Saturday, July 07, 2007

Diversicon 15 -- the coolest conference on the planet?

This looks like a really cool, fun conference for writers and fans of sci-fi and fantasy, along with crossover fiction that overlaps additional genres such as mystery and suspense. I've had the totally amazing and humbling honor of being invited as Guest of Honor at next year's Diversicon, Diversicon 16, which will be held August, 2008 in the same location.

Bloomington, MN, is a first-ring suburb and just three minutes from the St. Paul/Minneapolis International Airport. The hotel is across the street from the Mall of America. We have a
light rail
that can easily haul your ass all over town, from the airport to the mall, to the hotel, to downtown Minneapolis. You don't have to buy dressy clothes. I've been told jeans and T-shirts are delightful evening wear.

Please go to the link to read more about location, events, panels, parties, food, screenings, guests, etc.


Here's some info on this year's event:

Diversicon 15 and ConSume Relaxacon Dates: August 3-5, 2007

Holiday Inn Select International Airport
- Mall of America
3 Appletree Square,
Bloomington, MN 55425
or 952-854-9000


Through The Ides of March 2007 (March 15):
Adult $25, Student (ages 5-17) $15

Through Bastille Day, 14th of July 2007:

Adult $30, Student $20, Supporting $5, Converting $25

At the Door
Adult $40, Student $30

Other Options:

Supporting: $5/Converting: $25

For further info write to:
PO Box 8036, Lake Street Station Minneapolis, MN 55408

Or call:
Eric M. Heideman, 612-721-5959

Or you can reach us via our new Gmail email address.

Diversicon: A Brief History

SF Minnesota was founded in February 1992 by a group of veterans of other speculative fiction conventions—and some newcomers—who believed that there was room for a Twin Cities convention with a different tone and focus. Over the next 16 months, they hammered out a philosophy of Diversicon: it would be a convention that would celebrate and explore the connections between speculative fiction (SF) and diversity, particularly in three main areas: 1) Cultural diversity. Slightly more than two thirds of Diversicon's guest professionals have been women. A number of guests have been persons of color. A number of guests have been openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual and/or have written SF that explores issues of alternate sexuality. "Readers and writers of speculative fiction often pat themselves on the back about their openness to the possibilities of alien life forms and radically different ways of thinking," said Eric M. Heideman, one of SF Minnesota's founders. "Sometimes, notwithstanding this commitment to imagined cultures, the field loses track of the diversity of culture that exists right now on this planet. In our small way, Diversicon works to broaden the field’s possibilities." 2) Diversity of fan groups. Diversicon would be openly welcoming, friendly, and respectful to the wide range of SF-related organizations in the area, ranging from book clubs to writing groups, Star Trek and anime clubs, creative anachronists and futurist organizations, and anyone else who shared an interest in diversity and the imagination. 3) Diversity in media. Recognizing that different people come to SF through different paths, Diversicon would be inclusive of all media. In addition to a strong core of literary programming—including items for both writers and readers—the convention also includes a rich sampling of panels and discussions related to SF in film, TV, graphic arts, and other media as well as speculative science. Diversicon 1 premiered in June 1993 and subsequently settled on August as its regular month. A milestone for the convention was hosting the James Tiptree Jr. Award in 2000. Eric Heideman said, "We take pride in being a convention that’s willing to lead, not just follow. For example, we were the first SF convention to invite Tananarive Due and Minister Faust, among others, as guests. Having the courage to often invite little-known but exciting guests is a challenge, when we could get higher numbers by celebrating the already-celebrated." Heideman recalled some of his favorite moments at Diversicon as "many mental snapshots of times when I realized what a wonderful, civilized group of people we had in attendance and what a worthwhile thing we were doing together." Acknowledging the issues that face a convention like Diveriscon, Heideman said, "An ongoing challenge is retaining our front-and-center commitment to diversity, resisting the pull to make the convention more generic. We need to continue to work at being a first-rate convention whose subject is diversity in SF." Diversicon also strives to reach out to and welcome those who enjoy reading, writing, or viewing SF but who haven't yet found a community of like-minded people. "We need to do a consistent job of getting the word out to people who would be interested in this sort of convention," said Heideman. "We have done an effective job of getting out the message that we’re a woman- and gay-friendly convention. We need to do a better job of drawing persons of color to Diversicon, including persons with little or no prior experience of SF fandom."


pattinase (abbott) said...

So cool, Anne. Congrats. Maybe we'll head out next year.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Anne - very cool! I think that would be a lot of fun, and what an honour to be invited. Hmmm, wonder if we'll see a sci fi farming story from you in the future!

anne frasier said...

patti, that would be fantastic!!

sandra, i'm still looking behind me thinking they must have been talking to someone else. :D

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the honor, Anne!! Very well deserved. (Those horror fans are a loyal bunch, aren't they?)

I hope the Guest of Honor doesn't have to sit in a dunking tank full of blood for charity or something. The horror/SF crowd can get dicey.

anne frasier said...

jason, lol! i love the bloody dunk tank image! but i had to tinker with my description again since this really isn't a horror conference. i was trying to come up with something brief but broad! arghh! it's basically sci-fi/fantasy, with a strong cultural emphasis on welcoming writers and readers from all walks of life.

bekbek said...

Guest of Honor! Wow, that's neat. I've met a few GoHs, and although I was not directly involved, it is my understanding that they ALWAYS get laid.

I think it's in your contract. Check the fine print. In fact, it is my understanding that it will be offered whether you like the idea or not.

anne frasier said...
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