Subscribe to YouTube Channel

Westercon and SiliCon Cancelled; SiliCon Cites Pandemic Impact

Thursday, May 11, 2023

It’s been a tough week for science fiction and fantasy fans on the U.S. West Coast as two major conventions announced that they’ve been cancelled.

The latest to throw in the towel was Westercon 75, the science fiction and fantasy convention set to take place June 30-July 3 in Anaheim, California. In a statement posted on Facebook and the event website, convention chair Arlene Busby cited “a cascade of circumstances” that led to the decision, but she did not provide further details.

The move was especially tough for steampunk fans who might have attended, as Parasol Protectorate author Gail Carriger was slated to be a guest of honor.

Loscon to “Assume the Mantle”

Loscon, the long-running Los Angeles-area SF/F convention, will “assume the mantle” of Westercon 75, Busby wrote, and Westercon memberships will be honored there. Loscon 49 is scheduled for Nov. 24-26 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott.

It’s not yet known if Carriger plans to attend Loscon. Peter S. Beagle is currently slated to be Loscon’s writer GoH.

Westercon members also have the option to get a refund of their membership fees, or to donate the money to the convention’s parent organization to help cover expenses.

Formally known as the West Coast Science Fantasy Conference, Westercon rotates each year among different cities in the Western U.S. Each convention is managed by a local committee that operates as a non-profit organization. Next year’s convention is scheduled for July 4-7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

SiliCon 2023 Pulls the Plug

The Westercon news came days after the organizers of SiliCon 2023 announced the cancellation of their event. The pop culture convention was scheduled for Oct. 14-15 at the Santa Clara Convention Center near San Jose.

The organizers cited the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which “has caused a significant disruption to public gatherings and events, and we have seen a slow return to normalcy,” they wrote in a statement posted May 5 on the website and Facebook page. “We continue to face challenges and uncertainties. The economic impact has been severe, and many individuals and businesses continue to face financial hardships.”

Ticket holders will receive full refunds, they added. And they said they are “exploring all options” for a return in the future.

Founded by Steve Wozniak, Stan Lee, and Rick White, the event launched in 2016 as Silicon Valley Comic Con, reportedly drawing 60,000 attendees. In 2020, it rebranded as SiliCon and brought on TV personality Adam Savage as creative director, with a mission to bolster the event’s maker programming.

The 2020 convention was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and attendance appeared to be significantly down in 2021 and 2022.

Ad Astra Goes Dormant

The dual cancellations followed an April 14 announcement that the Ad Astra Science Fiction Society, organizer of a major fan convention in the Toronto area, will enter a “dormant phase” due to financial problems.

“This decision was not entered into lightly, but after examining the current marketplace, the currently available convention/meeting spaces that would meet our existing business model, the volunteer situation and our current financial state, the majority of the board felt this was the best course for at least the near future,” board president Paul Roberts wrote in a statement on Facebook.

Keep up with news in the world of steampunk. Sign up for our free weekly newsletter, Steampunk Digest, delivered to your inbox every Thursday. You’ll get it a day before it’s posted on the website.

Support The Steampunk Explorer!

Patreon: Make a monthly pledge of $1 or more. Includes premium content.

Tip Jar: You can tip the editor in any amount via

CafePress: Buy T-shirts, buttons, or tote bags with our logo.