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Tim Powers' BioBill Roper's BioAmy K. Brown's Bio

Fan Guest Of Honor

Bill Roper - Our Fan Guest of Honor

Bill Roper

The purpose of a guest of honor is to entertain and meet those who have come to the convention. The purpose of a guest of honor's biography is to contain lies about the guest of honor, who can then spend the entire convention either denying them or entertaining himself by claiming they are true.

Roper has been active in recording, publishing, writing and performing filk since the 1970s. With his wife Gretchen, he founded Dodeka Records in 1990 and sells his and other CDs and tapes from the Huckster Room as The Secret Empire, which was founded in 1986. In 2000 Roper was elected to the Filk Hall of Fame. He won a Pegasus Award in 1988 for "Wind From Rainbow's End" as Best Filk Song and in 1987, he shared a Pegasus with Clif Flynt for Best Schtick. He has five other Pegasus Nominations under his belt, one in collaboration with his wife, the long-suffering Gretchen (although no nominations since they've been married, wonder what that tells us).

Bill and Gretchen (along with Gretchen's then-husband, Doug) founded SpaceTime Theater, Chicago's non-resident science-fiction comedy improv group, in 1988. They've been a fixture at Michigan cons since then (lately ConClave) and, when the Jungian memory lapses, have actually performed in the Chicago area.

Roper took a much-publicized break from filking and convention running in the late 80s to labor "long and hard" on the Americans with Disabilities Act according to former President George H.W. Bush. *

Once that was a thing in the past, Bill returned his attention to science fiction conventions and chaired Windycon 22 in 1995. He was so s/t/u/p/i/d successful that he wound up agreeing to a repeat performance the following year. Needless to say, sanity, and a firm hand on the part of the long-suffering Gretchen, set in and he hasn't chaired a convention since then. The Windycons were not the first time Bill had been roped into chairmanship, as he oversaw WhatCon I and II in Champaign-Urbana in 1979 and 1980. In his defense, Bill would like to point out that the four times he chaired conventions, he brought in such low profile guests as Gordy Dickson, Larry Niven, Poul Anderson and Lois McMaster Bujold.

His con chairing days behind him (?), he foolhardily opened his mouth and found himself appointed to run the Exhibits division at Chicon 2000, the 58"' World Science Fiction Convention. This let Roper (as the long-suffering Gretchen calls him) enjoy basking in the glow of hucksters and artists. When things became to hectic, he could repair to the fan lounge (no, it wasn't broken), which was also in his bailiwick.

As part of Chicago fandom's not-so-secret Family Cabal, Roper sits on the Board of Directors of ISFiC, enjoying making a nuisance out of himself and annoying the other members (the l-s Gretchen sits on Phandemonium's board and they are trying to get the cat on the Super-Con-Duck-Tivity board). Roper was also inducted into the Dorsai Irregulars at Conclave 22 in 1997.

When not donating his time to fandom, Roper works in the computer industry, where he has developed games such as Diablo II and WarCraft III for Blizzard Games, where he is a vice president.**

Perhaps more important than all of his fannish activities put together, Roper is a long- time season ticket holder to see the Cubs do worse things to baseball than any major league strike could ever do. Year after year sees him sitting in the stands cheering on the boys in blue, except when they play the hated Cardinals, at which time residential concerns go out the window and he roots for the redbirds.

*Although a Bill Roper worked on the ADA, and President Bush did comment on his laboring “long and hard,” all evidence suggests it was a different Bill Roper. This is one of those items Roper can either deny or entertain himself with.

**Again, although there is a Bill Roper who is a Vice President at Blizzard Games, it is widely believed that it ain’t the same Bill Roper.