TusCon invites horror, sci-fi fanatics at weekend convention

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Michael F Cox | The Daily Wildcat

Photo by Michael F. Cox / Courtesy of Eric Schumacher
Emmy-winning television host and special media guest Geoffrey Notkin will be in attendence at TusCon. A resident of Tucson for the last 10 years, Notkin has been attending sci-fi conventions since his youth.

Sci-fi, horror and fantasy nerds from around town convene this Halloween weekend for the annual TusCon convention.

All happening at the Hotel Tucson City Center InnSuites Conference Suite Resort on Granada Avenue, this year’s convention allows one to participate in the weekend-long Hall CosPlay/Costume Contest. Since TusCon falls on Halloween weekend, there should be no shortage of costumes.

Panel discussions featuring advice from guest authors on the craft of writing will run throughout the convention. Visitors can also look forward to the Artist Alley, exhibiting original and limited edition prints of artists, as well as playing video games with fellow visitors or watching anime. With these activities and more, there will be plenty of things to do at this year’s convention. What’s more, there are only 500 people attending this popular, small convention.

“People really love this,” said Eric Schumacher, filmmaker and member of the TusCon Advisory Board. “It’s a very unusual convention in that it’s intentionally kept a little bit small. It tends to be a fan-centric convention.”

Schumacher will be a guest speaker. He said when he hears fans talk about the convention, they say one of the reasons they come back every year is because they feel like it’s the place to meet fellow sci-fi, fantasy and horror fans.

A special guest visiting the convention this year is television host, science writer and meteorite specialist Geoffrey Notkin, who has resided in Tucson for the last 10 years. Notkin’s passion for science began in his younger years; his father was an amateur astronomer, and his nature-loving mother enjoyed bird watching.

“I took every opportunity to get out into the woods as a kid, fascinated by local wildlife in the rural areas near my home,” Notkin said. “I was exposed to a lot of wildlife and geography.”

For his contribution to science and education, Notkin had the minor planet 139204 named after him when it was discovered on Mount Palomar.

Both Schumacher and Notkin enjoy the science fiction genre, and Notkin said he used to go to sci-fi conventions as a child and still does to this day.

Janni Lee Simner, fantasy writer and guest at TusCon, said she’s more attracted to the fantasy genre; the first fantasy book she read was “The Forgotten Door” by Alexander Key.

“Since [fantasy is] what I read, it never occurred to me to write anything else,” Simner said.

Simner said the takeaway of the convention is that it’s OK to be passionate about whatever you’re passionate about. Notkin also said he hopes his work will inspire people to follow their dreams, just as his dreams led him to this convention.

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