A lot of things happened in 1969: Americans landed on the moon, Sesame Street debuted on public television, and here in Denver, MileHiCon was held for the first time. Back then it was called Mini-Con (it wouldn’t be dubbed MileHiCon until 1972), and it was a by-fans-for-fans convention of fantasy, horror and science fiction for those who just wanted to gather together for the day and talk about shared passions. Almost fifty years later, it still is…only now it’s a full weekend of literary nerdalicious fun.
More than sixty fan-favorite writers will be participating this year, including 24 headliners invited from years past. But there’s also art and gaming and vendors and panels and, of course, cosplay galore. Tickets for the celebration will be available at the door.
So what’s in the lineup for MileHiCon, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center October 19 through 21? Glad you asked. Here are the eight most notably nerdy things to do and see at MileHiCon’s fiftieth celebration.
1. All the Books, Books, Books, Books
If you’re like most readers, you have a stack of “to read” books on your nightstand, or an end table, or a specific shelf (or four) in your bookcase. Chances are also good that you’ve had to subdivide them into “read immediately” and “read soonish” and “read sometime when the bombs have dropped and I’ve somehow survived and not stepped on my glasses.” Well, here’s a chance to add to your piles of lovely bookish goodness, folks. Load up.
2. And, Of Course, Their Authors
There are always great writers at MileHiCon — it draws a national and sometimes international audience in the genre trades. But for the fiftieth MileHiCon, organizers have pulled out all the stops, inviting all of the keynotes from previous years to make a return appearance. Many have graciously agreed to attend, including Barbara Hambly, Carrie Vaughn, Connie Willis, Lawrence Watt-Evans, James Van Pelt, Mario Acevedo and too many more to list.
3. Panels and Programs
More than 200 events are scheduled this year, covering topics from writing to art to publishing to science demonstrations to kids’ interests to cosplay to gaming and more. You want to learn how to do one of the many amazing things on display in other parts of the convention? Here’s how you do it, with lessons from the pros themselves.
4. The Largest Sci-Fi/Fantasy Art Show in Colorado
Each year, the best in local, regional and national fantasy and science-fiction artists come to MileHiCon to show off and sell their inspirations. Whether it’s an original oil or a wistful watercolor or a perfect numbered print, your walls will be happier adorned with these works of awesome art.
5. Critter Crunch
Look, everyone loves robots. Robbie the Robot, R2D2, Johnny 5, Iron Giant, Wall-E, Baymax... every modern era has its robot-buddy to represent it. But here’s the question: Can you build a robot that will utterly destroy any other robot in gladiatorial combat? That’s the challenge for the Critter Crunch — and if you emerge victorious, a nifty trophy and bragging rights are yours. To the winner go the very nerdy spoils!
6. Round-the-Clock Gaming
If you haven’t played a session of Dungeons & Dragons that’s lasted long into the wee hours of the morning — high on Doritos and Mountain Dew, of course, until no one you’re with can communicate anymore outside of box text, laughter and Monty Python quotes — then you haven’t really gamed, my friend. MileHiCon is here, brothers and sisters, to bring you into the ranks of the role-playing anointed.
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7. Cosplay Contest
What convention these days would be complete without a mention of the amazing creativity on display through the costuming hobbies of fandom? Dress up, or just marvel at the efforts of those who have. And don’t forget the contest — good for all ages, supportive of experienced costumers and newcomers alike.
8. Mass Author Autograph Session
Saturday sees a significant sensation of scribblers, all authors of note gathered together to sign their books, shake some hands and meet their fans. More than sixty favorite authors will participate — and in this day and age of not even being able to take a free celebrity snapshot at most conventions, this coming together of novelists doesn’t carry any extra fees whatsoever. Not for the signings, not for the photos, not for the meetings — it’s just pure fandom, free for all.