Con†Stellation XXXII: Columba
11-13 October 2013——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 XXXII: Columba—will be October 11-13, 2013.
This page will always be a work in progress and will be updated often (so please come back often!) as details of the 2013 convention are available to be published. If you can't readily find the info you need, please see our Contact Info below to get in touch.
Con†Stellation XXXII: Columba will held at the Holiday Inn Express located near the intersection of University Drive and Jordan Lane:
3808 University Drive
Huntsville, AL, 35816
Please note that the date is approximately a month later than in some previous years.
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 11, 2013) are $5 off the corresponding Adult Membership in effect at the time of purchase. We trust you (we really, really do) but reserve the right to request some proof of student status.
Please see the main Con†Stellation Registration page for a PDF Registration Form.
We only post confirmed guests, so check back often for updates—there are almost always several invitations outstanding.
We’re back for our twelfth (!) year at the Holiday Inn Express. The hotel is located near the intersection of University Drive and Jordan Lane in Huntsville, at 3808 University Drive, Huntsville, AL, 35816. Click here for a Google map.
Standard rooms (king or double-double) are $84 (+ taxes), suites are $120 (+ taxes), for 1–4 people per night. For reservations, call 256-721-1000 or toll free 800-345-7720 (which connects directly to this hotel). Mention Con†Stellation to get the convention rate. You must reserve your room by September 10th to be sure of getting the convention rate. The hotel does to sell out some years, so you need to reserve your room early.
If you're planning a room party please write to or email the general convention address so we can assist in blocking you into the room party area. Mark your request Attention Room Party Coordination. The closer to the convention dates we get the more we love email.
Pre-Order Styles & Sizes Available:
Pre-Order Colors Available:
|Black||Forest Green||Heliconia (bright pink)|
|Red||Royal Blue||Sapphire (a lighter blue than the royal)|
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 is 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 first table ($80) includes one convention membership. Additional tables ($50) do not include additional memberships. All dealers and helpers must be members of 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 postal address below. Please mark the envelope ATTN: Dealers Room. Please include any special requests, including if you need access to an electrical outlet.
The first cut at the full programming schedule for 2013 is now available—see the "Main Article" link above. 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. 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 KandyKlasches at Con†Stellation XXXII.
You will have to sign up at the convention for these Saturday events. There will be a limit on how many KandyKlatsch each convention member can sign up for, and a limit of eight people in each KandyKlatsch. Details of signup (including times available) will be available at the convention. Signup will be at convention registration during special hours to be posted at the con.
Con†Stellation had a "traditional" Masquerade on Saturday evening for most of its existence, but it's become harder for us to effectively stage one. The costumes and presentations were great and the event always drew a good crowd. That said, the resources (volunteer manpower, programming space/time, and—to a lesser extent—money for stage rental) being used were just not sustainable for us.
So, we were faced with the question "What to do to honor the tradition of costuming at sf/f conventions?" while facing the difficult decision to abandon a formal Masquerade. Our answer has been a Hall Costume Contest… but one with a twist that will benefit our chosen charity.
A revised (very near final) gaming schedule for Con†Stellation XXXII is now available as a PDF file. This will probably be the final revision online before the con, though it's possible a new version could be posted. In any case, you should check at the con for any last-minute updates. This schedule is for the main gaming room only; see below for two events (Artemis and the Spades Tourney) that take place in other spaces.
If you want to run a game/tournament at Con†Stellation, please email the Game Master to start the discussion. You can also write the convention address below, marking your missive Attention: Game Master.
Gather your crew… Artemis is coming!
Artemis, the spaceship bridge simulator, is coming to Con†Stellation XXXII! Each person in the 6-man crew has a specific assignment from captain to engineering. Everyone, except the captain, has their own workstation to carry out their tasks. Hopefully, your crew succeeds in their mission.
Many thanks to the crew of PlayOnCon for hosting this event.
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.)
We will provide contact info to sign up ahead of the con (check back later, please) or you can join the fun at the door.
Like board games? Every year Craig brings a metric tonne (or so it seems) of games to choose from. The list of stuff he currently plans to bring can be found here. Want to see something else? There's a good chance he can find it: contact him via email to the Game Master.
We always have a good selection of gaming events with both preplanned and open tables so there's always a good game to be found. You can use Craig's Closet (see above) or BYOG (Bring Your Own Game) to take advantage of the open tables.
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 local hands-on science learning center Sci-Quest is our charity for 2013. Sci-Quest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving the Tennessee Valley (North Alabama and Southern Tennessee). Their mission is "to motivate visitors to discover and explore the wonders of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to correlate their interest to the existing career fields throughout Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley." They do tons of school outreach, covering a 23-county area. Items will be up for bids in the Art Show.
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. Note that we don't currently offer web-based registration/payment so you'll eventually need to mail us a check.
While this website will normally be the most up-to-date source of info, we do have a flyer available; updated late August 2013. Feel free (please!) to download this PDF, print some, and distribute them to your friends or place some at an agreeable store. The current flyer version is designed to be printed two-sided on standard (US) letter paper. Updated versions will be posted when available.
Additional information (again, all of this is in the website, but you may want it printed) is in the "wrapper" we used for our annual Mass Mailing—in this PDF.
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.
Going forward, the plan is to have each year's Con†Stellation in October. Stay tuned to this website for more info on 2014 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.
The area around the Holiday Inn Express has just about all the food and shopping you could need. A 2012 version of the Area Guide is available as a PDF file. This will be updated for 2013 shortly before Con†Stellation XXXII.
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 for Con†Stellation.