|Genre||Science fiction convention/Speculative fiction/fan convention|
|Venue||DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bloomington – Minneapolis South|
|Organized by||CONvergence Events, Inc.|
CONvergence is a 6,789 (2013) member fan run speculative literature convention held annually on the first full weekend in July in Minnesota, United States. Speculative fiction includes the science fiction, fantasy, alternative history, and horror genres. The convention began in 1999 at the Bloomington Radisson South Hotel and continues to be held every year at the same location, known through 2011 as the Sheraton Bloomington. CONvergence 2011 was the final event for the Sheraton before its rebranding as Doubletree by Hilton Bloomington – Minneapolis South on July 12, 2012. This location has been used by local fan organizations for a variety of conventions, including Minicon, Anime Detour, and MarsCon.
Four Day Convention
The 2008 event was the tenth CONvergence, and the convention theme was centered around that fact, with another day of events (Thursday, July 3, 2008) added to the schedule. This convention was so successful that the four-day schedule permanently replaced the three-day schedule, fulfilling an invitation extended by the hosting venue during 2008's closing ceremonies. (The idea originated with guest of honor Michael Sheard, who stated during closing ceremonies that he enjoyed the convention so much he wished it went on for five days; this request was technically fulfilled in 2008 by holding the convention's last official panel at 12:01 on Monday morning.) In 2008, CONvergence was voted "Best Fan Convention" by the City Pages arts/alternative newspaper. It has appeared in "Best of the Cities" in each consecutive year afterward until 2011 (when no award was given for "best fan convention" or "best annual convention").
CONvergence runs many parallel programming tracks, filling several convention rooms simultaneously with panels, speeches, demonstrations, recognitions, and screenings. It is one of the most-attended fan-run conventions in North America, with paid attendance exceeding 6,500.
The convention is also known for several unique attractions including Cinema Rex, a couch and recliner-filled movie room; Theater Nippon, featuring anime; Connie's Space Lounge, a music and entertainment venue; COF2E2, a coffee bar; CONsuite, hospitality and food; Harmonic CONvergence, which features musical acts; and the Dorian Gray Memorial Literary Lounge, a reading/writing setting.
There is also gaming (board, card, and roleplaying), an art show, a dealer's room (where one can buy everything from swords to comics to action figures), all-night bardic music circles, and dozens of room parties of various themes. The walls of the convention are usually plastered with advertisements for different parties.
The Convention is famous for its themed room parties given by various community and fan groups. Two levels of cabana rooms surrounding a pool and activity area are filled each year with parties as many convention goers make the rounds from party to party, each with varied themes.
The con's mascot is the gynoid "Connie", who is occasionally opposed by Connie's scheming younger sister, "Connie Mk. II". An inflatable tyrannosaur named Rex serves as Cinema Rex's mascot and is often involved in the Masquerade as well.
Annual themes and guests of honor
The number in parentheses after each guest's name is how many times they have been a CONvergence guest of honor as of the year in question.
1999 - "After All, it's Just a Party"
- Forrest J. Ackerman† (1) - SF historian and collector
- Pam Keesey (1) - Author of Vamps! and other fiction
- Harry Knowles (1) - of Ain't It Cool News
- Jay Knowles (1) - of Ain't It Cool News
- Gordon Purcell (1) - Comic book artist
- Gary Russell (1) - Producer of the Doctor Who audio series
2000 - "No one can tell you what CONvergence is... you have to experience it for yourself." (The Matrix and similar fiction)
(this is the only CONvergence not to be held at the Bloomington Radisson/Sheraton/DoubleTree. This CONvergence was held at the Radisson in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota)
- Neil Gaiman (1) - Author of books, comics and film
- Peg Kerr (1) - Award-winning author
- Regina Pancake (1) - Hollywood prop creator
- Ruth Thompson (1) - Fantasy artist
- Keith Topping (1) - Author of Doctor Who novels and more
- Cast and crew of Go To Hell! (1)
2001 - "Curioser and Curioser" (Alice in Wonderland and similar fiction)
- Harry Knowles (2) - Movie critic and web entrepreneur
- Peter Mayhew (1) - Chewbacca in Star Wars
- Michael Sheard† (1) - British SF movie and television actor
- Eleanor Arnason (1) - Award-winning author
- Crist Ballas (1) - Movie makeup artist
- Jay Knowles (1) - Web entrepreneur
- C.H. Morgan (1) - Science fiction and fantasy artist
2002 - "If Adventure Has A Name..." (Adventure themes in speculative fiction)
- Diane Duane (1) - Popular author of books and television
- Peter Morwood (1) - Science fiction and fantasy author
- Mark Altman (1) - Co-creator of Free Enterprise and "Trekspert"
- Robert Meyer Burnett (1) - Co-creator of Free Enterprise and director
- Nene Thomas (1) - Popular award-winning fantasy artist
- Daren Dochterman (1) - Designer and illustrator for over 35 feature films
- Adam 'Mojo' Lebowitz (1) - author and former lead animation supervisor for Foundation Imaging
2003 - "Time Flies" (Time travel)
- Michael Sheard† (2) - Actor in Star Wars, Last Crusade, and many other projects
- Andrew Probert (1) - Production designer for Star Trek
- Eric Flint (1) - Author and editor of many books
- John Kovalic (1) - Dork Tower and Dork Storm Press
- Katherine Kurtz (1) - Author of the Deryni trilogies and stories
2004 - "Out of the Shadows" (The dark side of speculative fiction)
- Denise Garner (1) - Romantic fantasy artist
- David Gerrold (1) - Science fiction/fantasy author of many books
- Larry Niven (1) - Author of many science fiction books, including the Ringworld series
- Vincent Truitner (1) - Animation and CGI artist
- Christian Colquhoun (1) - Physical effects artist
- Crist Ballas (2) - Physical effects artist
- Len Wein (1) - Writer for comics and animation, creator of Swamp Thing, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine
- Dr. Jim Kakalios (1) - University of Minnesota physics professor, author of The Science of Superheros
- Mercedes Lackey (1) - Author of many popular novels, including the Valdemar and Bardic Voices series and folk music lyricist
- Larry Dixon (1) - Co-author of Mage Wars and Dariens Tale series, author of many short stories and game material and fantasy artist
- Marv Wolfman (1) - Writer for comics and animation, creator of Blade, Bullseye, and The New Teen Titans
- Harry and Jay Knowles (3) - Ain't It Cool News
2006 - "Boldly Go." (space exploration)
- Eric Flint (2) - Author and editor of many great books
- J. G. Hertzler (1) - actor on Star Trek as General Martok
- Ken Hite (1) - role-playing game author and designer
- Bridget Landry (1) - astronomer and engineer on the Cassini probe mission
- Robert O'Reilly (1) - Actor in many well-known science fiction TV series including Star Trek as Chancellor Gowron
- Miles Teves (1) - set designer
- David Weber (1) - author of military science-fiction
- Greg Weisman (1) - TV and comic book writer
(Originally, Gary Russell had been scheduled to attend but had to decline due to conflicting obligations)
2007 - "Creature Feature" (horror and monsters)
- Emily Hagins (1) - Writer and director of the zombie movie Pathogen
- Brian Keene (1) - Author
- Bernie Wrightson (1) - Comic book artist, co-creator of Swamp Thing
- Lois McMaster Bujold (1) - Science Fiction and Fantasy Author
- Wally Wingert (1) - Voice actor
- John Kovalic (2) - Dork Tower, Out of the Box Games
2008 - "Ten Years 1999-2008" (10th CONvergence)
- Crist Ballas (3) - make-up artist, previous Guest of Honor
- Trace Beaulieu (1) - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Doctor Clayton Forrester and Crow T. Robot) and Cinematic Titanic
- Robert Meyer Burnett (2) - Co-creator of Free Enterprise and director, previous Guest of Honor
- Christian Colquhoun (2) - Physical effects artist, previous Guest of Honor
- Larry Dixon (2) - Co-author of Mage Wars and Dariens Tale series, author of many short stories and game material and fantasy artist, previous Guest of Honor
- Daren Dochterman (2) - Designer and illustrator for over 35 feature films
- Mark Evanier (1) - writer of comics and television shows
- Eric Flint (3) - author
- Ken Hite (2) - role-playing game author and designer
- Dr. Jim Kakalios (2) - University of Minnesota physics professor, author of The Science of Superheros, previous Guest of Honor
- Harry Knowles (4) - aintitcoolnews.com, previous Guest of Honor
- Jay Knowles (4) - aintitcoolnews.com, previous Guest of Honor
- John Kovalic (3) - Dork Tower, previous Guest of Honor
- Mercedes Lackey (2) - Author of many popular novels, including the Valdemar and Bardic Voices series and folk music lyricist, previous Guest of Honor
- Bridget Landry (2) - astronomer and engineer on the Cassini probe mission, previous Guest of Honor
- Peter Mayhew (2) - Chewbacca in Star Wars, previous Guest of Honor
- Andrew Probert (2) - Production designer for Star Trek
- Vincent Truitner (2) - animator
- David Weber (2) - author
- Len Wein (2) - Writer for comics and animation, creator of Swamp Thing, Nightcrawler, and Wolverine, previous Guest of Honor
- Greg Weisman (2) - producer and writer, previous Guest of Honor
- Wally Wingert (2) - voice actor, previous Guest of Honor
- Marv Wolfman (2) - Writer for comics and animation, creator of Blade, Bullseye, and The New Teen Titans, previous Guest of Honor
(Originally, Bernie Wrightson had been scheduled to attend as one of the many returning guests of honor for year ten, but was unable to do so at the last minute.)
2009 - "This Con Goes to 11" (Humor in Science-Fiction and Fantasy, also the 11th CONvergence)
- Trace Beaulieu (2) - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Doctor Clayton Forrester and Crow T. Robot) and Cinematic Titanic
- Joel Hodgson (1) - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Creator and on-air host Joel Robinson (seasons 1-5)) and Cinematic Titanic
- Frank Conniff (1) - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (TV's Frank) and Cinematic Titanic
- Mary Jo Pehl (1) - - Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Pearl Forrester) and Cinematic Titanic
- Brian Keene (2) - Author of The Rising
- Kelly McCullough (1) - Author of WebMage (ISBN 0441014259)
- Dwayne McDuffie (1) - Creator of Static Shock
- Patrick Rothfuss (1) - Author of The Name of the Wind
2010 - "Bring on the Bad Guys" (12th CONvergence)
- L.A. Banks - Author of the Vampire Huntress Legend series of novels as well as the Crimson Moon, Dark Avengers and Soul Food series.
- Jeremy Bulloch - Actor with credits including The Empire Strikes Back/Return of the Jedi (Boba Fett)
- Paul Cornell - Writer for Doctor Who (television, novels, audio), novelist and writer for Marvel Comics (Captain Britain and MI-13).
- Bridget Landry (3) - Jet Propulsion Laboratory Engineer (Hubble, Mars Pathfinder, and Cassini missions) and Master-level costumer.
- Chuck McCann - Veteran comedian, actor, and cartoon voiceover artist, voice of Sonny the Cuckoo Bird.
- Wally Wingert (3) - Voice actor with credits including Invader Zim (Almighty Tallest Red), Bleach (Renji Abarai), and The Garfield Show (Jon).
2011 - "Tomorrow through the Past" (13th CONvergence) CONvergence 2011 was the last event held at the Sheraton Minneapolis South before it changed brands to Doubletree on July 12.
- Jason Carter - Actor, Dead Matter, Babylon 5
- Edward Douglas - Gothic horror Fantasy musician, Midnight Syndicate
- Brian Keene (3) - Novelist/comic writer, Grave Conditions, The Last Zombie (returning GoH)
- Seanan McGuire - Urban fantasist, October Daye, InCryptid, Newsflesh
- Paul and Storm - Special musical performers
- Lynne M. Thomas - librarian, author, editor of Chicks Dig Time Lords
- Anthony Tollin - Historian/publisher/comics coloorist, The Shadow and Doc Savage reprints
- Catherynne Valente - novelist, poet
- Brian Van Camp - actor, Dead Matter
- Greg Weisman - Animation producer, Gargoyles (returning GoH)
2012 - "Wonder Women" (14th CONvergence, Theme: Female creators and characters of Speculative Fiction)
- Bonnie Burton - Writer
- Jenifer Clarke Wilkes - Game publications editor, Wizards of the Coast
- Judith Walcutt - Poet
- Lyda Morehouse - Writer
- Ruth Thompson - Artist
- Sophie Aldred - Actress
- Sharyn November - Editor
- Tamora Pierce - Writer
2013 - "British Invasion" (July 4–7, 2013, 15th CONvergence, Theme: British creators and characters of Speculative Fiction).
- Charlie Jane Anders - Writer and Blogger
- Lou Anders - Editor
- Caitlin Blackwood - Actress
- Bill Corbett & Kevin Murphy – of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax
- John Picacio - Artist
- Paul Cornell (2) - Writer for Doctor Who (television, novels, audio), novelist and writer for Marvel Comics (Captain Britain and MI-13).
- James Moran - Screenwriter Severance (film), Cockneys vs. Zombies, and Tower Block (film)
- Melinda Snodgrass - Author and Scriptwriter
Hotel booked through convention
The convention is held at the Doubletree Bloomington – Minneapolis South located at the intersection of Minnesota State Highway 100 and Interstate 494. Convergence has grown so large that the convention handles booking for the entire Doubletree hotel for the 4-day-weekend. Since the 2010 convention cycle, an online hotel room reservation system was established. For those who miss out on rooms, CONvergence also secured room blocs at the Sofitel and Crowne Plaza. Adjacent to the hotel one may eat like royalty at either Burger King or Dairy Queen. A T.G.I. Friday's restaurant is in the parking lot. An adjacent strip mall contains a Caribou Coffee, Subway, Cheetah Pizza and Eddington's. Address is 7800 Normandale Blvd. Minneapolis, Minnesota 55439.
- "2013 Post con report: 6789 registrations".3/9/13: 6,668 2011: 5,031 registrations. 5,980 registrations in 2012, 5,684 attendees.
- "BEST FAN CONVENTION". City Pages, LLC. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- "CONvergence". MISFITS. 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
- Smith, Rod (17 July 2002). "Geek Chic". City Pages 23 (1128)
- "Room Parties at Convergence".
- "Panoramic Photos of Garden Court and Room Parties at Convergence".
- "CONvergence 2008 News". 2008-03-18. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
- "Doubletree Bloomington – Minneapolis South".
- "Convergence Room Reservation System".