Guests of Honor

We are proud to announce some extremely talented individuals as our Guests of Honor and we are sure you’ll be excited to meet them at Westercon 70. Closer to the convention date, we will update to highlight when and where during the con you can meet them and attend their panels.


Julie Dillon [Official Website] is a freelance sci-fi and fantasy artist whose work has earned her two Hugo Awards, four Chesley awards and a World Fantasy Award nomination.

She has done work for a wide range of clients, including Simon & Schuster, Tor Books, Penguin Books, Wizards of the Coast, Popular Science magazine, Subterranean Press, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Paizo Publishing and Dark Horse Comics. Colorful and vibrant, her artwork combines the fantastic with the mundane in a way that stirs the imagination and encourages the viewer to create their own stories.

Julie currently lives in Northern California, where she enjoys biking, hiking, gardening, and volunteering at a local equine rescue.

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( Headshot courtesy of Nancee Lewis Photography )


Tom Deadstuff [Official Website] makes stuff – cool, creepy, horrific, mind-twisting, wondrous, fantastical stuff.

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Connie Willis [Official Site] is one of the most successful science fiction writers in history. She has won eleven Hugos (including three for Best Novel) and seven Nebulas, among many others; she has been recognized by the Science Fiction Writers of America as their 28th Grand Master and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009.

Many of her works fall into the Time Travel series, featuring history students at the future University of Oxford, including the novels, Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog and Blackout/All Clear, which was published in two parts.

Connie Willis is kindly sponsored by the Western Science Fiction Association (WesternSFA).


( Headshot courtesy of Kyle Cassidy )


Gini Koch [Official Website] writes the fast, fresh and funny Alien/Katherine ‘Kitty’ Katt series for DAW Books, the Necropolis Enforcement Files, and the Martian Alliance Chronicles series. She also has a humor collection, Random Musings from the Funny Girl.

As G. J. Koch, she writes the Alexander Outland series and she’s made the most of multiple personality disorder by writing under a variety of other pen names as well, including Anita Ensal, Jemma Chase, A. E. Stanton, and J. C. Koch. She has stories featured in a variety of excellent anthologies, available now and upcoming.

Alien Education ginikochbook3 Alexander Outland: Space Pirate


Val’s 43 years in fandom include chairing the 2011 World Fantasy Convention and the 2010 Conjecture in San Diego, as well as the 1986 and 1989 Lunacons in New York. She has held committee positions at local and regional cons, Westercons, and Worldcons and is currently Guest Liaison for both ConDor and Gaslight Gathering, as well as a Senior Assistant in the Autograph Area at Comic-Con, all in San Diego. She also served on the Board of the New York Science Fiction Society (The Lunarians) for several years in the 1980s. In her other life, her 40 years as a librarian included twelve at Intermediate School 88 and eight at the Bronx High School of Science, both in New York City. She retired as a librarian at San Diego Mesa [Community] College in 2010 after 19 years there, so she now has time to indulge her loves of reading, travel, singing and chocolate.

Ron has been a fan since 1977. He has held committee positions at local and regional cons, Westercons, and Worldcons and is currently Hotel Liaison for Gaslight Gathering and a Senior Assistant in the Autograph Area at Comic-Con, both in San Diego. He was President of the New York Science Fiction Society (The Lunarians) for several years in the 1980s. He is a geek, having been a programmer/analyst at Seton Hall University for nine years (after several similar positions at other locations), a position he left to become a partner in his family’s travel agency for 11 years. He enjoys singing and travel and is an avid do-it-yourselfer. Recently he has tried his hand as a Maker.

Val and Ron [Official Website] have been together since 1980 and married since 1988. As a couple, they were 2002 Lunacon Fan GoHs and are Honorary Members of the New York Science Fiction Society (The Lunarians). They are also on the Board of the San Diego Speculative Fiction Society, Inc. (SanSFiS). They have been running tours in connection with Worldcons since 1987, when Ron was the official travel agent for the Conspiracy (as he was again in 1988 for Nolacon). Their past tours have included Britain (twice), Ireland, Japan, and Australia (twice) and yes, they are running one to Scandinavia in 2017. That they have had many returnees would seem to indicate that they are doing something right.


Tim Griffin [Official Website] is an award-winning teacher, musician and storyteller with four albums out and a fifth coming real soon now. He runs the educational nonprofit GriffinEd, using music to teach science, math, history, and other subjects to grades K-8 for no charge.

Tim Griffin was chosen by the Annenberg Foundation in 2013 as a member of their Alchemy academy for leaders of nonprofits showing exceptional promise. In 2014, they chose him again. He is also an artist in residence teaching songwriting to at-risk kids for several art and science organizations in Los Angeles county; and was a finalist in the 2016 Social Innovation Fast Pitch, a Shark-Tank-like competition for innovative nonprofits. He has performed to great hilarity and edification for the National Science Teachers’ Association, AAAS, Mensa, Interfilk, hundreds of schools and a bunch of sci-fi and filk conventions. He is terribly excited to share songs and stories with you at ConAlope!

Tim’s music, along with lyrics, notes on classroom use, chords etc. is all free at the website. Tax deductible donations (PayPal etc.) are always appreciated but never required.

Tim Griffin is kindly sponsored by the Phoenix Filk Circle.



Henry Vanderbilt founded Space Access Society in 1992, and ran the quietly influential annual Space Access Conferences in most of the years since. He is not a rocket scientist, but he can translate reasonably well between rocket scientist and English. (He did manage a bunch of rocket engineers once, but that’s another story.)

He first started working for radically cheaper space transportation via fast-turnaround fuel-and-go reusable rockets back in 1986, when that was all strictly SF. He’s a lifelong Fan but he’s nevertheless pleased as hell to see this plot device now doing a genre jump to current-day technothriller. He looks forward to it soon settling down as just another taken-for-granted background element in mainstream contemporary literature.


Larry Elmore [Official Website] has been creating fantasy and science fiction art for over 40 years. After two years in the service, he got a job at Fort Knox, Kentucky as an illustrator. In addition, he started freelancing at home and was published in a few magazines, including Heavy Metal and National Lampoon.

Eventually, he was contacted by TSR Inc, the company that produced the role playing game Dungeons & Dragons, and he went to work there from 1981 to 1987. While at TSR, he helped set the standards of gaming art in the role-playing genre. Besides creating covers for Dungeons & Dragons, AD&D, Star Frontiers and other gaming books, he created SnarfQuest Tales for the company’s Dragon Magazine. He may be best known for his work with the world of Dragonlance, exemplified by the covers of the Dragonlance book series.

Since 1987, he’s been working as a freelance illustrator, creating covers for comics, computer games, magazines, fantasy and science fiction books and many other projects. He’s worked for other publishers such as Baen Books, Bantam, Warner Books, Ace/Berkley, Doubleday, and Del Rey. I am also the co-author of Runes of Autumn and creator of the Sovereign Stone series. In the gaming and comic industries, he has freelanced for TSR, Inc, FASA, Mayfair Games, Game Designer’s Workshop, White Wolf, Iron Crown Enterprises, Dragon Magazine, Amazing Magazine, Wizard Press, DC Comics, First Comics, Eclipse Comics and Frank Frazetta’s Fantasy Illustrated.

Larry Elmore is kindly sponsored by LepreCon 44.



John and Bjo Trimble were science fiction fans long before they met and merged to become a force to reckon with. They met in science fiction fandom and married in 1960. Over the years, they have been responsible for many successful projects, including raising three daughters.

They worked for years on Science Fiction & Fantasy conventions, as well as their own media and Star Trek cons. They originated the Worldcon Art Shows and stewarded those for 17 years. Bjo founded Futuristic Fashion Shows that are still continued in Costume Cons. They both have Inkpot Awards from San Diego Comic-Con for setting up the convention’s first art shows and helping to organize their early masquerade contests.

They worked together on the original and very successful Save Star Trek campaign, but John never got credit. They rallied space fans to name the first shuttle Enterprise to draw attention to the space effort. Bjo has written two professionally published and several self-published books, as well as multiple magazine articles. They are still active in the Society for Creative Anachronism, where they can usually be found teaching.

Both Trimbles are avid readers, and have books on all subjects piled beside their bed. They enjoy unusual cheeses, home-brewed dark beer, intelligent conversation and travel anywhere at any time. They like fans and love to guest at conventions whenever invited.

You can find them on Facebook on their individual pages, on the Ancient Earth Pigments page and on their combined John & Bjo Trimble page.

John & Bjo Trimble are kindly sponsored in part by the United Federation of Phoenix.

(Photo courtesy of Bob Paz)


Weston Ochse [Official Website] is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narcotic smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea.

His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.

A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci-fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war.