Arts & Culture News

Your Tutorial for this Weekend's FenCon X

If Comic-Con's gotten a little too mainstream for you or maybe you're looking for something a little more highbrow, don't worry -- you don't have to miss out any of the convention fun. This weekend's FenCon is a literary science fiction and fantasy convention with all the same geekery as your other cons but with more of an emphasis on the written word. OK, sounds great you're thinking, but what the hell is a fen? Fen has several meanings including "a low-lying wetland with grassy vegetation" and "one one-hundredth of a yuan" but we mean it in the fannish context where "fen" is the plural of "fan" in the same way that "men" is the plural of "man." If you're one of the fen, FenConX is the place to be this weekend.

So, where does the "X" come in? Well, it's the 10th anniversary. Duh. And the FenCon Crew and the Dallas Future Society have pulled out all the stops to make this the best one yet. If literary science fiction and fantasy convention scared you off, put your pants back on because you don't have to be a bookworm to enjoy this jam-packed weekend of guests, music, films, television, workshops and games.

With something for everyone, here's your tutorial about this weekend's FenConX.

Guests The sheer size of FenCon's guest list puts Fan Days to shame. Topping 100 people, the list includes writers, editors, actors, musicians, designers and artists. A few of the most popular are sure to be guest of honor Cory Doctorow and young adult author Amber Benson of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame.

Filk It sounds dirty, but Filk is actually folksinging with a science fiction or fantasy theme. Songs can be original, parodies or based on other songs. Singer-songwriter Tom Smith says, "There is fan fiction. There is fan art. Filk is fan music. Period." The term "filk" is alleged to derive from a typo in a convention program book. Filk was typed instead of folk, and the singers took the term as their own. Some experts dispute this story, but the precise origins are murky -- and yes, there are experts. Whatever the origins, expect plenty of it, including The Bedlam Bards with songs from their latest album, Firefly Drinking Songs.

FenCon Cabaret Cosplay exhibition is an essential element to any fan convention, but FenCon takes it further than any other con in the area. FenCon's cosplay contest involves much more than simply dressing up as your favorite television, movie or book character. In addition to a red carpet masquerade, in-character performances and skits are encouraged, and you certainly don't want to miss the All-Star Git-Down Filk Sing Hootenanny!

FenCon Kids FenCon is a family affair with plenty of children's programming. With children and young adult readings, educational programs, games, music and even sci-fi snow cones there's something for every fen kid out there. Check the children's programming schedule for more details! And remember, with plenty of kiddos expected it's important to keep your own cosplay appropriate for innocent eyes.

Gaming The large tabletop gaming area located on the main floor of the convention will have games for folks of all ages and skill-levels. With tournaments, a game library and free gaming, there's enough to spend you whole weekend rolling the dice. Don't think they'll have your poison? Bring your own game! Check out the Tabletop Gaming Schedule for all the deets.

Write it up This is where the "literary" part of this literary science fiction and fantasy convention comes in. Submit your work to the short story Contest or the young adult author contest, and then make it even better in the writers workshop personally supervised by professional editors. Workshop space is limited so reserve a spot now!

Screenings Need to rest your feet? Head to the video room where there's a jam-packed schedule of three days worth of movies and TV episodes for your viewing pleasure. The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Stardust and The Avengers are only the tip of the iceberg. Check the full screening schedule here.

Charity Over the past 10 years, FenCon has given more than $18,000 to several worthy causes. This year's designated charity is the Autism Treatment Center. FenCon X charity efforts include a limited edition signed and numbered art print by FenCon's artist guest of honor, Charles Vess. There will also be a charity auction and a donation jar so feel good about yourself and geek out for a cause!

Who Fest Can't make it to Fen Con X or merely looking for more nerdery to revel in? We've got ya covered. Next month, the organizers of FenCon will be presenting Dallas' first ever Who Fest, a celebration of 50 years of Doctor Who. Keep your ears open for more Who Fest details this weekend!

FenCon X goes down October 4-6 at the Crowne Plaza Dallas (14315 Midway Road, Addison). Advanced ticket sales are closed, but weekend and day passes for adults and children can be purchased at the door for $10-$45. FenCon goes all night long with filk, fun and plenty of room parties on the hotel's party floor. Check out the convention newsletter for a complete list of room parties.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Alicia Auping
Contact: Alicia Auping