History

The History of Confluence

Confluence began as a cooperative effort between the University of Pittsburgh science fiction club and the people of Parsec. It started out as a one-day conference and has grown to the 3-day event it is now. Many people have worked long hours over the years to make Confluence such an outstanding and trend-setting event.

The first three or four conventions were called “The nth Annual Pittsburgh Science Fiction Conference”; by the fourth or fifth iteration, the name “Confluence” had been adopted.

Confluence is presented by Parsec, a 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of Parsec is to promote awareness of the richness of speculative fiction as literature, art and music; further general education in the sciences and arts, support contribution, both scientific and artistic, to society and to espouse the enjoyment of speculative fiction as literature, art and music with others.

If you, or someone you know has photos of any Confluence programming, Filk concerts or any entertainment items that were performed during any Confluence weekend and would like to share them, please contact: publicity (at) confluence-sff (dot) org

2017

Dates: Aug 4-6 [Photo Gallery]
Venue:Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel in Coraopolis, PA
Guest of Honor: Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Featured Concert: Consortium of Genius
Entertainment:Midnight Monster movies with Dr. Bob
Triangulation: “Appetites” Editors: Frank Oreto and Douglas Gwilym
Program book cover artwork: Amy Finkbeiner
T-shirt artwork: Amy Finkbeiner
Parsec short story contest winning story: “Fluffy” By Yang-Yang Wang
Notes: This year Confluence reintroduced a Masquerade

2016

Dates: July 29-31 [Photo Gallery]
Venue: Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel in Coraopolis, PA
Guest of Honor: Saladin Ahmed. Special Klingon guest, Lawrence M. Schoen
Featured Concerts: Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff; Special Music Guest Steve Goodie
Fred Capp & Robin Baylor; Mattie Brahen; Errand of Mercy; The Faithful Sidekicks (Eric and Jen Distad); Jane Garthson; Gabrielle Gold; Kari Maaren; Michael McFarland; and Phil Mills.
Entertainment: Improv routine by U.S.S. Improvise (whose members were Patricia Campbell, Ciarán Ó Conaire, Karen Forney, John Gonzales, Remy Porter, and Alex Rudzki, but not all of whom attended)
Triangulation: “Beneath the Surface” Editor: Jamie Lackey
Program book cover artwork: Nancy Janda and Jennifer Hykes
T-shirt artwork: Nancy Janda and Jennifer Hykes
Parsec short story contest: None
Notes: First concert by Jane Garthson. First out-of-area concert by Errand of Mercy.

 2015

Dates: July 24-26  [Photo Gallery]
Venue: DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh – Cranberry in Mars, PA (formerly the Four Points)
Guest of Honor: Joan Slonczewski
Featured Concerts: Brooke Abbey; Special Music Guest Roberta Rogow
Entertainment: “Super Smash Opera” (a travesty of Nintendo video game characters set to classic opera music), written and performed by Bonnie Bogovich, Elizabeth “Liz” Rishel, James Newsome, and others.
Triangulation: “Lost Voices” Editor: Jamie Lackey
Program book cover artwork: Photo of Helix Nebula courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech; photo of astronaut courtesy NASA. Photo manipulation by Kira Heston
T-shirt artwork: Bonnie Funk
Parsec short story contest winning story: “An Occurrence at Owlskirk” by Paul Dixon
Notes: Mark Peters took over Pete Grubbs’ position as Confluence’s sound technician.

2014

Dates: July 25-27 [Photo Gallery]  Parallax Second Players: [Photo Gallery]
Venue: Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North in Mars, PA
Guest of Honor: William H. Keith
Featured Concerts: W. Scott Snyder; Featured Filk Guest Emeritus Pete Grubbs; Special Filk Guest Moss Bliss
“Decadent” Dave Clement; Copy Red Leader (Leslie Hudson and Devin Melanson); Familiar (Aaron Brooks & Kaitlyn Myers); Ookla the Mok (Rand Bellavia and Adam English); Glen Raphael; Tom Smith; Craig Stanfill; Robert Stockton & Martha Underwood; and Wax Chaotic (Katt and Sean McConnell)
Entertainment: The Parallax Zone, performed by the Parallax Second Players
Triantulation: “Parch” Editor: Steve Ramey
Program book cover artwork: William H. Keith
T-shirt artwork: William H. Keith
Parsec short story contest winning story: “How to Remember” by Sylvia Hiven
Play: “The Parallax Zone” (a revue consisting of scenes and songs from past and potential future plays), directed by Karen Yun-Lutz and performed by the Parallax Second Players to accompaniment recorded on CD.
Notes: Opening ceremonies were held for the first time this year; Dave Clement led the attendees in a song during the ceremonies. Pete Grubbs’ concert, celebrating his retirement from music, lasted for over two hours; it is the longest concert performed at Confluence to date and IIRC the longest concert Judi Miller has ever signed for.

2013

NO CONFERENCE
Triangulation: “Steel Cities” Editor: Steve Ramey
Notes: Convention was scheduled for July 26-28. FFG was slated to be Brooke Abbey. Play was slated to be “Harry Potter’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (a travesty of the Harry Potter novels by J. K. Rowling set to Beatles music), written by Randy Hoffman and the Parallax Second Players for performance by the Parallax Second Players. However, the convention hotel was closed and the convention had to be canceled.

2012

Dates: July 27-29 [Photo Gallery] Parallax Second Players: [Photo Gallery]
Venue: DoubleTree, Moon
Guest of Honor: Seanan McGuire
Featured Concerts: Seanan McGuire; Special Filk Guest Martha Sayre (formerly of Omicron Ceti III)
Entertainment: “SupermAnnie” (a travesty of Superman’s origin story set to music from “Annie”); written by Randy Hoffman from an original idea by Greg Armstrong; directed by Randy Hoffman; performed by the Parallax Second Players to accompaniment recorded on CD.
Triangulation: “Morning After” Editor: Stephen V. Ramey
Program book cover artwork: Henry Tjernlund
T-shirt artwork: Bonnie Funk, Karen Yun-Lutz (front) & Kira Heston (back)
Parsec short story contest winning story: The Third Portal, by DeAnna Knippling
Notes: A memorial program for Phil Klass, a.k.a. SF author William Tenn, who had died the previous year, was held at Confluence this year.

2011

Dates: July 22-24 [Photo Gallery]  Parallax Second Players: [Photo Gallery]
Venue: DoubleTree, Moon
Guest of Honor: Robert J. Sawyer
Featured Concert: Alexa Klettner
Entertainment: Revival of “20,000 Leagues of Music,” directed by Heidi Pilewski and performed by the Parallax Second Players to accompaniment recorded on CD.
Triangulation: “Last Contact” Editors: Steve Ramey and Jamie Lackey
Program book cover artwork: Christine Hutson
T-shirt artwork: Bonnie Funk
Parsec short story contest winning story: Evolution, by Matthew James
Notes: On Friday a memorial program was held for Ann Cecil, who had died earlier in the year.  In loving memory: August 1,1940 – January 11, 2011.   On Sunday, a special program was held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Julia Ecklar’s “Divine Intervention” album; Julia herself attended and sang a song in memory of Ann (her first convention appearance and public filk performance in some fifteen years) and several of the other principals in creating the album participated, including (by Skype) producer Michael Moritz.

2010

Dates: July 23-25 [Photo Gallery]  Parallax Second Players: [Photo Gallery]
Venue: DoubleTree, Moon
Guest of Honor: Wen Spencer
Featured Concert: Peter S. Beagle
Entertainment: “The Na’vitivity Story” (a travesty of the movie “Avatar” set to Christmas music); written by Randy Hoffman and the Parallax Second Players; directed by Heidi Pilewski; and performed by the Parallax Second Players to accompaniment recorded on CD. “Evenings in Quarantine: The Zombie Opera”; written by Bonnie Bogovich and Elizabeth “Liz” Rishel; and performed by Bonnie Bogovich, Elizabeth Rishel, James Newsome, and others.
Triangulation: “End of the Rainbow” Editor: Bill Moran
Program book cover artwork: Karen Yun-Luz
T-shirt artwork: Nancy Janda
Parsec short story contest winning story: Colors in a Box, Some Missing, by William Wood
Notes: IIRC first appearance by Peter S. Beagle in the Pittsburgh area since his college days. From this year forward, Mark Peters, the head sound technician for OVFF and Marcon, began attending Confluence and assisting Pete Grubbs with sound.

2009

Dates: July 24-26 [Photo Gallery]  Parallax Second Players: [Photo Gallery]
Venue: DoubleTree, Moon
Guest of Honor: John Scalzi
Featured Concert: More Difficulties (Linda Melnick, TJ Burnside, Jessie Burnside Clapp, and Jean Stevenson)
Entertainment: “The Girl in the Firefly; or, Jaynie Get Your Gun” (a travesty of both “Firefly” and the “The Girl in the Fireplace” episode of “Doctor Who” set to music from “Annie Get Your Gun”); written by Randy Hoffman; directed by Kira Heston; and performed a cappella by the Parallax Second Players.
Triangulation: “Dark Glass” Editor: Pete Butler
Program book cover artwork: Kira Heston and Henry Tjernlund
T-shirt artwork: Karen Yun-Lutz (front) and Kat Yun (back)
Parsec short story contest winning story: Where Their Worm Dieth Not, and Their Fire is Not Quenched, by Spencer Ellsworth

2008

Dates: July 25-27 [Photo Gallery] Parallax Second Players: [Photo Gallery]
Venue: DoubleTree, Moon
Guest of Honor: Joe Haldeman
P. Schuyler Miller Critic Guest: Kathryn Cramer
Featured Concert: Lord Landless (Silva, Thesilee, and Kjenjo)
Entertainment: “Come Back, Dr. Sarcophagus” (not a musical); written by James Morrow; directed by Randy Hoffman; and performed by the Parallax Second Players.
Triangulation: “Taking Flight” Editor: Pete Butler
Program book cover artwork: William H. Keith
T-shirt artwork: Kevin M. Hayes
Parsec short story contest winning story: Guinea, by Amy Treadwell
Notes: Only the 2nd performance ever of “Dr. Sarcophagus.” First North American appearance by Lord Landless.
Kathryn Cramer photo set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kathryncramer/sets/72157606381968889/

2007

Dates: July 27-29 [Photo Gallery] Parallax Second Players: [Photo Gallery]
Venue: DoubleTree Hotel Pittsburgh Airport in Moon, PA
Guest of Honor: Gardner Dozios (in absentia)
Featured Concert: Margaret Davis & Kristoph Klover
Entertainment: “Grease Wars” (a travesty of “Star Wars” set to music from “Grease,” expanded from a medley of the same title by the great Luke Ski); written by Randy Hoffman and the Parallax Second Players; directed by Kim Eklund; and performed by the Parallax Second Players to MP3 accompaniment.
Triangulation: “End of Time” Editor: Pete Butler
Program book cover artwork: Susan Dexter
T-shirt artwork: Susan Dexter (front) Kira Heston (back)
Parsec short story contest winning story: Unique Worlds, by Margaret McGaffey Fisk
Notes: Tom Smith was slated to appear but had to cancel.

2006

Dates: July 28-30 [Photo Gallery] Parallax Second Players: [Photo Gallery]
Venue: Four Points, Moon
Guest of Honor: Geoffrey A. Landis
Featured Concert: Lawrence Dean
Entertainment: “Guards and Dragons” (a travesty of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel “Guards! Guards!” set to music from “Guys and Dolls”); written by Ann Cecil, Greg Armstrong, Randy Hoffman, and the Parallax Second Players; directed by Kim Eklund; and performed by the Parallax Second Players to computer-based (MIDI?) accompaniment.
Triangulation: None
Program book cover artwork: Christine Hutson
T-shirt artwork: Christine Hutson
Parsec short story contest winning story: Coyote and the Nanobots, by Catherine Cheek
Notes: This was the first and only SF convention appearance by Jonathan Coulton. Lawrence Dean met his future wife Deborah at this con. IIRC this was the first year for Confluence’s Undead Dog after-con house filk and it was held at the home of Martha Underwood and Robert Stockton.

2005

Dates: July 15-17
Venue: Four Points, Moon
Guest of Honor: Tamora Pierce
Featured Concert: Escape Key (Matthew & Michelle Dockery)
Entertainment: Revival of “Dune: The Soft Rock Musical”; text revised by Randy Hoffman and the Parallax Second Players; directed by Kim Eklund; and performed a cappella by the Parallax Second Players except for the “Age of Arrakis” finale, which had taped accompaniment.
Anthology: A confluence of speculative fiction. Editor: Barb Carlson
Program book cover artwork: Amy Finkbeiner
T-shirt artwork: William H. Keith
Parsec short story contest winning story: In the Future, Everyone Will be a Victim for 15 Minutes, by C. Kevin Barrett
Notes: Power went out during Tom Smith’s concert and he had to perform the second half by flashlight. This year began an experiment in which I invited members of the Pittsburgh Songwriters Circle to perform at Confluence.

2004

Dates: July 23-25
Venue: Four Points, Moon
Guest of Honor: Michael Kandel
Featured Concert: Chris Conway
Entertainment: “Encounter at FourPoints” (a nonmusical travesty of the “Encounter at Farpoint” episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”); written by Randy Hoffman, Henry Tjernlund, and the Parallax Second Players; directed by Kim Eklund; and performed by the Parallax Second Players.
Anthology: A confluence of speculative fiction. Editor: Barb Carlson
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

2003

Dates: July 25-27
Venue: Four Points, Moon
Guest of Honor: Allen Steele
Featured Concert: Nancy Louise Freeman
Entertainment: “The Music Caves” (a travesty of Isaac Asimov’s “The Caves of Steel” set to music from “The Music Man”); written by Ann Cecil and the Parallax Second Players; directed by Barb Carlson; and performed by the Parallax Second Players to live accompaniment by Mary Crowell.
Anthology: A collection of short stories paying homage to the Parsec short story contest. Editor: Diane Turnshek
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:
Notes: SF author Larry Connolly’s first ever concert. IIRC first convention appearance by The Fibs. This year marked the final occurrence of Confluence’s previously traditional Dead Dog Dinner (it had simply become too large and unwieldy); its absence created an opening for the Undead Dog house filks that would eventually succeed it.

2002

Dates: July 26-28
Venue: Four Points, Moon
Guest of Honor: Hal Clement
Featured Concert: Kenny Young and the Eggplants
Entertainment: None
Anthology: “Parallax Second Tales” Editor: Ann Cecil
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

2001

Dates: July 20-22
Venue: Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport in Moon, PA
Guest of Honor: David G. Hartwell
Featured Concert: Heather Rose Jones
Entertainment: “20,000 Leagues of Music” (a travesty of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” set to music from “The Sound of Music); written by Ann Cecil, Randy Hoffman, and other members of the Parallax Second Players; directed by Mia Sherman; and performed by the Parallax Second Players to taped accompaniment.
Anthology: Six from Parsec” Editor James J. Walton
Program book cover artwork: Kevin M. Hayes
T-shirt artwork: Kevin M. Hayes
Parsec short story contest winning story: The Thissthtach Diner, by Kevin M. Hayes
Notes: This was a year of firsts! First Parsec anthology, first full-weekend Filk track, first Featured Filk Guest and first convention appearance by Joe Giacoio. Either at this con or shortly afterward, Judi Miller began providing interpretive ASL signing for selected Confluence concerts and has done so almost every year since.

2000

Dates: February 25-27
Venue: Sheraton, Mars
Guest of Honor: James Morrow
Concerts: Greg Klyma, Howard “Howie” Harrison, John Hall, Pete Grubbs, and Steve MacDonald.
Entertainments: “The Zombies of Montrose” (not a musical), written by James Morrow and performed by David G. Hartwell, James Morrow, Kathy Morrow, and members of the Parallax Second Players.
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:
Note: IIRC the premiere performance of “Zombies of Montrose.” IIRC first convention appearance by Greg Klyma.

1999 – No Conference

1998

Dates: Sept 4-6
Venue: Sheraton, Mars
Guest of Honor: Nancy Kress
Concerts: Howard Kaplan, Pete Grubbs, “Downtown” Freddie Brown, and Robert Stockton.
Entertainment: “Who Killed Harry Kim This Time?” (a nonmusical travesty of “Star Trek: Voyager”); written by Shanti Fader; directed by Kira Heston; and performed by the Parallax Second Players.
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:
Note: “The Sexual Harassment Trial of James T. Kirk” was presented during this con.

1997

Dates: August 8-10
Venue: Pittsburgh Marriott City Center in Pittsburgh, PA
Guest of Honor: Steven Brust
Concerts: Pete Grubbs and Judy Klass.
Entertainment: “My Fair Ladle” (a travesty of the character Odo from “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” set to music from “My Fair Lady”); written by Greg Armstrong, Kira Heston, and the Parallax Second Players; and performed by the Parallax Second Players to taped accompaniment.
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

1996

Dates: July 26-28
Venue: Sheraton, Mars
Guest of Honor: Michael Swanwick
Concerts: Andrew “Andy” Eigel & David Tucker; Judy Klass.
Entertainment: “The Review and Preview Revue” (a selection of scenes and songs from previous and potential future Confluence productions), directed by Kira Heston and performed a cappella by the Parallax Second Players.
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

1995

Dates: July 28-30
Venue: Sheraton Hotel Pittsburgh North in Mars, PA
Guest of Honor: Kara Dalkey and John Barnes
Concerts: Kara Dalkey, and Ookla the Mok (Rand Bellavia and Adam English).
Entertainment: “The Thing and I” (a travesty of the film “The Thing [from Another World]” set to music from “The King and I”); book by Ann Cecil; lyrics by various members of the Parallax Second Players; directed by Beth Bowles and Ruth Heller; performed a cappella by the Parallax Second Players.
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:
Note: Ookla debuted the Pegasus-winning song “Arthur Curry” during their concert but were unable to finish the performance.

1994

Dates: July 22-24
Venue: Palace Inn
Guest of honor: None
Concert: On the Mark (Monica Cellio, Andrea Gansley-Ortiz, Robert Smith, Kathy Van Stone, and Marion Kee).
Entertainment: “Dune, the Soft Rock Musical” (a travesty of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” set to excerpts from soft rock songs); written by Barb Carlson, Randy Hoffman, Henry Tjernlund, and the Parallax Second Players; directed by Barb Carlson; and performed a cappella by the Parallax Second Players.
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

1993

July 16-18
Venue: Palace Inn
Guest of Honor: None
Concert: Julia Ecklar (?).
Entertainment: A series of skits performed by the Parallax Second Players.
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

1992

Dates: (exact dates uncertain but probably the third weekend of July)
Venue: Palace Inn
Guest of honor: William Tenn
Concerts: Joe Ellis and On the Mark (Monica Cellio, Andrea Gansley-Ortiz, Robert Smith, Kathy Stone, and Marion Kee)
Entertainment: “The Undiscovered Logic” (no details known, but presumably a travesty of “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country”
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:
Note: Joe Ellis is known to have provided live accompaniment for one of the early Confluence plays; it almost certainly has to be “The Undiscovered Logic.”

1991

Dates: July 19-21
Venue: The Palace Inn in Monroeville, PA
Guest of honor: None
Concert: Joe Ellis (?).
Entertainment: “The Kruton Interface” (not a musical), written (and later expanded into a novel) by John de Chancie and performed by the Parallax Second Players.
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

1990

Dates: Sept 15-16
Venue: William Pitt Student Union
Guest of honor: Jack Chalker
Concert: Music by Morphic Resonance (Chris Koenigsberg, Ben Opie, Peter Velikonja, Dean Rubine, Paul MacAvinney, and Yun Wang).
Entertainment: “Kamakazi Moron” (a travesty of the Star Trek novel “Kobayashi Maru” by L.A. Graf [Julia Ecklar and Karen Rose Cercone]), writer(s) not known, performed by Kevin Riley, Tom Howell, Walt Staples, Janet Staples, Nancy Janda, and members of Radiance, the Houghton College Speculative Fiction Club. “The Demolished Fan,” written by “Elron Hobart” (John de Chancie) and performed by Barb Carlson, John Fiala, and Bill Hohmann.
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

1989

Dates: Sept 16-17
Venue: William Pitt Student Union
Guest of Honor: None
Concert: Songs performed by Julia Ecklar.
Entertainment: “War of the Worlds, TV Style” skit by Barb Carlson and Dave Stein, performed by the Parallax Second Players. Second skit (title unknown) performed by the Student Science Fiction and Fantasy Association (S2F2A).
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

1988

Dates: Sept 17
Venue: William Pitt Student Union Building on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA
Guest of Honor: None
Concert: Filking Saturday night by Julia Ecklar.
Entertainment: “A Slip in Time” by Ann Cecil, performed by the Parallax Second Players
Program book cover artwork:
T-shirt artwork:
Parsec short story contest winning story:

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