Willie Siros (1952-2022): Tribute by Sara Felix

Willie Siros, bookseller. Photo by John Anderson.

[Texas fan Willie Siros died January 5 at the age of 69. He chaired two of the earliest sf conventions in Texas, Solarcon I and II (1975, 1976), the first three Armadillocons (1979-1981), and LoneStarCon, the 1985 NASFiC in Austin, TX. He was a Guest of Honor at the 1997 Worldcon, LoneStarCon 3.]

By Sara Felix: When I was in college I worked at a bookstore at the University of Texas while getting my degree. It was a great little used bookstore and the perfect college job.  I fell in love with working in that type of environment and so after graduation when Willie offered me a job one day on the spot during a regular visit to Adventures and Crime and Space I jumped at the chance to work there. 

I am not going to lie, Willie was hard to work for.  He exasperated me quite a bit as our working styles were very different.  But the bookstore was a magical place to me and it felt as though Willie knew something about every author, every story, and every cover artist in the place.  Lots of regulars came in to get recommendations from him because of his vast knowledge of the genre he loved so much.  We had well attended signings where I got to create ridiculous displays and food.  He let me run with ideas I had and people enjoyed the experiences.  He was there every single day and he loved sharing his knowledge with the people who came in.  

Willie took me to my first Armadillocon in 1999.  I mean talk about starstruck, I got to go to lunch with Neil Gaiman and get a drawing in my book from Wayne Barlowe…. It was quite an auspicious beginning to my con experience.  Willie knew exactly what he was doing, luring me into fandom. Heh. I have rarely missed an Armadillocon since.  

He talked me into working on my first Worldcon with him, Noreascon 4. And when the bookstore folded he had some influence in me getting my first “real job” where I met my husband.

Willie was a part of some of my favorite early fannish memories.  As I got more involved in the community I realized how much he had been involved in before my time.  He founded and chaired the first conventions in Texas.  He was one of the creators of Armadillocon and chair for the first three and helped create the Fandom of Central Texas (FACT), our local fan group.  He was the fan guest of honor at LonestarCon 3 and created Instacon (Texas equivalent of Smofcon) to help spread the knowledge of convention running.  Many have called him one of the grandfathers of Texas fandom.  He certainly earned that title.  

Every Texas convention I have worked on he has been a part of too. Worldcons, World Fantasys and Armadillocon.  When I put the call out to help with the gallery exhibit I created for ASFA Willie and Chuck (his brother) were the first to volunteer their time and help put the art up.   

He was an integral part of Texas fandom and he will be missed.  

10 thoughts on “Willie Siros (1952-2022): Tribute by Sara Felix

  1. SIGH

    Damn, this one hurts. I bought a LOT of books from Willie at cons in the 1980s and 1990s. Some by mail from Adventures In Crime and Space as well. Bad enough that Carrie Richerson died a couple of years ago. I bought even more books from her. Now Willie’s gone too. The world is smaller and poorer-again.
    Requiescat In Pace.

    Here in 2768, it still hurts.

  2. Willie will be missed. I met him in early ’87, not long after I relocated to Austin. He wasn’t my favorite person, but he was an important part of Austin fandom.

  3. Martin Wooster: The World Fantasy Con history webpage doesn’t list him as a chair. I had that recollection myself, til I checked.

  4. Minor Correction to the intro paragraph: LoneStarCon 3, where Willie was GoH, was the 2013 Worldcon in San Antonio. 1997 was LoneStarCon 2. The 1985 NASFiC, which Willie chaired, was LoneStarCon 1.

  5. Damn. I knew Willie Siros, and frequented his brick and mortar store often on 6th Street in Austin, before rising rents made them leave. So many books bought there, and so many recommendations from him that introduced me to different writers. I had many a conversation with him in his store, and at conventions after the store closed. This leaves a big hole.

  6. Willie was a great champion for writers he enjoyed, especially Iain M Banks. Who also was gone far too soon.

  7. Damn, this hurts. He was a year younger than me.

    Willie was among my very favorite people that I only saw at cons and I was always delighted when I did. We had clicked from the first time we met. His combination of expert knowledge of the field and deep-dyed fannishness made every encounter with him a joy. I had hoped there would be many more such occasions.

    His passing is a loss to all of us who were his friends, to fandom, and to the SF community as a whole. We will not forget him.

  8. Sigh, even thought my relationship with him was backwards, I sold him books, in the late 80s and 90s. Crossed paths occasionally at conventions, mostly on the phone. Like many others, he will be missed.

    Note to us all, We need to stop Unmeeting like this?
    Do Fandroids dream of Electic Smofs and where will they come from?

  9. Willie was a good friend to my wife (Martha Wells) and I. God only knows how many books we bought from his store and his dealer’s table. He was always a supporter of her in her early years and during her career crash. We always appreciated his support. We’re just sick thinking about attending the next Armadillocon and knowing he won’t be there. Our deepest sympathies to his sister and brother, and to all his close friends. He’ll be sorely missed by us all.

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