› What: Chattacon 42.
› When: 3-10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22.
› Where: Chattanooga Choo Choo, 1400 Market St.
› Admission: $50 adults, $35 ages 8-12 (good all weekend; no single-day passes).
› Website: http://chattacon.org.
CHATTACON PROGRAMMING SAMPLER
› Specialty panel: “Particular Health Problems of Geeks,” Part 1 at 5 p.m. Friday, Part 2 at 10 a.m. Saturday
› Is “Moana” Disney’s “Lord of the Rings”?, 11 a.m. Saturday
› Intergalactic Belly Dance for All workshop, noon Saturday
› Advanced Wand Making, 4 p.m. Saturday
› Greatest and Worst SF Films in History, 11 a.m. Sunday
An Irish band, fire dancers, foam fighters and a mad scientist will help entertain the throngs of speculative fiction fans converging this weekend at the Chattanooga Choo Choo for Chattacon 42.
For the uninitiated, speculative fiction typically bases a story's elements, settings and characters on the imagination (speculation), rather than reality or everyday life. At Chattacon, it's not uncommon to find visitors dressed as favorite characters from "Star Trek," "Doctor Who" or "Game of Thrones," though costuming can range from obscure to obvious.
Programming offers everything from Pokemon gaming tournaments to robot battles to steampunk fashion shows.
This year's guest of honor is Mike Resnick, ranked by Locus magazine as the all-time award winner, living or dead, for short science fiction. Resnick has won five Hugo Awards, from a record 37 nominations, a Nebula and other major awards in the U.S. and other countries.
Special guest is J.L. (Jenifer) Mulvihill, whose writings include the fantasy novel "The Lost Daughter of Easa" and the young-adult novel "Crossings" in the Steel Roots steampunk adventure series. Several other writers from the genre will offer panel discussions, readings and meet-and-greets during the weekend.
The artist guest of honor is Alan Pollack, who specializes in fantasy illustrations. He's one of 23 artists scheduled to participate in the Art Show. Works will be available for sale and as part of a silent auction.
The hall opens at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, with a handful of preliminary events leading up to opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. Events are scheduled all day Saturday, Jan. 21. Closing ceremonies start at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22.