Many people have accused State College of being a place separate from reality. The late science fiction writer H. Beam Piper actually wrote about a Central Pennsylvania that existed in a parallel time. In his novel Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen, Centre County became a feudal society called Hostigos.
This weekend, the Penn State Science Fiction Society is sponsoring the first annual Hostigos Convention in the HUB and the Sheraton Hotel. The convention will focus on the works and worlds of Piper.
The author guest of honor for the convention is Jerry Pournelle, who wrote or co-wrote classic novels such as Janissaries and Lucifer's Hammer. Pournelle currently writes a monthly column for and is a contributing editor to BYTE magazine. He will give a presentation on computers in the HUB Reading Room at 8 p.m. tonight. and a speech at 6 p.m. tomorrow in the HUB Ballroom.
The editor guest of honor is John F. Carr, who compiled all the anthologies of Piper's works. He is also the co-author of Great King's War, a sequel to Lord Kalvan. He will give a speech at 7 p.m. tonight in the Reading Room and participate in panel discussions throughout.
The artist guest of honor is Teanna Lee Byerts. An artist from central Pennsylvania, she will display her work and make a presentation at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the Reading Room.
The panel discussion topics include the life of Piper, the relationship between religion and science fiction, and future history in science fiction. The other guests of the convention, most of whom will participate in the panels, are Hal Clement, Jim Morrow, Roland Green and Mike Gilbert.
Also, a gaming room, art show and dealer's room will be provided at the convention locations in the HUB and Sheraton. The Society for Creative Anachronism will present a fighting demonstration on the HUB lawn on Sunday afternoon.
The convention has been in the planning stages off and on" for two years, Craig Ruch, treasurer and vice-chairman of the convention, said. The Central Pennsylvania Science Fiction Association used to hold a yearly convention called Paracon until they stopped in 1983. Hostigos is the first convention in the area since then, Ruch said.
The convention has a strict weapons policy prohibiting firearms, replicas of firearms and explosives and requiring peace-bonding of blades. For many science fiction conventions, people come in costume, such as a full suit of armor. Part of the costume would be a sword," Ruch said.
Ruchsaid that PSFS hopes to bring back science fiction conventions to State College. We're always trying to think of new things. A convention is something we've never tried before," he said.
Registration for the convention is free for students with proof of enrollment and $22 for non-students.