Missoula's Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention

MisCon 38: the Dark Forest, May 24 - 27, 2024 Missoula, Montana

MisCon 38: the Dark Forest (May 24 - 27, 2024)

MisCon 38 Theme

Laughter through the trees, rustling leaves, then silence.

Was it a goblin? A korok? Totoro?

Mist clings to the ruins of a cottage built of gingerbread and decorated with candy, making the sun an almost-forgotten memory. It's safe enough here, I think, if the oven isn’t lit.

You’d never know this used to be a convention hotel with a nice normal park behind it.

I still remember the time before the fairies returned to claim MisCon, when sunlight was bright, days were long, and bargains didn't involve love and blood and firstborn children. Things made sense then, before trees sprouted up everywhere, twilight crept in, and geese started laying golden eggs.

Now, sprouted implies youth, but this wandering wood is ancient, much like its residents who lurk among the gnarled trunks and shiny toadstools, watching, waiting for opportunities to draw you away from the convention.

Many are friendly to humans, of course, especially MisCon attendees, but don't go getting lost down an unfamiliar leafy path. You never know what kind of strangers you’ll meet.

Why, just yesterday a rude Githyanki strode up babbling about a mind flayer ship, demanding if I knew anything about some sort of missing artifact. I told her I most certainly did not, but I gave her one of the special apples I brewed up for my pesky step-daughter.

Fairest in the land? Yuck.

Say, you haven’t seen a spoiled princess around here, have you? High-pitched screechy singing voice, really nasal? Loves birds and squirrels and fraternizes with dwarves?

Bah, nevermind. I’ll find her.

Is that a flute in the distance? An ocarina?

Over the years, MisCon has been plagued by zombies, became a ruined wasteland, ascended to the future, lost all its heroes, and leveled up. It’s been filled with doors to many times and places. Once it became a fairy tale that attracted none other than George R.R. Martin, one of the greatest wizards of our age.

This year, let's explore our fascination with forests, whether they’re deciduous, coniferous, bamboo, or fungal. They’re usually murky or forgotten. Many are enchanted refuges home to elven choirs, dwarf cottages, and unicorns, but they’re also haunted, dangerous places full of tengu, big bad wolves, dark magics, and bewitching glades.

Why do we love forests so much? Is it mere escapism or is it deeper than that? While you work on costumes, panel ideas, and game scenarios, think about classic fairy tales, fantasy epics, and things that lurk in the woods.

Will you dress as Hestu, a druid, or a gnomish mushroom seller? How about a simple woodcutter? Treebeard? Inosuke, King of the Mountain?

Work on your cosplay and prepare for the Moonlight Ball on Friday night. King Oberon promises it will outshine anything Queen Titania has planned. Even Princess Mononoke said she'd attend, and she's not much of one for parties.

If you're old enough, attend the Mead Tasting (or the Sake Tasting or the Whiskey Tasting).

As you wander around MisCon 38's Dark Forest, don't accept gifts from strangers, and be careful what you eat or drink (unless you got it from one of our food trucks parked in the glade outside).

Watch LOTR, Grimm, Princess Mononoke, Game of Thrones, Totoro, and read some fantasy and fairy tales to get in the mood. There are mysterious forests in just about every story, so it shouldn't be hard.

Even though we’re going forest-themed this year, you can still put on Mandalorian armor, become Space Ghost, a cyberpunk, or the Staypuft Marshmallow man. Or don't wear any costume at all (I mean, wear clothes and follow our dress code, but regardless of what you look like, let your geek flag fly).

Oh, and please leave your basket of poisoned apples at home.