What is a con?
… and what do we do with it?
Con is short for convention, and comes from the Latin convenire: to come together.
Conference, marketplace, playground, showcase, and festival: a convention can be all of these things. This is where the scene comes together; creatives and experts meet fans at eye level. In the process, many boundaries deliberately become blurred: A convention is about creating something together, about exchange and participation, about encounters and experiences. What makes the classic Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention special is the purely voluntary organization – by fans for fans.
Fans are part of the whole, they take on tasks as volunteers, sign up to support the tech team, the entrance and exit management of a panel room or as a microphone runner for the Q&A session. In return, they receive goodies such as special T-shirts or vouchers for the con’s catering. Fans are often also experts on certain topics, which they present on a panel together with other participants. Authors and presenters are fans themselves. A con ideally means the experience of community – belonging, feeling at home among people who share your passion.
Be a part of it, participate.
In the spirit of this community – and also in order to make such an event possible with low admission costs – all attendees (visitors and presenters) buy a ticket. In international con jargon, you register and become a “member.” The German word “Mitglied” is a bit more binding and implies a permanent commitment, so we decided to frame the ticket as a “Teilnahmebeitrag,” a participation fee. (Yes, German is complicated, have you noticed?)
We envision lively discussions, curious questions, people engaging with the presented topics, and always encounters and conversations. Science fiction in particular, but also fantasy and horror, have social and political relevance, open up spaces of possibility, and allow us to experience alternative world concepts and images of humanity. And all this will happen in German and English! Our website is already bilingual, so that potential visitors from abroad can see what we are planning. We want to look beyond the horizon of German-language spec fic, and have conversations with like-minded people from Europe and the world.
We want you!
The speculative genres deserve a wider audience. That’s why we hope to appeal to many different people beyond the established fandom. To achieve this goal, we strive for a professionalization that does not mean commercialization. We don’t intend to compete with the big media conventions where souvenir photos are the coveted currency; we want to contribute to SF, Fantasy & Horror being discovered, received, taken seriously and appreciated by more people.
The choice of location is one aspect: the silent green Kulturquartier offers an atmosphere that is virtually predestined for such an event. The former crematorium with its picturesque, old domed hall and the cool, futuristic-looking concrete hall below ground, the in-house catering (Restaurant MARS and Café Little Mars), the larger-than-life sculpture of an Apollo astronaut on a moonwalk, the signposts with space pictograms: The site practically breathes science fiction, but fantasy and horror also feel at home within older walls and next door to a cemetery. At the same time, the silent green is perfectly connected to public transportation and, as a cultural quarter, exudes sophistication and the promise of a well-curated program.
The next aspect is cooperation: PAN, the German Network of Speculative Fiction Authors, has entrusted us with the organization of their 2023 meetup. Pre-Covid, many exciting panels, workshops, and discussions on topics of speculative literature were part of this meeting every year. These can now be offered to an even wider audience through MetropolCon. PAN also lobbies for financially rewarding artists and speakers and thus has the same goals as the MetropolCon organization team.
It always comes down to money
This is part of the desired professionalization, but in practice it quickly collides with the community idea. In order to enable as many people as possible to visit the con, the participation fee should not be too high. All these aspects can hardly be realized satisfactorily. For this reason, we are applying for cultural funding, which we would use to make the vision come true. At the same time, we are also trying to find suitable sponsors.
The topics of funding and sponsoring are still in progress at the moment, so we cannot yet make any final statements regarding remuneration for the presenters. However, you can be sure that we will provide the maximum possible budget. We can also assure you that the MetropolCon will be a fan-driven event, organized with heart and soul, which will live up to the classic con model and blossom beyond it.