It was a cold, dark Monday morning when I woke up long before my alarm clock and realized that Memorial Day was only a week away. Where had the time gone? It seemed like yesterday I was shoveling snow from the driveway.
I slipped from bed and padded across the floor to peer out the window into the pre-dawn world. I felt very much like Rip Van Winkle as I held the curtain aside and yawned like a great cat. Somewhere out there across the city the final preparations were being made for ConQuesT 45 in Kansas City
Word on the street pegged the convention to start on May 23, 2014. Plans were for it to run all weekend long. KC was abuzz with anticipation.
You see, the annual gathering of science fiction fans was quietly gaining momentum. I could feel it barreling towards me through time like a runaway FedEx truck. Already rumors whispered of shadowed conference rooms where priceless knowledge would be passed around to those in attendance.
One of my informants had even mentioned a few names that would be on the hunt for something called a Loc-Nar.
You see, ConQuesT is not one of those occasional, only come out when the weather is nice type of conventions. No, it’s hardcore, never miss a year, pure science fiction, history making, fan loving fun, jammed into one weekend a year.
For five decades, ConQuesT has been bridging the gap between fans and world builders–between readers and magic weavers.
In Kansas City this weekend the barriers will come down and the science fiction community will come together to celebrate and explore new vistas. Last year I witnessed the synergy firsthand. I saw greats like George R. R. Martin, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, John Picacio, and Patrick Rothfuss rub elbows with hundreds of fans.
The convention began in 1972 as an output of the Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS, pronounced kax-fuss). Over the many years since its inception, the convention has continued to evolve. Whether by accident or design, it has transformed into something unique on the convention circuit.
ConQuesT has the “it” factor that can sometimes elude other conventions. If you don’t believe me, go see for yourself. Feel the energy that crackles in the convention halls. See the sparks arching during the panel discussions. Absorb the experience, and dare to follow the paths it sets before you.
This year Glen Cook will be connecting with the fans. If you have never read his novel The Black Company, you should go get a copy today. It will certainly expand your horizons and inspire you to read his entire library.
Toastmistress Caroline Specter is a pure delight. She is a talented author and an exceptional human. Make sure to fill your ears with the sounds of her bass guitar when she plays with Bradley Denton in the band Bland Lemon Denton.
Speaking of Bradley Denton, I urge everyone in attendance to catch his readings. Perhaps readings is the wrong word for what he presents to those wise enough to slide into a seat. Bradley performs his work rather than offering a dry reading. It is something not to be missed and should appear on everyone’s convention bucket list.
The schedule of events and guest list is truly amazing.
Memorial weekend is nearly upon us. If you live in North America, it’s time to pack up the car and take a road trip to the heart of the continent to discover ConQuesT 45. The experience will last a lifetime.
(Editor’s Note: A scheduling oversight caused this piece to appear today instead of yesterday. R.K. Troughton’s pieces normally appear on Wednesdays, and will continue to do so from now on.)