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International science fiction convention makes Canadian debut in Winnipeg


An international science fiction convention made its Canadian debut in Winnipeg this weekend.

Pemmi-Con is the 15th North American Science Fiction Convention (NASFiC). The event celebrates the genre of science fiction in all formats: print, comics, television, movies, and more.

The convention is not an annual event in North America, rather it takes place when the World Science Fiction Convention is not held in North America.

"We kind of hold a mini WorldCon, and this year Winnipeg won the bid," said Pemmi-Con spokesperson Laurie E. Smith. "We're the first Canadian city ever to win the NASFiC...and we're very excited!"

The convention began Thursday at the RBC Convention Centre, with additional parties, workshops, and other programming taking place at the Delta Hotel next door. The weekend includes more than 130 panels, as well as seminars, an art show, vendors, and other science fiction-inspired exhibits.

"Seminars on how to dye fabric, to meeting authors and artists, to workshops, to fundraisers, we're pretty much doing a little bit of everything," listed Smith.

Unlike other "comic-cons," Pemmi-Con makes a point of bringing in scientists as well as science fiction content creators. Canadian paleontologist Phillip John Currie is speaking about Jurassic Park-inspired fiction and dinosaur art and will be participating on a panel about recent scientific discoveries.

Other guests include biologist and author Julie E. Czerneda, Captain Canuck comic creator George Freeman, and Indigenous author Waubgeshig Rice.

"One of the things we're trying to do this year is…emphasize Indigenous contributions to Canadian science fiction and fantasy," Smith said.

The convention takes a different name every year relating to its location. Pemmi-Con is an homage to pemmican, a popular Metis dish in Manitoba. Smith said NASFiC attracts a worldwide audience.

"We have people from all over the globe coming to our convention," she said.

The convention's vendor area had a mix of exhibitors from both Winnipeg and elsewhere. Publisher Matt Joudrey with At Bay Press was selling Manitoba-made literature. He said it was a different type of convention crowd.

"The people have been amazing and lovely and they’ve traveled from all over, especially the United States," said Joudrey. "They're voracious readers, so the people that are here are buying our books and they're very interested in them."

Kevin Black travelled from Seattle, where he hopes to help organize WorldCon 2025. He said both WorldCon and NASFiC draw a very dedicated crowd.

"The people who come to these North American Science Fiction Conventions are very excited about the WorldCon and the Hugo awards and about the history of the World Science Fiction Society," he said.

The Seattle team was one of several at Pemmi-Con this year asking attendees to vote on site selection for the next few WorldCons. Host cities are chosen two years in advance.

"We're running unopposed however, so we're very confident that we'll be bringing WorldCon to Seattle for the first time since 1961."

The last time Winnipeg hosted a World Science Fiction Society event was in 1994. Smith said it's an honour to be chosen as host.

"A convention like this is about building community, and that’s what we're here for," Smith said. "We're here to meet new people and have a great time." Top Stories

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