Over the Memorial Day weekend I had the chance to attend my first Marcon convention in Columbus, Ohio. Marcon is the oldest science fiction and fantasy convention in Ohio and is operated by SOLEA (the Science Oriented Literature, Art, and Education Foundation). The first Marcon was held in Toledo, OH back in 1966. They moved to Columbus for the third convention in 1968 and have been there ever since.
Marcon offers what you expect to find at a convention; a dealer’s room and an art show, as well as panels and workshops. There is a definite party atmosphere to this Con that we missed out on since we were only able to attend for the day. A serious party atmosphere—when you book you hotel room through the Con, they ask if you want to be on a “party” or “non party” floor of the hotel! There’s also a Con wide game of collecting “stamps” by attending various functions, buying from different vendors, or just running in to the right people and talking to them while mingling. The stamps are actually ribbons with catchy little sayings (“Plays Well With Others” or “I Got My Rocks At The Silver Fox” as examples) that you start sticking to your badge (passport) holder. Collect as many as you can and stop by information to get prizes. You can also find various costumed attendees from various aspects of fantasy and science fiction. On a personal note, it was refreshing to NOT run in to a woman heavier than I am who thought she looked fabulous in the Princess Leia slave costume. But, sadly, there were several people wearing the cat ears and tails with otherwise normal clothing (I still don’t understand why that’s popular). Befitting a science fiction and fantasy convention there were the prerequisite Stormtroopers of various makes, models (and sizes), as well as quite a few people who have embraced their inner steampunk to varying degrees of success.
Each year the convention turns its attention to a different theme or sub-genre of fantasy and science fiction. For Marcon 46 the convention committee chose Alternate History fiction. Alternate History is sometimes classified as a sub genre of literary fiction or historical fiction, as well as science fiction. These stories are set in worlds where at some critical point in the past an event went differently than our history remembers it and that resulted in a whole new timeline. The convention featured several panels that discussed Alternate History Fiction trends, timelines and subjects that haven’t been explored and how to build your own alternate history universe. Those panels included Alternative History authors Eric Flint and Harry Turtledove among others. I was fortunate enough to sit in on one of those panels, which I hope to discuss in my next entry on Alternate History Fiction.
Marcon is a fun regional Con. If you enjoy science fiction and fantasy and are looking for a nice weekend trip next year, it would be a great place to explore. Their theme next year will be “Galactic Beach Party”.
[tags]conventions,fantasy,science fiction,scifi,review,alternate history[/tags]