Con†Stellation XXXIV: Mensa (The Table)
14–16 October 2016——Huntsville, Alabama
Welcome to the website for Con†Stellation, an annual general interest Science Fiction & Fantasy convention(←What's That?) in Huntsville Alabama. Con†Stellation (or Con*Stellation) is an annual, fan-run, general-interest science fiction & fantasy convention sponsored by NASFA—the North Alabama Science Fiction Association. The next con—Con†Stellation XXXIV: Mensa—will be 14–16 October 2016.
This site will always be a work in progress and will be updated as details of the 2016 convention are firmed up (so please come back often!). If you can't readily find the info you need, please see our Contact Info below to get in touch. You can also follow us on Twitter <@Con_Stellation>.
Con†Stellation XXXIV: Mensa (The Table) will held at 14–16 October 2016 the Four Points by Sheraton Huntsville Airport located onsite at the Huntsville International Airport (HSV) :
Please remember to park in Hotel Parking (not regular airport parking). There are signs to follow when arriving at the airport. Bring the ticket you get when entering this lot to the hotel desk and show your convention badge to get validated for free parking.
Adult Membership(←What's That?) rate:
Child and Young Adult Rates:
Rates for children (though age 12) are fixed regardless of when they are purchased.
Children not accompanied by an Adult Member will be charged the Young Adult Membership rate.
Young Adult Memberships (students age 13-21, as of October 14, 2016) are $5 off the corresponding Adult Membership in effect at the time of purchase. We trust you (we really, really do) but we reserve the right to request a Student ID or some other proof of student status.
Each year, Con†Stellation chooses an astronomical constellation as a subtitle to be used for just that year. This year, we've chosen Mensa. Technically, the constellation is named in honor of Table Mountain (in fact, an early name for the constellation was Mons Mensae). It is, however, sometimes referred to as just "the table" and that's the sense we're intending. If you've ever been to a Con†Stellation and seen the number of people playing Killer Cutthroat Spades, you probably won't wonder just what kind of table we had in mind.
We only post confirmed guests, so check back often for updates—there are almost always several invitations outstanding.
We are returning in 2016 to the Four Points by Sheraton Huntsville Airport—a Starwood hotel. The hotel is located in the Huntsville International Airport, with hotel reception and most of the function space on the first and second floors and the sleeping rooms stacked above the airport arrival/departure areas. It is conveniently located immediately off of I-565 in the western part of the Huntsville Metro Area—click here for a Google Map.
Standard rooms (king or double-double) are $92 (+taxes). A limited number of Jacuzzi and Corner King rooms may be available for a nightly upcharge.
The hotel website is also a good place to learn about the hotel, get driving directions, etc.
Parking in the hotel parking lot is free for all convention members—just bring your parking ticket and convention badge to the hotel desk to get the ticket validated. Please be careful not to park in airport parking (short term or long term). The entrances for the various parking lots are close together so watch the signs carefully.
Orders for Con†Stellation XXXIV T-Shirts and Polos are now closed.
Con†Stellation's annual Art Show, Print Shop, and Auction brings together science fiction, fantasy, or fandom-related art from both professional and amateur artists. We want you to enjoy just looking at the art, but we're happy to say that all the artwork in the Print Shop and the large majority of that on display in the Art Show will be for sale.
For complete info on how to buy or sell art at Con†Stellation (including fees, the shipping address, etc. for the latter) click through to the Art Show page. The contact info for our Art Show director is:
Most or all of the authors attending Con†Stellation XXXIV will have their works for sale at an Author Table in the Dealers Room. The table will be staffed by both Con†Stellation volunteers and the authors themselves. (UPDATE: As you can see below, the bad news is that we had a last-minute cancellation among our dealers. The very good news is that this will let us increase the space devoted to our attending authors.😀)
As of 21 May 2016 the following dealers will be at Con†Stellation XXXIV.
|Karen Boyd, A.B. Tales||Collectibles|
|Loren Damewood, Golden Knots||Custom jewelry|
|Laura & Russell Peterson, Sci-Fi Collectables||What it says in the name|
|David Willoughby||Used/collectible books|
The Dealers Room at Con†Stellation XXXIV is currently full. We may be able to put you on a standby list in case of cancellations.
The first table ($80) includes one convention membership. A second table ($50) does not include additional memberships. All dealers and helpers must be members of the convention. If you need more than two table, please contact the convention.
All tables are 6′x30″. We do not hold tables without payment, though we do reserve the right to curate the room in order to make a wide variety of merchandise available for sale to all convention members. Send payment (check) to the convention address below. Please mark the envelope ATTN: Dealers Room. Please include any special requests, including if you need access to an electrical outlet.
Updated 9 October 2016
A revised draft Programming for Con†Stellation XXXIV is now available at this link (PDF file). This version should be very close to the final schedule. The final schedule will be available in print at the convention.
A special event will be held Sunday for National Novel Writing Month. Note that space will be limited.
One thing that will be back for sure is Con†Stellation's version of small-group meetings with some of our guests. Perhaps you've been to a KaffeeKlatsch at a convention before? If not, the short definition is a gathering with a convention guest and a small group of fans, drinking coffee (or tea, or...) and chatting. Starting in 2012 we put out our own spin on that; providing candy instead of coffee. Success! (Yes, there is strategy involved—you might be ill advised to put a piece of toffee in your mouth just before you want to ask a question.)
You will have to sign up at the convention for these events. There may be a limit on how many KandyKlatsches each convention member can sign up for, and there will be a limit on the number of people in each KandyKlatsch. Details of signup (including times available) will be available at the convention.
Sadly, we have found that there is just not enough support for a traditional Masquerade a medium-to-small conventions like Con†Stellation. That doesn't mean you should leave your costumes at home, though you might want to put emphasis on those that are comfortable to wear while doing other stuff at the con.
The Game Room is always a big part of Con†Stellation.
If you want to run a game/tournament in the Game Room at Con†Stellation please email the Game Master, Craig Goodrick (firstname.lastname@example.org), to start the discussion. You can also send small mail to the convention address below, marking your missive Attention: Game Master.
There will also be room for pickup in the Game Room—bring your own game(s) or check out one of the many games that will be available for your use.
In 2015 we premiered Live-Action Furious Fowl, and we plan to bring it back at Con†Stellation XXXIV. You can probably get the idea where we got the inspiration by checking out the accompanying photos. All participants had a blast in 2015!
The game is scheduled for after the Art Auction on Saturday evening.
Do you play spades and play to win? If so, have we got a deal for you! Killer Cutthroat Spades is a variant on no-partner spades with severe penalties for sandbagging, thus putting extra emphasis on both accurate bidding and sharp gameplay. What do you get if you win? Mostly bragging rights—no small thing in this neck of the woods! Never played Killer Cutthroat Spades before? No problem, we'll help. (Seriously, we actually will help. We love introducing the game to new folks. Some experience playing spades, bridge, or some other bid-and-trick based game is helpful, but not necessary. We can pretty much always round up enough players to teach you at a non-tournament game before you go swimming with the sharks.)
Each year Con†Stellation chooses a charity and engages in fundraising activities at the convention, in particular selling donated art and other items in the Art Show & Auction. This year we've selected the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library. Many residents of the Huntsville metro area are familiar with the downtown "Fort Book" location, but may not be fully aware that there are a dozen locations all over Madison County (including in the cities/towns of Gurley, Hazel Green, Madison, New Hope, and Triana in addition to the eponymous Huntsville locations).
If you wish to make a donation of items for the Charity Auction (to be held in conjunction with the Art Auction), please bring it to the Art Show at the convention, or see the Art Show & Auction section of this page for mailing information.
Our Convention Hospitality Suite (Con Suite(←What's That?) in the usual parlance) is one of the highlights of Con†Stellation. You'll certainly find the usual Con Suite munchies and soft drinks, but you'll also find more hearty fare at numerous times all through the con. Just ask anyone who's been to one of our conventions and you'll likely hear high praise.
As a fan-run convention, Con†Stellation is run entirely by volunteers and we would like you to join us. We need people with various levels of convention experience, including none. We have to keep a lot of balls in the air to make a convention work; could you lend a hand (or two)? See our email or snailmail addresses below to let us know that you are interested in helping out! If you email, please include Volunteer in your e-mail subject line so that we can direct your request to the right person.
Use these methods to contact the convention for registration or to ask a question.
Main Email Address
Other Email Addresses
The immediate precursor to Con†Stellation was ZerCon, a two-day convention in November 1981. While planning and executing ZerCon, we came up with the name "Con†Stellation" (or "Con*Stellation") for a planned ongoing series of three-day-weekend conventions.
The first Con†Stellation was held July 16–18, 1982, under the full name Con†Stellation I: The Pleiades. The time of year varied over the first few conventions, though at least one has been held each year since. After the first few years, the convention made the shift from a spring/summer convention to a fall convention. Each Con†Stellation has been subtitled with an astronomical constellation—usually one of the 88 official modern constellations, though the first one was named after an asterism in Taurus. The convention often uses the constellation as a theme in its advertising and for events at the convention.
Con†Stellation has been held at a number of Huntsville-area hotels over its history. Other than Con†Stellation II.V (2.5), each has been a 3-day (Friday to Sunday) event.
Details of Con†Stellation XXXI: Perseus—held 12-14 October 2012 at the Holiday Inn Express in Huntsville AL—can be found at the link above.
Details of Con†Stellation XXXII: Columba—held 11-13 October 2013 at the Holiday Inn Express in Huntsville AL—can be found at the link above.
Due to hotel issues (including the closing of the late, lamented Holiday Inn Express), there was no Con†Stellation in 2014.
Details of Con†Stellation XXXIII: Coma Berenices—held 16-18 October 2015 at the Four Points, Huntsville Airport in Huntsville AL—can be found at the link above.
Going forward, the plan is to have each year's Con†Stellation in October. Stay tuned to this website for more info on 2016 and forward.
Other Fannish Stuff in Huntsville
The sponsor of Con†Stellation is the North Alabama Science Fiction Association, aka NASFA—a general-interest science fiction & fantasy club headquartered in Huntsville Alabama. Besides planning and running Con†Stellation, NASFA has monthly meetings that bring together sf/f/h/etc. fans from Huntsville, Madison, and other surrounding areas. Each meeting features both a noisy lively business meeting (which often digresses forays into a variety of sf/f/h/etc. topics) and a program. That latter may feature a regional author, cover a science topic of interest, display some off-the-beaten-track videos, or address almost any aspect of science fiction, fantasy, and related genres. There's also a social aspect to the club, with an "After-The-Meeting Meeting" each month and occasional other events. To find out how to join this year-round club, or to get in touch with NASFA about any other matter, please visit the NASFA website.
Links to Other Conventions, etc.
It's a short drive from the Four Points Hotel/Airport to the nearest concentration of shopping, restaurants, etc. A revised Area Guide (PDF file) is available for your pre-con perusal. Printed copies will be available at the convention. You can also check out the wider area at www.findmoremadison.com.
We think Huntsville is a great place to visit and hope you do too. This section is somewhat hastily thrown together, but lists at least some of the many attractions you can visit and events you can go to in and around Huntsville while you're in town.