Your most frequently asked questions, answered.
What is FenCon?
What exactly is a "Fen"?
So what about "Con"?
Why "FenCon XVII"?
So who's coming to FenCon XVII?
What is a Friend of the Fen?
What is filk?
Will there be a costume contest?
Will there be an art show?
Why should I stay at the con hotel?
What is the Dallas Future Society?
Are you the same group that does ConDFW?
Are you the same group that does FedCon or FedConUSA?
Are you the same group that does All-Con? Or Sci-Fi Expo? Or Anime Fest? Or A-Kon?
Will you throw a room party at (name of convention)?
Can my group throw a room party at FenCon?
What if I buy a membership but can't make it to FenCon this year?
What is the FenCon press policy?
Why haven't you answered my question?
Q: What is FenCon?
A: FenCon is a literary science fiction and fantasy convention with quite a lot of filk programming, some science programming, an outstanding collection of guests, an art show, a charity auction, a short story contest, a writers workshop, our signature FenCon Cabaret, costuming and maker programming, and members like you. FenCon is a production of the Dallas Future Society.
Q: What exactly is a "Fen"?
A: 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."
Q: So what about "Con"?
A: Con is short for convention.
Q: Why "FenCon XVII"?
A: The first FenCon was held in 2004 with Larry Niven as our guest of honor. FenCon II was held in 2005 with S.M. Stirling as our guest of honor. FenCon III was held in 2006 with Alan Dean Foster as our guest of honor. FenCon IV was held in 2007 with Connie Willis as our guest of honor. FenCon V was held in 2008 with Gregory Benford as our guest of honor. FenCon VI was held in 2009 with Lois McMaster Bujold as our guest of honor. FenCon VII was held in 2010 with Spider Robinson as our guest of honor. FenCon VIII was held in 2011 with Gail Carriger as our guest of honor. FenCon IX was held in 2012 with C.J. Cherryh as our guest of honor. FenCon X was held in 2013 with Cory Doctorow as our guest of honor. FenCon XI was held in 2014 with Eric Flint as our guest of honor. Fencon XII was held in 2015 with S.M. Stirling as our guest of honor. Fencon XIII was held in 2016 with Jim C. Hines as our guest of honor. FenCon XIV was held in 2017 with Keven J. Anderson as our Special Guest. FenCon XV was held in 2018 with Larry Niven as our guest of honor. FenCon XVI was held in 2019 with Trvor Quachri as our Guest of Honor. And yep, we're going for XVII this year, with Adam-Troy Castro and a stellar line-up of guests and program participants.
Q: So who's coming to FenCon XVII?
Adam-Troy Castro, Jodi Krangle, Renee Babcock, Chaz Kemp, Benjamin C. Kinney, Maruice Broaddus, Kevin Ikenberry, and a whole lot more! See our Guests page for the latest.
Q: What is a Friend of the Fen?
A: These are the folks who support us early and buy their memberships anywhere from one to twelve months before FenCon XVII. These "Friend" memberships allow us to put together our amazing guest lineup and other things that make us who we are. We reward our Friends with a free FenCon t-shirt or tote bag plus other free stuff and a few special privileges. Maybe you can be our friend! Join FenCon today!
Q: What is filk?
A: Filk is folksinging, often with a science fiction and/or fantasy theme. The songs can be original, parodies, or based on other songs. 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. (Experts dispute this story but the precise origins are murky.)
Q: Will there be a costume contest or masquerade?
A: We are planning some sort of costuming event, along with our other regular costuming panels and workshops.
Q: Will there be an art show?
A: Yes, after FenCon I in 2004 the biggest demand from the fen was for an art show and we're all about that "of the fen, by the fen, for the fen" motto. We had a great time with amazing artists at FenCon II and our first art show and auction so now every year we put together another array of outstanding art and artists including an Artist Guest of Honor.
Q: Why should I stay at the con hotel?
A: The long answer is on the hotel page. The short answer is that it's safer, more convenient, and helps the con keep function space costs down.
Q: What is the Dallas Future Society?
A: The Dallas Future Society is a Texas-based, Federally-recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit organization informally organized in 2002 and formally created in Feburary 2003. The DFS is dedicated to promoting the advancement of science, literature, and music for all mankind. FenCon is our main outlet for these goals and the one time each year we bring top people in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, filk music, science, art, and more together. The Dallas Future Society is open to all and membership dues are paid annually.
Q: Are you the same group that does ConDFW?
A: No. We love those folks and we're sad that their convention has ended.
Q: Are you the same group that does FedCon or FedConUSA?
A: No. FedCon is a long-running German Star Trek convention and they licensed their name to a commercial promoter who tried to create an American version called FedConUSA and who picked Dallas to host it. While FedConUSA failed, FedCon is still going strong in Germany.
Q: Are you the same group that does All-Con? Or Sci-Fi Expo? Or Anime Fest? Or A-Kon?
A: No, to all of those and (almost) any others you might wonder about. We (usually) stay busy enough running one convention a year and FenCon is that one convention. (For three years, we also organized WhoFest, a celebration of Doctor Who.) You'll see us throwing room parties or running information tables at some of these events and you'll see us enjoying all that Texas fandom has to offer but other organizations work very hard to put on those events.
Q: Will you throw a room party or have a table at (name of convention)?
A: To find out when and where we'll be in 2020 for FenCon XVII, keep an eye on our home page or our Facebook page.
Q: Can my group throw a room party at FenCon?
A: Heck yes! We welcomed quite a number of other conventions, fan groups, and more in 2018 and all systems are "go" for 2019. We do have a few simple rules/requests and you get all that info by e-mailing FenCon's hotel liaison.
Q: What if I buy a membership but can't make it to FenCon this year?
A: If you notify us (firstname.lastname@example.org) at least two weeks before FenCon starts then we will directly transfer your membership to the following year.
If you don't notify us and you had a Regular attending membership then we're sorry but there are no refunds or rollovers.
If you don't notify us and you had a Friend of the Fen membership then we will rollover your membership to the following year at the Regular level. (Any Regular member may upgrade to Friend of the Fen before September 1st for the standard conversion rate, currently $20.) Why does a Friend of the Fen get the automatic rollover? It's one of the extra benefits of that level of membership. If you have any more questions about memberships, please ask us.
Q: What is the FenCon press policy?
A: Members of the professional press are entitled to a press pass. Members of the fan press may be provided credentials, but will also be required to purchase a membership. Professional press is defined as credentialed, working members of a news organization, publication, or other media outlet on assignment from an editor or producer.
Fan press includes fanzines and fan-related web sites. If you're unsure as to your organization's status, please contact us at pr AT fencon DOT org. We may request you provide us with clips or links to same.
A good rule of thumb is that if you were planning to attend anyway, you should buy a membership. Passes may be time-limited depending on the availability of space. We love the press, but we also have to consider the Fire Marshal.
Interviews with our guests may be scheduled in advance with Public Relations (pr (at) fencon (dot) org). During the convention, please ask at ConOps for assistance. They'll find someone who can assist you in arranging an interview. We request that you do not stop guests in the hallways for interviews as they may be on their way to a panel.
We would appreciate a copy of your coverage - or a link to the copy - for our files, and will respect your copyrights.
Q: Why haven't you answered my question?
A: Only because you haven't asked us yet. As people ask us stuff, we will keep adding to this page. So ask us questions and we'll answer them.