Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | July 24, 2018

ConGregate Five — 2018

ConGregate Five


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate, science fiction, fantasy

Panel: “Critters in SF” with Jane Lindskold, Michael G. Williams, Margaret S. McGraw, and Jason Gilbert, 7-14-18


ConGregate Five, a volunteer-run speculative fiction convention, was held at the Red Lion Hotel (same hotel as last year, formerly the Radisson) in High Point, NC, from Friday, July 13th, through Sunday, July 15th. Convention attendees who stayed at the hotel got free parking passes this year, something I very much appreciated.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate, science fiction, fantasy

Panel: “Collaborating in the Honorverse” with Jane Lindskold, David Weber, and Charles E. Gannon, 7-13-18


This year’s guests of honor were author and game designer Dr. Charles E. Gannon and author and gamer Jane Lindskold. Both guests of honor participated in a number of panels during the convention, and several of those panels included author David Weber, with whom both of the guests of honor have collaborated.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate, science fiction, fantasy

Panel: “Gaming and Other Geeky Inspirations” with Charles E. Gannon, Jane Lindskold, and David Weber, 7-13-18


The convention featured a number of activities: panel discussions; author readings, signings, and book launches; gaming; the dealer room; the costume contest; charity events; and other interesting offerings, such as magic by Flabbergast, the Debate Club, the Crafting Circle, the Photography Workshop, and the Leatherworking Workshop.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate

The Costume Contest hosts Rich Sigfrit and Billy Flynn, 7-14-18


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate, costumes

The Costume Contest winners, 7-14-18


Musical events included the Steampunk Jamboree and concerts featuring the Blibbering Humdingers, Dimensional Rifts, Metricula, and White Plectrum. Several publishers presented their latest offerings in the Baen Traveling Road Show, the Chris Kennedy Publishing Road Show, and the Falstaff/Sol Roadshow. There were also special events for fun, like The Dating Game — With Books, Authors Roleplaying Live!, and ConGregate’s Roast of John G. Hartness.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, music, filk

White Plectrum entertains at The Costume Contest, 7-14-18


Food options at the convention included Bistro 135, the hotel’s restaurant, and Pub 135 (for sandwiches and bar food). Attendees could also order from the Grab and Go menu using hotel room phones or a house phone. Light snacks and drinks could be found in the ConSuite.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate, music, filk

Mark MacDicken performs at the ConGragate Cantina, 7-14-18


A terrific new addition to the food options was the concessions booth, where attendees could purchase hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, drinks, and other items. These could be eaten on the run or enjoyed in the ConGregate Cantina, where you could eat or just relax at cloth-covered tables while listening to scheduled musical performances from Metricula, Mark MacDicken, Stuart Jaffe, and White Plectrum. At other times, an open mic was available for musically talented attendees.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate, science fiction, fantasy

Panel: “Pirate Queens and Girl Bandits” with Misty Massey, Maya Preisler, Margaret S. McGraw, and Paula S. Jordan, 7-14-18


The ConGregate tradition of Hawaiian Shirt Friday — begun in memory of Hawaiian shirt lover Aaron Allston — continued at this convention to honor the memory of those we have lost in the science fiction and fantasy world in the past year.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate, science fiction, fantasy

Panel: “The Short Story – Anthologies and Other Markets” with John G. Hartness, Nicole Givens Kurtz, Gray Rinehart, Jason Graves, and Darin Kennedy, 7-14-18



Here’s a sampling of some of the the panel offerings at the convention.

  • Analysis:  Black Panther Deconstructed; A Wrinkle in Time Deconstructed
  • Art:  The Art and the Artist; Cartoons in SF; Judge a Book by Its Cover? Workshop
  • Costuming:  10 Weirdest Things I’ve Used in Costumes; Costume Mashups; Costume Armor Creation; Costuming Outside Our Comfort Zone
  • Diversity:  Diverse Voices in Creative Expression; Alt Geek; Alternately Abled in Fiction
  • Education:  Teaching Speculative Fiction in Schools
  • Fantasy:  More Than Swords; Writing Magical Stories; Writing Local; Urban Fantasy or Paranormal Romance?
  • For the kids:  Coloring; Easy Science Experiments; The Science of Supers; The Scientific Method; Crafts; What Are You Reading?
  • Media:  The Progression of Star Wars: Movies 1-8; Silver Anniversaries on the Big Screen; Stranger Things? Not So Strange; Battlestar Galactica: From the 1970s to Now; Dr. Who: From Classic to Modern
  • Podcasting:  Home Recording on the Cheap; Geek Radio Daily Live! at ConGregate
  • Publishing:  Why You Should Self-Publish; Pitch Wars; Ask the Editor; Best Practices Query Small Press Workshop; The Short Story: Anthologies and Other Markets
  • Science:  Ask a Mad Scientist; Tales from the Grid; Nanoscience Inspired by Nature; Atomic Follies
  • Science Fiction:  Critters in SF; Weapons of Impracticality; AI: There’s a Storm Coming; How Much Science Is Needed?
  • Social Media:  Marketing for Newbies Workshop; What Social Media Is Right for You?
  • Women:  Women in Pulp; Pirate Queens and Girl Bandits; Childbirth in Genre Fiction; DC Superhero Girls
  • World Building:  Writing in a Shared Universe; Build an Alien
  • Writing:  Writing a Series; Tools of the Trade; Common Mistakes in Writing; Heroes to Antiheroes to Villains; Writing the Happily Ever After; Learning Fight Choreography; Novellas: The Wave of the Future
  • The Writing Life:  Balancing Act: Life and Creative Work
  • Writing Workshops:  Allen Wold’s Plotting Workshop; Evernote for Writers Workshop; IT’S ALIVE! Bringing Your Characters to Life Workshop


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate

Dealer Room, 7-14-18


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate

Dealer Room, 7-14-18


ConGregate Six is scheduled for July 12 – 14, 2019 at the Red Lion Hotel in High Point, NC. Bestselling author Eric Flint will be the guest of honor. Hope to see you there!


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, ConGregate, science fiction, fantasy


For more about ConGregate Five and more photos (including costumes) check out our Saturday Special.



  1. […] took so many photos at ConGregate Five that I couldn’t fit them all in Tuesday’s post: ConGregate Five — 2018, so I’m sharing them as a Saturday […]


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