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New England Science Fiction Association
November 23, 2020

Why isn’t Boskone 58 Free?

Recently we were asked why virtual Boskone 58 isn’t free. It’s an important question facing our community.

Boskone is a labor of love. We’re shining a light on the behind-the-scenes work at Boskone to help our community understand, Boskone is different and that’s why we need to charge a small fee for memberships. Though there’s a lot we can do with volunteer time and free labor, there are still costs associated with running Boskone, whether in-person or virtual.

We’re an all volunteer team.

Like many other science fiction and fantasy (SF/F) conventions, Boskone is an all volunteer, fan-run convention. Each Boskone is organized by volunteers dedicated to bringing the science fiction and fantasy community together. Pulling together 3 days of fun and thoughtful programming, spaces for fellow fans and professionals to connect, and creating a memorable convention experience is truly a labor of love. Planning for the convention begins 14 months in advance of the convention when the chair is appointed and begins inviting guests, and it takes dozens of volunteers and thousands of hours to plan and pull off. None of the folks working on the convention get paid.

Even program participants volunteer their time.

From bestselling authors to renowned scientists, artists, and creators in the science fiction, fantasy and horror industry give their time to Boskone, providing program content, and participating in all facets of the convention alongside volunteers, fans, and professionals in our community. With the exception of Guests of Honor expenses for travel, room, and board expenses at our in-person conventions, our program participants do not get paid for their time and services.

We listened to our community’s wish list.

Our team pulled together a list of “wishlist items” and feedback from other online conventions, and our greatest source of inspiration was our summertime online convention reCONvene 2020. We listened to our members’ requests and constructive criticism to identify the things our community most wants in an online experience. This input drove our decision making process when we looked at event platforms and online experiences for Boskone. The platform and features we have chosen resonate strongly with what our community requested, and we believe these choices are a substantial step forward in making Boskone a terrific online experience. We also believe that we will be able to incorporate many of these virtual experiences into our future in-person conventions.

What about venue costs?

There are still venue costs for a virtual convention. For an in-person Boskone, the venue costs are easy to see and are mainly associated with the hotel, but venue costs don’t disappear in a virtual environment. Virtual events still need to be hosted, streamed and recorded, gated but with easy access for members, and designated space for content.

For the safety, inclusion, and enjoyment of all our members, we found it important to not solely rely on free tools to host virtual Boskone 58. In an effort to be fair and transparent, we reduced memberships to only $25 for a 3-day convention. In addition, we’ve posted a list of critical expenses that the $25 membership helps to cover:

  • Costs associated with our event management platform that are necessary in a virtual environment, including expanded features such as scheduling, email communications, web-based event experience, virtual dealer/fan tables, art show space, chat/Q&A/polls during and after program items, global chat via type and video, and registration tools.
  • Software licenses. Boskone requires an increased number of licenses for staff who need access to the event management platform and design programs.
  • Technology and A/V expenses, including Zoom meeting rooms and webinars.
  • Closed captioning services.
  • Video storage for OnDemand program video playback of recorded programming.
  • Email newsletter and communications software.
  • Credit card processing fees for memberships.
  • Marketing, promotion, and design.
  • Awards for Boskone’s annual awards ceremony, which includes the Skylark.
  • Guest thank you gifts.

*Any profits generated by virtual Boskone 58 memberships will be applied to future in-person Boskones to defray costs such as American Sign Language expenses, our New Voices Fund, and other critical expenses to modernize and sustain Boskone in the future.

Extending a welcoming hand.

Going virtual provides us with opportunities to include more people in the science fiction and fantasy community. Folks who may not have been able to travel to an in-person Boskone can now join us online. As a convention, we need to be mindful of schedule times, recorded programming, and closed captioning and the costs associated with providing those features — as well as the unknown expenses as we venture into this new space.

We also know that this time has been financially difficult for many folks in the speculative fiction community. Boskone also includes outreach through free and reduced memberships through our New Voices fund or organizations such as Con or Bust.

Boskone is a labor of love.

Boskone is a labor of love for our many, many volunteers and for our program participants, artists, dealers, members, and everyone who contributes. We are so thankful to those who strive to make Boskone a welcoming experience as one of the longest-running fan organized conventions. We look forward to seeing everyone at virtual Boskone 58.

November 15, 2020

Boskone 58 Various Quick Updates

Hello Boskone Community,

This is just a very short update on a variety of topics as we work to whip our virtual convention into shape. A more robust set up updates will be included in Hulmuth, Boskone email newsletter.

Galleria Type Activities:
We are currently pulling together our plans to host a Dealers Space, an Art Show, and a Sponsors page for our friends to share their wares, works, and organizations with us. That information will be on the website shortly.

Program Update:
Our program team, led by James Boggie, has begun sending out program invitations via email. We are building a big program for a virtual convention, and we hope to invite a large contingent of our regulars as well as participants who are new to Boskone. While we will only be able to invite about 2/3 of our normal number of program participants, we are trying to include as many people as possible.

Program Invitations & Spam Folders:
As usual, program is sending the invitations and surveys through the Grenadine database from the email address program@boskone.org. Many of the invitations are being caught in spam filters and going unanswered. If you have requested a survey or hoped to receive one (without having asked for one) and you don’t see it in your in box, please check your spam filters. Emails started going out on November 9th. If you would like to be considered for programming, please contact us at program@boskone.org.

We Need Volunteers:
While there aren’t any heavy boxes to haul around, trucks to load, food to slice and set out, objects to build, etc., we still need volunteers. Some of the key areas are for data entry, people with web experience, people with online tech experience, and online room hosts, etc. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out our Volunteer Form for Boskone 58. Thank you!

Registration / Memberships:
Memberships are now available online for purchase at the low “virtual” price of $25 per person. We hope you are able to join us! Purchase your membership today.

Opt-in and Receive the Boskone Online Newsletter: Helmuth
We send out an occasional newsletter to our community members to update them throughout the year. Over the next 4 months, the newsletter will become a monthly mailing. Opt-in now and get Boskone’s news sent directly to your in box.

Sign Up for the Boskone Newsletter!

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Email & Social Media Marketing by VerticalResponse

Thank you for being a part of our community and for bearing with us as we navigate the virtual water of con running. We are excited about Virtual Boskone 58 and look forward to a fantastic event with you and our entire community.

October 29, 2020

Let’s Turn Lemons into Lemonade – Boskone 58 is going Virtual!

For the first time ever, you don’t need to fear Snomageddon. This year, we are bringing Boskone to you!

Boskone 58 will be held online as a virtual convention on February 12-14, 2021. This means that anyone, anywhere can attend! While we wish we could meet in-person, since we love these fannish gatherings with you, we must think of the health and well-being of our community. We hope you are able to join us online for a fantastic virtual event in the comfort of your home.

Memberships for virtual Boskone 58 are $25 per person and are now available online. We have decided to shift all previously purchased or earned rollover memberships to Boskone 59 (with the exception of Life Members and former Guests) since the price of the Boskone 58 virtual convention membership is so much lower than for an in-person membership. If you have a question about your membership or would like to ask about alternate arrangements, please contact Boskone Registration at registration@boskone.org.

Website Image Boskone 58

GUESTS:
Boskone 58 will be a three-day virtual convention (held online), starting in the afternoon on Friday, February 12 at 5:00 pm (U.S. Eastern Standard Time) and running through Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, Tamsyn Muir is not able to join us virtually this year as our guest. However, all of our other guests are able to join us online for a fantastic virtual Boskone. We are delighted to welcome our guests to Boskone 58:

  • Joe Abercrombie – Guest of Honor
  • Julie Dillon – Official Artist
  • Sheree Renée Thomas – Special Guest
  • Marc Gunn – Musical Guest
  • Ursula Vernon – NESFA Press Guest
  • Mike Brotherton & Christian Ready – Hal Clement Science Speaker

PROGRAM:
Programming will feature the full range of activities and a wide selection of program participants. This past August, NESFA hosted its inaugural virtual convention reCONvene, which has inspired the Boskone 58 program and helped us to learn how we can take advantage of the new opportunities that a virtual environment provides. We welcome your program ideas and if you would like to be considered for a spot on the Boskone 58 virtual program, please contact our Program Team at program@boskone.org.

VOLUNTEER:
We are also looking for volunteers who are comfortable working in an online environment. Roles include helping to staff virtual program rooms as well as helping with virtual logistics, marketing, program development, data entry, communications, and more. If you are interested, please fill in our Volunteer Form for virtual Boskone 58 and we will get back to you.

REGISTER:
We appreciate your support, admire your imaginations, and welcome your company as we come together in cyberspace this February. Purchase your membership for the virtual Boskone 58 today, and we will see you there!

Visit us online at https://boskone.org, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/boskone, and Twitter at https://twitter.com/boskonenews. Got a question? Email us at info@boskone.org for more information.

July 11, 2020

Join us in August at reCONvene 2020! – Boskone’s Online Sister Convention

Miss seeing your fannish friends? Looking for something fun to do this summer? It’s time for some speculative fun. Join us online at reCONvene 2020!

The New England Science Fiction Association and Boskone are excited to announce reCONvene 2020, NESFA’s new one-day online science fiction convention. Boskone’s sister con will be held online on August 15, 2020, from 11:00 am-5:00 pm (Eastern U.S. Time). Our program includes six hours of fantastic science fiction, fantasy, and horror discussions with some of today’s most exciting authors.

Buy a Membership for reCONvene!

Memberships are available now for $10.00 and are available to anyone, anywhere! To register, please click the red button below to visit the reCONvene 2020 website.

Register Now

Who’s Coming?

reCONvene is excited to welcome YOU along with more than 50 authors and artists to join us for our inaugural online science fiction convention. While we’re still confirming reCONvene’s speaker list, here’s a partial list of program participants who will be joining us online on August 15, 2020:

  • Joe Abercrombie
  • Steven Barnes
  • Ted Chiang
  • P. Djèlí Clark
  • Br Guy Consolmagno SJ
  • Aliette de Bodard
  • Alan Dean Foster
  • Andrea Hairston
  • Charlaine Harris
  • Stephen Graham Jones
  • Aleron Kong
  • Victor LaValle
  • Sharon Lee
  • Alastair Reynolds
  • Rebecca Roanhorse
  • John Scalzi
  • Karl Schroeder
  • Adrian Tchaikovsky
  • Martha Wells
  • Micah Yongo

What’s on the Program?

Our program will feature six hours of programming through Zoom that will include panel discussions to science talk, gaming, kaffeeklatches and more. ReCONvene’s full program is nearly complete, and here are a couple panels to whet your appetite.

The Allure of Pre-Tech Epic Fantasy
The popularity of fantasy set in pre-tech times continues to captivate the imaginations of readers and writers alike. What is it about these pre-industrial fantasies that spark the imagination? What place does science hold in these stories? Is the pre-tech age particularly well suited for epic fantasy? What makes these rural or low-tech stories and characters so compelling? Our authors discuss some of the opportunities and challenges related to pre-tech fantasy as well as what they love most about this fantastic genre.

The AI Among Us
AIs are here, slipping through our everyday world, crunching numbers, sorting data, and learning at an exponential rate. However, general artificial intelligence still remains a far off digital dream. Has AI failed us? Has innovation stalled? What can researchers learn from science fiction regarding sentient AI systems? What grains of innovation inspiration might still remain untested within the pages of novels and will increased computing power help us to bridge that uncanny gap?

Finding our Humanity in Horror
What is more human than the need to understand or the need to survive? From the disparate to the depraved, horror subverts our expectations and turns our known world into a chaotic series of events that undermine our control of the world around us. How does horror force us to see ourselves more clearly through the distortion of fear? What role does psychology play in turning the screw on our own terror, and why is it so difficult to look away? As our world fills with plots and themes straight out of a horror novel, why are we drawn to the genre even more strongly? And how can horror compete with real life without going over the top?

How Your Membership Fees Are Used

ReCONvene 2020 is a volunteer run convention. Memberships are available for a flat fee of $10, and we’re grateful for any supporting contributions received that will help to cover the basic event costs. Any additional funds received will go toward future program costs for reCONvene and Boskone in order to enable us to bring services to future events such as American Sign Language services, closed captioning, the New Voices Program, and memberships for those in need. Membership registration is available at www.reconvenesff.com.

February 11, 2020

Getting to Boskone 57!

For those of us who are driving to Boskone, and that includes cabs as well as Uber and Lift, please be aware that the New England Boat Show is happening at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, which shares a driveway with the Westin.

When driving, please be aware that traffic will likely be heavy at times, especially during the opening and closing hours of the Boat Show. On the bright side, this means that their parking lot will be open during the day (according their website it’s $20 for regular sized vehicles and $36 for oversized vehicles). Since their lot does close at night, please also be sure to also ask how late they will be open (each day that you use their lot) so that you can retrieve your car.

A nice alternative to driving is to take the Silver Line, SL1 or SL2, to the World Trade Center Station. Visit the MBTA site for the Silver Line schedule.

For details on how to navigate the MBTA system or additional parking information, visit the Boskone website.

As always, plan some extra time to arrive at the convention before the first program item that you would like to attend. Safe travels! We look forward to seeing you there!

February 5, 2020

Food Options at the Westin and Boskone 57

The Con Suite will still be a relaxing, convivial space for you to enjoy them in the company of your fellow fans. Boskone provides a modest selection of snack choices including fruit, salty snacks, nuts, cookies, candy, and so on. In addition, we will still have plenty of coffee and hot water for tea, and have a variety of sodas and juices as we’ve done in the past.

Please note that the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel limits the types of snack items we can serve in the Con Suite and limits us to prepackaged snacks that come in individually wrapped packaging.

However, the Westin has confirmed that individual convention members may purchase food and non-alcoholic beverages from any of the on-site restaurants within the hotel to bring into Boskone’s function space to eat, including the Con Suite. Please remember that the hotel does not allow anyone to bring food from outside restaurants into the function space or the Con Suite. If you have a booked a hotel you, they do allow you to consume outside food in your hotel guest room.

The Westin’s current on-site restaurant hours are:

ROOM SERVICE:
Available 24-hours per day.

SAUCIETY:
Monday-Friday
Breakfast: 6:30 am-11:00 am
Lunch: 11:30 am-2:30 pm

Saturday
Breakfast: 7:00 am-11:30 am
Lunch: 12:00 noon-3:00 pm

Sunday
Breakfast: 7:00 am–12:00 noon
Lunch: 12:30 pm–3:00 pm

STARBUCKS:
Open: 6:00 am–9:00 pm (on Thurs, Fri, Sat)

BIRCH BAR:
Open: 3:00 pm–12:00 midnight (same kitchen hours as MJ O’Connors)

MJ O’CONNORS:
Open: 11:30 am–2:00 am

Kitchen Hours
Sun–Thurs: 11:30 am–12:00 midnight
Fri–Sat: 11:30 am–1:00 am

CITY BAR:
Open: 4:30 pm–2:00 am

While not the perfect or ideal scenario, we hope these alternative options help in providing you the food you need in order to stay lively and healthy during the con!

February 3, 2020

Volunteer for Boskone 57. We Need You!

Are you interested in volunteering your skills, energy and time either helping with pre-convention work or at-convention work for Boskone 57? Just send us an email at volunteers@boskone.org before the con or stop by the Volunteers desk in the Galleria during Boskone. You can also fill out our Volunteer Survey Form. Please fill out as much or as little of the form as is pertinent to your experience and interests.

Volunteer for BoskoneWe are a 100% volunteer run convention that brings together 1,000+ fans, authors, scientists, artists, musicians, publishers, editors and more in order to enjoy an inspiring, entertaining, and unique convention that offers a warm and inclusive environment no matter the weather conditions outside.

We are looking for volunteers who are able to take on a variety of tasks that range from event planning to AV & IT tech work, volunteer wrangling, creative design, registration check in, packet stuffing, etc.

Volunteering is a great way to make new friends, get to know more people, and to earn volunteer hours that can be used toward a free membership for Boskone 58 (next year’s convention, which takes place in February 2021).

Thank you so much!

February 2, 2020

Books! Swag! Fun! Come to the Boskone 57 Book Party!

A great way to unwind on Boskone Saturday night is the Boskone Book Party! Enjoy this low-key meeting of the presses and authors who have new books coming out at Boskone! This is your chance to see what’s new from authors you already love as well as those you have yet to discover. Plus, there’s cake!

The Boskone 57 Book Party

Day: Saturday, February 15th
Time:
6:30-7:30 pm
Location:
Con Suite, in the Galleria Level, Westin Waterfront Hotel

Book Party Authors:Boskone Register Today

  • E. C. Ambrose
  • Rick Berry
  • Jim Burns
  • Jeffrey A. Carver
  • Sara Codair
  • Jeff Hecht
  • Nicole Givens Kurtz
  • R.W.W. Greene
  • James Patrick Kelly
  • Patricia Morgan Lang
  • Errick Nunnally
  • Christopher Paniccia
  • Steven Popkes
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Dave Seeley
  • Clea Simon
  • Mike Squatrito Jr
  • Gregory Wilson

NESFA Press is pleased to announce the publication of the Boskone 57 book Stan’s Kitchen: A Robinson Reader by Boskone 57’s Guest of Honor Kim Stanly Robinson at the Boskone Book Party, on Saturday, February 15, at 6:30 pm, in the Galleria.

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the most well-known SF writers in the world, applauded in non-SF circles for his grasp of vital ecological and political issues. His Mars trilogy, his Science in the Capital trilogy, and his recent novels 2312, Aurora, New York 2140, and Red Moon are all modern SF classics, each exploring directions in which our world may be heading.

In this book, Stan offers you a rare treat, a selection of his favorite pieces of his own writing, which offers a unique view into important ideas within many of his areas of interest. Stan has chosen examples of his entertaining fiction, including a band disaster, an exploration of the idea of whether Vinland existed or not, how a curveball might work on Mars, and his final Mars story.

Also included are insightful and wide-ranging essays on Gene Wolfe, Cecelia Holland, Joanna Russ, Stanislaw Lem, George Orwell, Philip K. Dick, Ursula Le Guin, and Chip Delany that should make you want to run out to find and read more of their works.

You’ll read of some of his optimistic and naturalistic visions of our world in essays on predicting the future, on utopias and dystopias, on his Antarctic adventures, on hiking experiences in the wild, and on the fight to name a mountain. This personal collection of prose and poetry is the next best thing to sitting in Stan’s kitchen, sharing a cup of coffee and conversation with the master.

Dust jacket illustration “Isosceles Peak from Dusy Basin” ©2012 by Tom Killion

Dust jacket design by Matt Smaldone


Register for Boskone 57 today!

February 1, 2020

Buy your Boskone 57 Membership Before Online Sales Close

If you still need to purchase your membership, it’s easy! Pre-convention full weekend and one-day membership rates are available online through Saturday, February 8, 2020. To pick up your name badge and convention materials, come to Registration at the top of the escalator in the Harbor Foyer area.

On-Site Registration Hours

  • Friday:  1:00 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Saturday:  9:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Sunday:  9:00 am – 12:00 noon

Full Weekend Rates

Adult Day Rates:

Young Adult (ages 18-25)*

  • Friday: $20
  • Saturday: $40
  • Sunday: $20

Child (ages 5-17)*

  • Friday: $10
  • Saturday: $20
  • Sunday: $10

All children (ages 7–12) who use Dragonslair services must be convention members. However, children who stay with their parents at all times are considered “kids-in-tow,” and need not have memberships. (“Kids-in-tow” do not receive any convention materials.) We are not able to offer babysitting through the convention.

At-Convention Membership Purchase

If you miss the online registration window, don’t worry! You can still purchase your membership at Boskone. Registration opens at 1:00 pm on Friday, February 14th. Don’t forget to bring a government-issued or school-issued photo-ID, such as a driver’s license, with you to pick up your badge.

Can’t remember if you purchased your membership already? Visit our membership search page to find out!

 

*ID may be required

January 29, 2020

Go Mobile and Get the Boskone 57 Program App

With over 350 program items and nearly 200 program participants, there are a lot of things to keep track of at Boskone this year. But we have an app for that!

(Actually, we have your choice of two apps for that!)

With your smart phone, tablet, or computer, you can use the Grenadine Event Planner app or the KonOpas app to personalize your very own Boskone 57 schedule!

Online Schedules

The Boskone 57 schedule is online as a schedule that can be personalized as well as a text-only listing.

The Boskone Schedule Apps

Grenadine Event Guide is an (IOS or Android) application available on your phones and mobile devices. Grenadine is the database we use to set up the Boskone schedule. We have a schedule that can be personalized and can be connected with Grenadine’s mobile app. Once you have installed and launched the application, enter code “Boskone57” to download the correct schedule.


Download on the AppStore
Get it on Google Play

Note: If you have set up a Grenadine account in the past for organizing your Boskone schedule, you can reuse that same account. Otherwise you may need to sign up as a new user.

KonOpas is a web based online schedule that you can view in any browser and can be personalized to export and share with others.  KonOpas will store all its data in the browser so you can still view it when you have no internet connectivity.

Access the KonOpas schedule at http://schedule.boskone.org

Tweet Your Experience

Follow Boskone on Twitter at https://twitter.com/boskonenews, use the hashtag #boskone, and to share your thoughts on Twitter.

Boskone Internet Access

The hotel lobby offers free internet access so that you can keep up with any last minute schedule changes. So, please be sure to refresh your app before heading to the program area since the hotel does not make internet access available in those spaces.