information or to register for the event, visit www.willycon.com.