January 24-26, 2003
The late 1990s was a rough time for science fiction conventions in the state of Virginia. When both Sci-Con and Disclave folded up their tents, MarsCon was left standing as one of the largest cons (along with Technicon and EveCon) in the state. It’s no surprise then that MarsCon is beginning to show some signs of wear-and-tear. This year’s attendance was close to 500 and everyone seemed to be having a great time. Some of us old-timers were a little bored though. Every year at MarsCon LARPers flood the halls playing Machiavellian Madness, classical guitarist Robin Welch is guaranteed to be playing in the con suite, Luna-C will be hamming it up for their comedy show, and Women of Whimsey always give an enjoyable filk performance. I didn’t have a chance to get to much of the programming, but I did hear some grumblings about the need to expand the schedule. As Relax-a-Cons go, this one draws a great pool of talented guests each year, including Bud Webster, Rikk Jacobs, Daniel Trout, and John and Jason Waltrip. With attendance dropping off at conventions around the area it might be time for the con chair to think about trying to freshen up this old favorite a little. Either way though, I’ll be there next year. A date for MarsCon 2004 hasn’t been set yet but it will be posted soon at www.marscon.net.