Minicon 53

March 30 - April 1, Easter weekend, 2018 - St Louis Park, MN

Progress Report #1 - Fall 2017


Lyda Morehouse
Lyda (Li-dah) Morehouse is an author and a fan, although not always in that order. She would argue that it's difficult for her to be one without the other. An award winner for the Philip K. Dick, Shamus, Barnes & Noble Maiden Voyage and many other national awards, Lyda has created numerous short stories and novels. Her best known works are the LINK Angel series and the Garnet Lacey series. The LINK Angel series merges a hard-boiled detective story with cybernetic messengers from the Highest authority with engaging and thoughtful results. Her Garnet Lacey series (written under the pseudonym Tate Hallaway) sees her titular character as a recovering witch who battles with the FBI, vampires, frat boy zombies, the Vatican and other supernatural threats. She currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with her partner and their son.
Rachel Swirsky
Rachel Swirsky is a California-born multi-award winner of the Nebula for short stories and poetry. She's been nominated for the Hugo, Locus, World Fantasy and Sturgeon awards as well. When not getting awards and nominations, Rachel writes short form speculative fiction about everything from dinosaurs to love to dragons and back again. She also provides editing and writing critiques in what can only be scant spare time. Rachel is also a founding editor of the immensely popular podcast PodCastle, and has contributed her voice talents to it and many other podcasts and radio shows. Easily covering all the bases, she also writes poetry and essays with a myriad of colorful and illuminating observations and constructions. She currently lives in Bakersfield, California while contemplating how to fill her remaining slivers of free time.
Jon Arfstrom
Our artist guest-of-honor is Jon Arfstrom. Born in Wisconsin, Jon eventually migrated to Minnesota by way of adventures in Chicago and work on freighters travelling the Great Lakes. His influential style was featured on the covers of Weird Tales, Other Worlds Science Stories as well as a multitude of works for publishing, marketing and illustration companies. A Stoker Award winner, he has a wide ranging interest in styles of art from moody gothic landscapes to exciting pulp adventure covers to colorful Surrealism and abstract fantasy illustrations. Sadly, Jon is a posthumous guest-of-honor having passed away in his home at the age of 87 in 2015. His daughter will be making presentations of her father's work as well as providing some of his best works for exhibition in the art show.


We are MOVING.

Minicon 53 will be held at the Doubletree Park Place. To reserve a room, go here. Please keep reading for more information.

Our new hotel is offering us more function space and a lower rate on sleeping rooms. Like our hotel last year, there is a large beautiful atrium with natural light and a pool and hot tub. Unlike our hotel last year, there is no chlorine smell in the air; the Saint Louis Park Doubletree pool has a modern saline system.

The cut off date for these rates is March 8, 2018. PLEASE get your hotel registration in before March 8. We are at a smaller hotel this year — You very probably will end up paying a higher rate if your hotel room is not reserved by March 8.

Single or double occupancy rates if booked by March 8:

  • Regular rooms: $89 per night
  • Whirlpool rooms (very limited quantity): $119
  • Suites (near the pool): $119 per night
  • Executive Level Rooms (near the consuite): $109 per night

To book your room:

  1. Go to the DoubleTree website and book a regular room regardless of room type desired.
  2. If you'd like a suite, a whirlpool room, or an executive level room, please contact .

Parties will be located near the pool or near the consuite. If you'd like to host a party, please contact .

For more information about the hotel, please check the hotel page.


Register here!

You can preregister for Minicon 53 until March 9th, 2018 or register at the door. Preregistering is cheaper! You also will get a nice preprinted badge. We like it because it helps us plan for space, food and other budgetary matters. You can find more information, including a form you can print out and mail in on the registration page

To check if you've already registered, a list of current members is posted here.


Within the next month or two, there will be a new programming web-based database. In the meantime, there is a Brainstorming Page with some ideas already available here. Any human can sign up for editing access to add their own ideas, though it may take a day or two for a person to be approved. Alternately, ideas can be submitted to .


The music track at Minicon 53 will feature a mixture of concerts and music circles, including (by popular demand) a circle beginning on Saturday early evening. We are still looking for musicians and bands who would like to perform at the con. Due to the small size of the performance space, we are especially looking for solo acts and small bands (2-3 members) who can play a mostly acoustic show with a limited PA. We welcome all styles and genres, particularly groups that have not performed at a Minicon before. If you are interested in a performance slot, or if you would like to volunteer to help run the sound board, please email .

Rumpus Room

Some of you may remember that our Rumpus Room head left for the hospital during set up last year, and returned the next day to finish out the weekend. Bonnie Somdahl recovered completely from her appendicitis and reports that she is working to develop new programs and projects for next year. She is looking forward to having some grand programs to make use of the fabulous new space. The large long room will facilitate having more than one thing going on at a time, and the outside door will offer the option of a few outside events. The Rumpus Room theme for Minicon 53 is "dogs." There will be puppies on our badges, and she is working on having canine related projects. Any ideas are more than welcome and can be sent to Bonnie at .

Cinema Obscura

Our film room will return, with more special and unique films!

The hotel room's illumination is reduced… a single lanterna magica projects strange, moving images against a blank screen… occupants in the room gaze upon the screen as though entranced… Oh Great Ghu! What can this all mean? Fear not! It is only the return of Minicon's Cinema Obscura, providing attendees with narratives and documentaries not easily obtainable or seen at other regional conventions.

Teen Room

The teen room is a place for people 12-19 to hang out, play video games, snack, make crafts, and chat in a teen run space.


Minicon needs volunteers, badly. This year, there will be a thank you spork for five hours or more spent at the convention volunteering. Really? A spork? How many times have you been caught without a utensil? It's a really cool spork.

Here are the departments that need volunteers and some descriptions of duties:

Art Show
There is a lot of physical labor setting up and tearing down, as well as patrolling the show to look for quick sales, handling print-shop sales, or assisting with general operations. Volunteers should be able to communicate well, and be able to handle money and documentation of sales.
Code of Conduct Committee
Discuss (rare) harassment issues that may come up and help decide action with other CoC volunteers based on written guidelines. The volunteer should be willing to take some 'on call' shifts and be sober while doing so, and should be willing to keep complete confidence about any issues related to CoC volunteering.
Many tasks, of varying skill level and mobility requirements. The most common tasks involve food prep, dishwashing, food delivery, or general cleaning.
Move-in, Move-out
Load and unload a truck, help with set-up and tear down.
Programming (including sub-heads)
Write program descriptions, contact potential panelists and authors, set up tent cards and information in the programming green room, check on programming rooms to see if they are in good shape.
Film Room (at-con)
Monitor the film room to see that no one inappropriately futzes with the projector or sound equipment.

We also need several department head positions filled. There will be a thank you dinner for department heads about two weeks after the convention.

Costume Contest Head
Organize Costume Contest on Saturday night. Previous head is willing to help with transition.
Gaming Head
Organize times for games and special events as much or as little as you like.

What's with the theme this year?

After many people called Minicon 50 "The 50th Anniversary," it was pointed out that such was not true. There were two years that there were two Minicons, and an "anniversary" doesn't happen until after the remembered event — All this means is this is our 50th year. Additionally, Minicon 53 will be the 50th spring Minicon, for some loose definition of spring, and the Minicon closest to the 50th anniversary of the 1st Minicon. Therefore, we chose the very tongue-in-cheek theme "The Pedantic One."

We would like to use this opportunity to celebrate the history of Minicon and Minnesota fandom, and recognize how fandom has evolved over the years. We also want to embrace what it is about fans that makes us want to be accurate, while recognizing that the priority is clear communication. For more information about the history of Minicon, see the Minicon main page, with lots of archive materials all the way back to Minicon 1.

Please do not overuse or abuse the theme.

Finally, here are a few of our favorite comments from last Year's Survey Results.

  • If you do have to change hotels… for the current size of MiniCon, how about the Park Place Doubletree (used for BritCon and Gaylaxicon in the past). It's a much smaller hotel, but also has a two-floor (floors 2 & 3) central party room cabana setup. :)
  • Hi! I would like to see a place on the schedule for open music early in the evening - and a designated location. Not everyone who likes to participate in music is a night owl.
  • Bonnie Somdahl is HARD CORE.