Category Archives: WisCon 40

WisCon — 40×40

Chris Wallish
SF3 Communications Committee

It was a dark and stormy February.  Suddenly, a shot rang out.


Well, maybe it wasn’t “dark and stormy” — the official WisCon record says that February of 1977 was “bitterly cold.”  I wasn’t there, so I couldn’t say.  I was, in fact, not quite five years old and living in Pennsylvania.  I didn’t even know what a Wisconsin was let alone a WisCon.

But I did know who Wonder Woman was, would shortly know what “Battlestar Galactica” was, certainly knew what “Star Trek” was.  And I know that when I (finally) discovered fandom in my 20s and learned about WisCon thanks to a friend who’d already attended once, I knew with complete clarity that WisCon was what I needed.  I wasn’t wrong — when I attended WisCon 29 it was everything I could have hoped for, everything a ‘70s kid who loved Wonder Woman and “Star Trek” could have wanted.

Now, WisCon is turning 40.  Four decades of being a home for those of us who’ve needed both science fiction and feminism!

To mark this monumental anniversary, we are kicking off a blog series — “WisCon: 40×40.”  Every week we’ll focus on a WisCon (or two), celebrating and reminiscing about this space that’s gone from being known as “PervertCon” to an institution that’s inspired so many people and has spawned a whole host of other organizations over the years.

Later today you’ll see the first post in this series, written by none other than Jeanne Gomoll, who was at WisCon 1 and has graciously written an incredible recollection of that first convention.

We are especially excited to hear memories from the WisCon community.  Please join us in comments on the blog posts in the coming months!  Think of this as a crowd-sourced history project.

Would you like to write one of the posts for a particular WisCon?  Please contact me directly at

Was WisCon a shot that rang out across ’70s fandom?  Has it been a home for you, an annual reunion of sorts?  How has WisCon and its community been inspiring for you?  Which guests of honor have particularly moved you?  What were your favorite Con Suite conversations?  Let’s count down the past 39 years together as we anticipate WisCon 40’s opening on May 27, 2016.

Hotel Registration Opens For WisCon 40

As usual, hotel registration opens at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. You can call the reservation line and tell them you want the WisCon block, you can visit the link that appears on the WisCon website at 9 a.m. in the morning, or you can visit the desk in person and line up. This year, reservations are being taken at the front desk at the station closest to the grand staircase. There will be an area for queuing demarcated with blue tape.

planning WisCon 40

Andrea Horbinski and s.e. smith 
Co-Chairs, WisCon 40

We’re celebrating 40 great years in 2016 and we can’t wait to see old and new faces!

WisCon wouldn’t be what it is without all the wonderful members who make it home every year, from those who have been attending for decades to newbies who are just getting ready for their first Con. As we prepare with some special events behind the scenes, we’d also like to hear from you — what do YOU want to see at WisCon 40?

We welcome your nominations for guests of honor, comments, and ideas, big and small, by 5 January 2015. You can comment here, comment on Facebook, or Tweet at us — as well as emailing directly to

Come build WisCon with us

Alexandra Erin
Media & Communications

Who runs WisCon?

You do.

WisCon is your con. It’s run by you, for you. Every year, it takes the hard work of a dedicated band of volunteers to make the convention happen, but every year, through your efforts we can make the con that much better for everyone. We have a need for volunteers with many different skills and all levels of experience. Fresh voices and enthusiasm are just as needed as old seasoned hands. Whether this is your first WisCon or your fifty-first*, you can become a part of the heart of the con by volunteering.

While you can step up to help the day of the con by just putting yourself forward when someone asks for help, the best way to get involved in on-site volunteering is send an email to and let us know that you’re interested.

But we also have an immediate need for people who are willing and able to step up and take on essential roles in the running of the con. By volunteering for one of these positions, you will step into the Convention Committee (ConCom), the overarching committee that does the work to make WisCon happen. You will become a part of planning discussions and decision making throughout the year, in addition to your at-con role. This means that you’ll have a direct hand in shaping WisCon 39 and the future of WisCon beyond. While these positions do require you to take on responsibility, this also means you’ll have a support network and the expertise and experience of other ConCom members, or at least some sympathetic brains to pick.

If you’re interested in joining a particular department, just send an email to,

Right now, we have a particular need for people to fill the following roles:

  • Organizer for the WisCon Writer’s Workshop.  The workshop  traditionally takes place on the Friday before the con, and gives up-and-coming and newer writers a chance to share their work and have their stories critiqued by a pro writer.
  • The front desk needs some people willing to take a lead position for At-Con Registration. You can become a personal hero to one of the tireless heroes of the con by taking responsibility for the registration desk for just half a day during the con. This position requires you to be able to answer questions about the con with knowledge and confidence, and be prepared to handle all forms of payment for same-day registration sales. This is the perfect role for someone who likes to meet people, share information, and help people out. If this position interests you but you feel you lack the experience, the registration desk always has a need for helper minions. Feel free to put yourself forward during the con.
  • WisCon traditionally ends with an After-Con Party, but this party doesn’t just happen! We need someone to organize it. Remember, this is a wind-down affair, so you wouldn’t need much in the way of activity planning, but while there’s a potluck of food leftover available from the rest of the con, some fresh refreshments will have to be lined up. The main thing about this party is that it happens after many people’s brains have handled all the pressure and responsibility they can in one long weekend, so we need someone who will take charge of lining up food, setting it all up, and closing it all down.
  • We need a Banquet Liaison for the hotel. In the months before the con, your responsibility will be to collect information about furniture layouts and menus required for catering services by different groups, and follow up as necessary during the con when reality diverges from expectations. Requires organization skills, communication skills, and an ability to follow-through and encourage others to do so.
  • The Art Show requires a lead for set-up, as well as “understudies” who can assist in running it and also step up to lead if needed during the con.
  • We need an Ad Salesperson for the Pocket Program book & souvenir book.
  • Do you have experience in non-profit funding? We are building a team with experience in Grant-Writing and Fundraising.
  • We need additional volunteers to run the Gaming Area, preferably enough to have one person to take lead for each night. You would be overseeing the set-up, clean-up, and operations of the gaming area.
  • A Pre-Con Head for the Green Room to organize the schedule for the Green Room, set up volunteer time slots and work with the Volunteer Coordinator to fill them before the convention begins. You will also set the menu for the Green Room and may make changes to its layout as necessary.
  • Programming can always use more people!
  • In order to ensure the Bake Sale comes off, we need someone who can act as a second to the organizer with an eye towards taking over the role in the future. Due to external uncertainties, there is a chance you may become the primary organizer on-site at the con.
  • Last but certainly not least, our current ConCom chairs (Mikki Kendall & Levi Sable) would like a 3rd or even 4th Chair for WisCon 39 to share duties and expertise.

If you’re interested in filling any of these roles and joining the ConCom, send a query to For general volunteering during the con, send an email to

*Time travelers are by definition always welcome.