Lobster & Canary heartily recommends to you the fantasy/science fiction extravaganza that is Arisia, a four-day, entirely fan-run convention in Boston.
First held in 1990, Arisia this year had record attendance of c. 3,000. In Boston. In very, very cold weather.
Like most cons, Arisia is a smorgasbord...with a little something for just about everyone. The fact that Boston is home to so many colleges and universities may contribute to the wide-ranging, idiosyncratic nature of the offerings. Certainly it means no one bats an eyelash when a panelist refers to his day-job programming robots as he talks about Asimov's Three Laws. Or when someone in the audience brings out a dog-eared copy of the Grimm's fairy tales, in German, while making a point about Rumpelstiltzchen or Rapunzel.
Among many other things, Arisia features the Carl Brandon Awards (click here for more information). The con is also a good place to talk about the use of folklore, mythology and fairy tale in modern spec fic. The art show is a cut above the usual at cons. The steampunkery is impressive, the anime/manga components appear (I am no expert) robust, the LARP and gaming sections (again, no expert) seem to thrive. Arisia is a good, thoughtful, safe place for discussions about sexuality and gender. There are readings by authors almost around the clock.
And the food in the green room is really tasty (not always the case at other events).
I thank the organizers for their good work, and especially Shira Lipkin for her welcoming self. I could name many others whom I enjoying meeting but, since one always runs the risk of leaving someone out inadvertently, I will stop here.
For much more on Arisia, click here.