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(For other Constellations, see Constellation (Disambiguation).)

A convention in Huntsville, AL, that ran from 1981 to 2017, run by the North Alabama Science Fiction Association. The convention names included both a number and a constellation name (e.g., Leo, Orion, etc.).

Table of Conventions[edit]

Convention Dates GoHs
ZerCon November, 1981 none
Con*Stellation I: The Pleiades July 16-19, 1982 Phyllis Eisenstein, Ken Moore, Lou Moore
Con*Stellation II: Gemini March 25-27, 1983 Jack C. Haldeman II, Joe Haldeman, Kevin Ward, Charlie Williams
Con*Stellation II.V: Ursa Minor December 10-11, 1983 none
Con*Stellation III: Ursa Major October 19-21, 1984 Gordon R. Dickson, Mark Maxwell, Maurine Dorris, "Uncle Timmy" Bolgeo
Con*Stellation IV: Aquarius 11-13 October 1985 Bob Tucker
Con*Stellation V: Andromeda 24-26 October 1986 Orson Scott Card, Ron Lindahn, Val Lakey Lindahn, Rusty Hevelin
Con*Stellation VI: Lyra October 9-11, 1987 Julius Schwartz
Con*Stellation VII: Centaurus October 21-23, 1988 John Varley, Todd Cameron Hamilton, Ricia Mainhardt
Con*Stellation VIII: Cetus October 13-15, 1989 Gary K. Wolfe, Debbie Hughes, Mark Paulk
Con*Stellation IX: Sagittarius October 19-21, 1990 Lois McMaster Bujold, Tom Kidd, Susan Honeck
Con*Stellation X: Draco November 8-10, 1991 Algis Budrys, Bob Giadrosich, Buck Coulson, Juanita Coulson
Con*Stellation XI: Scorpio November 6-8, 1992 Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Stephen Hickman, Mike Glicksohn
Con*Stellation XII: Orion November 12-14, 1993 Jim Baen, Julius Schwartz, David O. Miller, Marcia McCoy
Con*Stellation XIII: Musca November 4-6, 1994 Spider Robinson, Alan M. Clark, Sue Thorn
Con*Stellation XIV: Monoceros November 3-5, 1995 Rick Shelley, Ruth Thompson, Adrian Washburn
Con*Stellation XV: Aquila November 8-10, 1996 Stanley Schmidt, Chloie Airoldi
Con*Stellation XVI: Eridanus October 17-19, 1997 Jack L. Chalker, Randy Cleary, Sue Toker
Con*Stellation XVII: Hydra October 9-11, 1998 Mike Resnick, Bob Eggleton, David O. Miller
Con*Stellation XVIII: Lupus October 29-31, 1999 Allen Steele, Charles Keegan, Anita Feller, Tom Feller
Con*Stellation XIX: Virgo October 13-15, 2000 Debra Doyle, James D. Macdonald, Kenneth Waters, Julie Wall
Con*Stellation XX: Camelopardalis October 19-21, 2001 John Ringo, David Mattingly, Steve Francis, Sue Francis
Con*Stellation XXI: Pavo October 18-20, 2002 Eric Flint, Darrell K. Sweet, Sandy McDade
Con*Stellation XXII: Pegasus October 10-12, 2003 Mercedes Lackey, Don Maitz, Guy H. Lillian III, Rosy Lillian
Con*Stellation XXIII: Delphinus October 15-17, 2004 Lawrence Watt-Evans, Kinuko Y. Craft, Grant Kruger
Con*Stellation XXIV: Lepus October 7-9, 2005 James P. Hogan, Guy Gordon
Con*Stellation XXV: Cygnus October 20-22, 2006 David Drake, Theresa Mather, Glen Cook
Con*Stellation XXVI: Ophiuchus October 12-14, 2007 Mike Shepherd Moscoe, Pat McAdams
Con*Stellation XXVII: Cassiopeia October 17-19, 2008 Diana Duane, Bill Holbrook
Con*Stellation XXVIII: Vupecula September 18-20, 2009 David Weber, John Picacio, Gary Shelton
Con*Stellation XXIX: Leo September 17-19, 2010 Wen Spencer, Vincent Di Fate, Warren Buff
Con*Stellation XXX: Corona Borealis September 16-18, 2011 Gene Wolfe, Lubov, Gay Haldeman, Joe Haldeman
Con*Stellation XXXI: Perseus October 12-14, 2012 David B. Coe, Melissa Gay, Julie Wall, Toni Weisskopf, Linda Zielke
Con*Stellation XXXII: Columba October 11-13, 2013 Larry Correia, Kurt Miller, Darrell Osborn October 18 2014
Con*Stellation XXXIII: Coma Berenices October 16-18, 2015 Orson Scott Card, Sam Flegal
Con*Stellation XXXIV: Mensa October 14-16, 2016 Jody-Lynn Nye, Howard Tayler, Stephanie Osborn
Con*Stellation XXXV: Horologium October 13-15, 2017 Mary Robinette Kowal, David O. Miller, Toni Weisskopf

Founding members:[edit]

John Axford, Mary Axford, Karen Blassingame, Bruce Butler, Pat Spurlock Butler, Rich Garber, Jack Giles, Jr., Courtney Clark Griffith, Sunn Hayward, James Jones, Mary Beth Given Jones, Mike Kennedy, Nelda Kennedy, Edward Kenny, David Lateigne, Tom Lemieux, Cathy Mauk, Debbie Lowe Mitchell, Rhett Mitchell, Nancy Adams Parks, Joe Earl Patterson, Mark Paulk, Roger Reynolds, David Seiler, Mike Stone, Becky Suiter, Glenn Valentine, Toni Weisskopf, and Dave Zoller

History of Con*Stellation[edit]

By Mike Kennedy from the Con*Stellation XXXV Memory Book

Well, this year’s convention — Con†Stellation XXXV — marks the end of the road for Con†Stellation. While that bare fact is a downer, it also means that our little all-volunteer group has brought the joys of sf/f fannish gatherings to Huntsville for the better part of four decades. We’re particularly happy that many prior Guests and attendees have chosen to join us this weekend to celebrate. 

And, this occasion also brings some reminiscences to mind.

The history of Con†Stellation is inextricably linked to its parent organization (the North Alabama Science Fiction Association), to Southern Fandom, and to the wider webs of fandom writ large. Hie earliest sf/f fandom in Huntsville—or at least the earliest known to me—was circa the early ’60s. Probably the most notable aspect of that era is the tiny gathering called DeepSouthCon 1 (or MidSouthCon as it was known at the time), which was held at David Hulan’s house in 1963. That was an outgrowth of the Southern Fandom Press Alliance (, which in turn was an outgrowth of the shortlived Southern Fandom Group.

DSC 4 (1966) was also in Huntsville (and by this time it was actually called DeepSouthCon—the renaming happened at DSC 2), having come here because chair Lon Atkins moved to Huntsville after winning the site selection vote at DSC 3. After this the recorded sources 2 NASFA - Con†Stellation - Memory Book - 2017 available to me peter out about early Huntsville fandom, though there are rumors of various groups including one oriented toward Star Trek. Those had apparently all disappeared, though, before my then-wife, Nelda, and I moved to town in January 1978.

The modern era (if you will) of Huntsville fandom started in June 1980 at another con called MidSouthCon—unrelated to both DSC 1 and the ongoing Memphis con of the same name. Andy Purcell, a dealer living in south Tennessee, wanted to run a convention and Huntsville was the closest sizable town so he located it here. It took place at the now-long-defunct Sheraton Inn on University Drive. Nelda and I had been to a few cons (the 1978 & 1979 DSCs in particular) but we were pretty surprised to find out about a convention coming to our still-new home town. Needless to say, we attended. 

Some years before, our earliest introduction to anything approaching fandom had been though Nelda’s son, Alan, who was very into both gaming and comic books. The comics aspect was thoroughly covered in MidSouthCon’s Dealers Room but we knew that gaming was an interest among other young con-goers as well, and decided to sponsor an unofficial (and very informal) Game Room—renting a hotel room to do so. We’d been wondering how to get some organized fandom started in Huntsville. Nelda came up with the idea of posting a sign-up sheet in the Con Suite to get names of and contact info for others so inclined—it worked quite well. 

Within a few months, NASFA was founded. Very quickly—by late 1980 or early 1981—club members were already talking about starting our own annual convention. Meanwhile, some of us tried to learn a bit about running conventions by volunteering at cons in other cities. In the early winter of 1981 the group held ZerCon (short for Zero Con) as a one-day party/con at what was then the Kings Inn on Memorial Parkway north of University Drive. NASFA included a number of engineers and computer scientists and it seemed “logical” to start our convention numbering with zero so our first full-weekend con could be numbered “one.” I’m convinced that ZerCon holds the all-time record for the Coldest Video Room Ever. The one hotel employee who knew how to turn on the heat in the disused hotel bar — where they were letting us use their (then pretty rare) large-screen TV — was out of town that weekend and quite out of touch in that pre-cellphone era. The sub-freezing temperatures outside easily made their way inside. We tried using space heaters, but the cavernous space swallowed up what little heat they put out. 

Even while planning and executing ZerCon, NASFA was plotting our first full-fledged con. Tire club struggled somewhat to think of a permanent name for the event. We went as far as devoting much of a monthly club meeting to combing through many hundreds of words with the letters “con” in them. (That list was supplied from an early electronic dictionary by Mark Paulk.) When we hit the word “constellation” it seemed an ideal name for a convention set in the Rocket City. We stylized it to “Con†Stellation” and were quite pleased with ourselves. So, we were not particularly thrilled when Baltimore (after winning the bid for the 1983 Worldcon) announced their con would be called ConStellation (sometimes styled as Constellation). Nonetheless, NASFA decided to retain the name since Con†Stellation would be an annual event while Constellation was a one-shot deal (albeit a very, very big one-shot deal).

The first several Con†Stellations were at the same Sheraton that MidSouthCon had used, but we bounced around the calendar a lot before finding a permanent time of year for the con. The first one was a summer convention (16-18 July 1982). Tire second was in the spring (25-27 March 1983), only about eight months later. It wasn’t until plans for Con†Stellation III were being laid that we settled on a fall date. (Since then, it’s most often been in October—but as early as mid-September and as late as early November over the decades.) 

Because of the 19-month long gap between Con†Stellation II and Con†Stellation III, we conceived another winter mini-con (two days this time) as an interim measure. NASFA held Con†Stellation II.V: Ursa Minor on 10-11 December 1983. (Hey, we were committed to Roman numerals by this time so expressing “2.5” as “II.V” made sense to us. At the time. And stone cold sober, I might add.) For that con we probably hold the record for the Coldest “Dealers Room” Ever. While we didn’t have an official Dealers Room, one dealer showed up to sell out of his hotel room while another— the cold one—sold his wares out of the back of his van just outside the Con Suite.

Two other Huntsville cons from around the same time deserve mention. NASFA hosted both DSC 23 (1985) and DSC 25 (1987). DSC 23 attracted over 800 fans and DSC 25 neared 1000, making them the most successful DeepSouthCons to that date (measured by the admittedly limited yardstick of attendance). Since then, NASFA also held DSC 40 (2002). The city of Huntsville was also host to DSC 50 (2012). The latter was a pan-Southern event, but a number of NASFAns were on the committee and staff. You can praise the Moon Princesses for that one—look them up at the Room Party they’re hosting this weekend. 

So, there was a big burst of activity in the ’80s (we held Con†Stellation as an annual event, keeping the DSCs as standalone conventions). Since then, NASFA has mostly limited our cons to just the annual Con†Stellation. (Acknowledging, too, that many, many non-NASFAns have helped us over the decades.) A Con†Stellation has been held at least once a year since 1982 with one exception. We had problems securing a reasonable hotel contract in 2014, but held a one-evening “Not-A-Con” to socialize (and play games, and such) well into the night. It was nice that some out-of-towners could join us for that. 

And so, we come to the end. This Memory Book is a great resource for information on all 35 Con†Stellations. You can also check out the history page on the convention website—go to [], wait a few ticks to be redirected to the front page, then search for “history” to find the link. While this is the final Con†Stellation, NASFA is certainly continuing our monthly club meetings. We’re planning to restructure the con side of the website a bit and keep the historical information available, possibly incorporating some of the stuff we tracked down while putting this book together. 

You might also stay tuned at the club website ([]) or our NASFA 4 NASFA - Con†Stellation - Memory Book - 2017 newsletter ([])—as there’s always the possibility of another “Not-A-Con” get-together to talk, play games (doubtless including Killer Cutthroat Spades), possibly down the odd adult beverage, and otherwise socialize deep into the night.

 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This article is based on my memories of Con†Stellation, but much of the raw material appeared in my Huntsville fandom article for the 1997 Southern Fandom Confederation Handbook. In turn, that article leaned heavily on G. Patrick Molloy’s “A History of Conventions in Huntsville” and Larry J. Montgomery’s “DeepSouthCon: How it Began”—both of which appeared in the DeepSouthCon 25 Program Book. Thanks are also due to Sam Smith who has maintained the SFC Handbook online at []. Any errors in this article are mine.

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