Marcon (Multiple Alternative Realities Convention)

Marcon (Multiple Alternative Realities Convention)
Marcon (Multiple Alternative Realities Convention) is an annual science fiction and fantasy convention held in Columbus, Ohio. It is one of the longest-running fan conventions in the United States, as well as one of the largest events of its kind in the Midwest.

The inaugural Marcon was a small gathering of 20 people, mostly members of the organizational committee of the 24th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) that was scheduled to take place in Cleveland, Ohio in September 1966. They gathered in Toledo, Ohio six months before Worldcon to do some planning work. The unofficial guest of honor at the first Marcon was Roger Zelazny, who had just published his first full-length novel, The Immortal. The second Marcon was once again held in Toledo and had 50 attendees.

Since its inception, Marcon has moved to Columbus and grown to attract over 2,400 attendees, which is quite impressive for a non-commercial, volunteer-run event. The name of the convention was originally short for “March Convention” because of its date. The convention mascot was the March Hare from Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, affectionately nicknamed Marconi. As the convention was moved to Mother’s Day weekend starting in 2014, its name was re-imagined as an acronym for “Multiple Alternative Realities Convention”.

Marcon is operated by Science Oriented Literature Arts and Education Foundation (SOLAE), a Columbus-based nonprofit that promotes science education through books, art, and supporting efforts in education. In 2021, SOLAE announced that Marcon 57 in 2022 would be the last convention. However, roughly about three months before that Marcon Tony Gillian from Chillicothe, Ohio stepped in and took over as the chairman.

Marcon is for everyone who enjoys science fiction and fantasy books, movies, television shows, music, art, science, video and tabletop games, cosplay, and everything in between. According to the convention website, it is committed to fostering a welcoming environment for all regardless of race, nationality, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or socioeconomic status. Marcon provides attendees with the opportunity to meet and socialize with others who share their interests, as well as to purchase art, books, and other merchandise related to science fiction, fantasy, and science.

Like most fan conventions, Marcon offers a rich and diverse programming that includes panels, presentations, lectures, workshops, seminars, talks, performances, discussions, and other events and activities featuring various exciting guests. Other events and activities at the convention include a video and tabletop gaming zone, an art show, a dedicated space for vendors, a masquerade, and children’s programming.

At Marcon, visitors have a great opportunity to talk to noted authors, scientists, and artists. Past guests of honor at Marcon have included Katherine Kurtz, Larry Niven, Lois McMaster Bujold, George R. R. Martin, Orson Scott Card, Robert Jordan, Robert Asprin, Seanan McGuire, and other popular science fiction and fantasy authors. Some authors, including Roger Zelazny, visited Marcon more than once.






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