Don't-Miss Speculative Fiction Events
Right now, somewhere in the world, SF professionals, scholars, and fans are gathering for a "con," an event celebrating the genre. Many are small or informal (regional conventions, local cons, media cons, "filk" cons, "relaxicons," and more), but major events take place somewhere every month. Many invite well-known writer, editor, artist, and fan guests of honor, plus entertaining toastmasters or emcees. Programming usually includes panels, presentations, and readings, plus art exhibits, booksellers, and much more. Larger, fan-oriented conventions usually include "filking" (fan music), gaming, author and actor signings, film screenings, a wide diversity of room parties, costuming and masquerades, dances, and much more. To truly understand the appeal of a con, you have to attend one. Here is a small selection of literary-focused cons; more to come! Click the links to visit the events' websites.
Nebula Awards Weekend. Cape Canaveral, FL, May 14-16 (moves around the world each year). Annual conference hosted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America; moves around the world. Includes panels, the SFWA business meeting, and awards ceremony for the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award (lifetime achievement), Andre Norton Award (best YA spec-fic), Bradbury Award (best dramatic presentation), Solstice Award (significance to the field), plus honors for senior writers as Authors Emeriti.
WisCon. Madison, WI, May 27-31. Annual feminist science fiction convention. Includes award ceremony for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award (for spec-fic that "expands or explores our understanding of gender").
Science Fiction Research Association Conference. Atlanta, GA, June 11-14 (moves around the world each year). Annual conference hosted by the Science Fiction Research Association, dedicated to sharing research on spec-fic literature and film. Includes paper presentations, panels, and teacher "short courses," plus the awards ceremony for the Pilgrim Award (honors lifetime contributions to spec-fic scholarship), Thomas D. Clareson Award (outstanding service activities in SF), Student Paper Award, and Mary Kay Bray Award (best scholarly work in SFRA Review).
Readercon. Burlington, MA, July 8-11. Annual conference devoted to "'imaginative literature,' literary science fiction, fantasy, horror, and the unclassifiable works often called 'slipstream.'" Includes award ceremony for the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award (for a neglected author), the Rhysling Awards (SF poetry), and the Shirley Jackson Awards (for dark fantasy and psychological suspense).
Campbell Conference & Awards. Lawrence, KS, July 16-18. Annual conference hosted by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. Includes scholarly discussions and the award ceremony for John Campbell Memorial Award (best SF novel) and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award (best short SF).
Tricon. Cieszyn/Cesky Tesin, Poland/Czech Republic (border city), Aug 26-29. This year's Eurocon (the major European convention) will be hosted by Czech, Polish, and Slovak fans, uniting Eurocon, Parcon, and Polcon into "Tricon."
World Fantasy Convention. Columbus, OH, Oct 28-31 (moves around the world each year). The largest annual fantasy-oriented con, World Fantasy has a strong professional and academic focus on the literature. Includes award ceremony for the World Fantasy Awards (best fantasy in all categories).
World Science Fiction Convention. Melbourne, Australia, Sept 2-6 (2010); Reno, NV, Aug 18-21 (2011 - moves around the world each year). Perhaps the largest yearly event in the SF calendar, Worldcon attracts readers, writers, artists, and everyone else from around the world to gather for a weekend of panels and readings, business and conversation. Includes award ceremony for the Hugo Awards (best SF in all categories) plus John Campbell Award (best new spec-fic author).
FantasyCon. Nottingham, UK, Sept 17-19. Annual con hosted by the British Fantasy Society. Includes British Fantasy Awards (best spec-fic in all categories).
Eaton Conference. Riverside, CA, February 11-13, (2011). Annual scholarly conference hosted by the Eaton Collection of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Utopian Literature at the University of California, Riverside. For 2011, will focus on world SF. Includes the inaugural Science Fiction & Fantasy Translation Awards.
International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts. Orlando, FL, March 16-20 (2011). Annual conference hosted by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, a scholarly organization "devoted to the study of the fantastic (broadly defined) as it appears in literature, film, and the other arts." Includes awards ceremony for Crawford Award (outstanding new spec-fic writer), Dell Magazines Award (undergraduate spec-fic), and other scholarly awards.
Norwescon. SeaTac, WA, April 1-3 (2011). Annual convention serving the Pacific Northwest. Major, fan-oriented event that includes all aspects of a con from costuming through literary awards; hosts the award ceremony for the Philip K. Dick Award (best paperback SF).
World Horror Convention. Austin, TX, Apr 28-May 1
(2011 - moves around the world each year). Annual convention hosted by the
Horror Writers of America. Includes awards ceremony for Bram Stoker Awards
(best horror in all categories).