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Potlatch, Consonance, and Contact

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Occurs to me that I should plug a couple of upcoming tiny local sf-related conventions:

  • Potlatch 14 is in San Francisco, the weekend of 4-6 March. To quote from their web page, "Potlatch is an all-volunteer, non-profit, literary convention for the readers and writers of speculative fiction. Proceeds benefit Clarion West." The convention drifts up and down the west coast; this year it's in San Francisco. Only about 150 attendees, and only one track of programming, making for an intimate little convention. A great way to get your feet wet if you haven't been to a con and want to start small. Potlatch doesn't have a guest of honor; instead it has a book of honor, which this year is Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly. Which I really ought to read before the con, but how likely is that at this point? Not very, sadly.
  • Consonance 16 is in Milpitas, the weekend of 4-6 March. Yes, the same weekend as Potlatch. I guess I'll be missing Consonance once again. (Of course, I missed it for the last couple years without having the excuse of Potlatch.) To quote from their web page, Consonance is "the San Francisco Bay Area filk convention." The guests of honor include Rand Bellavia and Adam English of the filk band Ookla the Mok. I'm not sure how many attendees, but I suspect it's even smaller than Potlatch, though it has several more tracks of programming.
  • Sometimes in past years, Contact: Cultures of the Imagination has shared a hotel with Consonance, but this year it'll be at NASA Ames in Mountain View the weekend of March 18-20. I've never yet managed to attend, but I love the premise. It's "an international, interdisciplinary conference which brings together some of the world's foremost social and space scientists, science fiction writers and artists to exchange ideas, stimulate new perspectives and encourage serious, creative speculation about humanity's future . . . onworld and offworld," but that's not all: the "cultures of the imagination" part is a live-action roleplaying game. "One team constructs a solar system, a world and its ecology, an alien life form and its culture. . . . The other team designs a future human colony. . . . [The] teams then simulate . . . contact between the two cultures in real time, exploring the problems and possibilities involved in inter-cultural encounters."

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