Con†Stellation XXXIV: Mensa (The Table)
14–16 October 2016——Huntsville, Alabama
We are in the process of updating the site to reflect 2016 info
Meanwhile, please be aware that a lot of 2015 info is still in place
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>.
At the moment, this section is largely a placeholder for the 2016 Con†Stellation. We do have dates, a hotel, guests, and more—and will be posting that as soon as time permits.
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.
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.
Info from this section will be moved to a history page for the 2015 Con†Stellation, as time permits.
Con†Stellation XXXIII: Coma Berenices was held 16–18 October 2015 at the Four Points by Sheraton Huntsville Airport located onsite at the Huntsville International Airport (HSV) :
Remember, 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.
Orson Scott Card's new book, Gatefather, is scheduled for release 20 October 2015. Through special arrangement with Barnes and Noble, Gatefather will be available early at Con†Stellation this year. It (and other Card books) will be for sale at his signing events.
From 14–28 October 2015, purchases at The Bridge Street location of Barnes & Noble will net Con†Stellation a percentage of sales. See the coupon at this PDF for details. You don't even need to print the coupon, as long as you have the code number (11729985). To find out how to make Book Fair purchase online, visit <BN.com/bookfairs>. If you feel like shopping in person, their address is 300 The Bridge Street NW #100, Huntsville AL 35806.
Update: The coupon or code number should be useable at any Barnes & Noble, not just the Bridge Street location… so if you get back home from the convention and decide to go book shopping, you can still support Con†Stellation through the 28th.
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 16, 2015) 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.
We're currently in the process of inviting guests for Con†Stellation XXXIII and will post each as info is available. We only post confirmed guests, so check back often for updates—there are almost always several invitations outstanding.
After many great years at our former facility, we're moving in 2015 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 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 an upcharge of $20 (+taxes) per night.
You can make your hotel reservation online starting at this Starwood website or by calling the hotel at 256-772-9661. The Starwood 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. The hotel is still looking into what to do if the hotel lot is full.
Hotel-provided info on parking can be found in this PDF. (OOPS, broken link. We will try to get this fixed by the hotel, but since it's very close to the con that may not happen in time.)
We've received the T-Shirt art from David O. Miller for the 2015 Con†Stellation T-Shirt and it is drop dead gorgeous! We'll be full info on buying your shirt as soon as we can finalize arrangements.
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:
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.
A draft (though pretty well finished) programming schedule for 2015 is now available online at this link (PDF file). Check out the subheadings below for descriptions of some programming items.
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.) So we're bringing back KandyKlatsches at Con†Stellation XXXIII.
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.
Though details are still being sussed out, we're working on bringing a traditional-style Saturday evening Masquerade back to ContStellation this year. Don't forget to pack your costumes for the trip!
We've been a little slow getting off the mark on Gaming this year, but rest assured we will have a Game Room at Con†Stellation—actually two rooms.
If you want to run a game/tournament in the main Game Room at Con†Stellation please email the Game Master, Kevin "Fritz" Fotovitch. to start the discussion. You can also write the convention address below, marking your missive Attention: Game Master.
There will also be room for pickup in the main Game Room—bring your own game(s) or check out one of the many games that will be available for your use.
We're trying something new this year that we're calling Large-Format Gaming (aka Big Games). This will include all sorts of silly, fun, games with hands-on user participation. Think of board games or video games scaled up, made 3-D, and brought to life.
Some of the planned games (in both the main Game Room and Big Games) are listed below. Games., times, or GMs may change, so be sure to check at the convention to get the latest information.
|D&D 5.0 (two sessions)||Christopher Kerl||TBD (4-hour sessions)|
|D&D in Elesfar||Taylor Hoch||Saturday 10am–6pm|
|Large Ass Dice Games, Cthulhu
Dice, and Zombie Dice
|Fritz Fotovich||Friday 4–5pm; Saturday|
3-5pm; Sunday 11am-12n
|Large-Format Connect Four||TBD|
|Live Action Battleship (1 player)||TBD|
|Live Action Battleship (2 player)||TBD|
|Live Action "Furious Fowl" (LAFF)||Mike Kennedy||Playtest Friday 9-10pm;|
Main Session Saturday
|Sliders (GURPS)||Jason Stephens||TBD|
|Vampire (GURPS)||Jason Stephens||TBD|
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.)
You can sign up at the door or contact "Uncle Timmy" by email to get on the list.
Each year Con†Stellation chooses a charity and engages in several fundraising activities at the convention, including selling donated art and other items in the Art Show & Auction. We are pleased to say that we have selected Matter Of Trust, Inc. a 501(c)3 public charity that concentrates on Manmade Surplus, Natural Abundance, & Eco-Education. We're particularly interested in their Clean Wave Program, which uses hair, fur, fleece clippings, and feathers to create mats and booms to clean oil from contaminated waterways and storm drains.
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.
As part of Charity Auction, volunteers from among the concom (and possibly others) will auction off the rights to decide whether or not they should have hair cut to donate to the Matter Of Trust Clean Wave Program.
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 for our mistress of victuals.
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. For online registration, see above.
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. An Area Guide (PDF file) is available for your pre-con perusal. Printed copies will be available at the convention.
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.