This weekend I was at MarsCon, one of the medium-sized (~1,000 people) conventions held in the Twin Cities annually. This was the first and only year that MarsCon is to be held at the RadishTree (the Bloomington Doubletree, ex-Sheraton, ex-Radisson),
MarsCon is a very different experience from the other major con I’m accustomed to (CONvergence, ca. 7500 attendees and climbing every year). For one, it’s much smaller – this year, we were in half of a hotel (with a gun club convention in the other half – more on that later).
I experienced less of the con programming than I have of any con I’ve been to since 2006, largely because of the tremendous amount of work that the Royal Manticoran Navy has been doing to put on its own programming. This year TRMN was supporting a party suite, and in addition debuted Project Gazebo, a full-deck simulation of a starship bridge, running Artemis Bridge Simulator 2.0. This meant that there was plenty that kept me running around, even though I only actually attended one panel – “Ask a Scientist” with Bridget Landry of NASA/JPL.
For those who may not be aware, TRMN is the official Honor Harrington Fan Association. We are associated with David Weber and BuNine. We’re expecting an increase in membership as the movie gets closer and as more issues of the comic book roll out.
I’m proud to report that during the RMN Awards Ceremony, we experienced a change of command, as our SMCPON (Senior Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy), Bill Lochen, was given the Ostermann Cross and a commission, and was promoted to Captain of the List and placed in command of HMS Invincible, one of the ships of Battle Squadron 21 (which is currently – still – the only full-up battle squadron in TRMN), succeeding the elegant and wonderful Captain Elisa Randall. For my part, I was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for my role in encouraging the crew members of HMS Valkyrie to take tests for TRMN, and a Rifle Marksmanship Certificate, which if the number of games I played in Artemis Bridge Simulator is any indication should be upgraded to a Rifle Sharpshooter Badge when the Con after-action report is compiled. All of us also received the Havenite Campaign Badge (which is TRMN’s award for con participation).
A sour note from the weekend was sharing the hotel with Safari Club International – and this isn’t just a selfish idea of “Well we should have the hotel to ourselves!” I truly wish I could say that the two conventions were two great tastes that tasted great together, but they weren’t. The Safari Club, I’m sad to say, were very poor ambassadors for hunting – they were openly contemptuous of sharing the hotel with others, and in one case actually physically assaulted a member of MarsCon. Dirty looks were in abundance even when they weren’t throwing punches.
Back on a more pleasant note: This was my first con doing cosplay and I had two costumes: First was my Royal Manticoran Navy uniform (which was incomplete as of MarsCon – it should be complete by CONvergence, though!). My other costume was a Section 31 Officer (yes!) – which was pretty easy, actually, to assemble – the costume idea came to me when I was browsing at Target and saw a textured black dress – I added a Starfleet emblem (Command, naturally!) and my costume was complete.
So: Great experiences, couple of sour notes, can’t wait to go back, next up: WisCon.
Right now my convention itinerary for this year appears to be:
WisCon (Memorial Day Weekend)
4th Street Fantasy (June 20-22)
CONvergence (Fourth of July Weekend)
MarsCon Masquerade Ball (Saturday, November 8th)