ConKasterborous: A Time Lord In Huntsville

Huntsville Geek Matthew Kresal shares some news about the June 9-10 2018 Con Kasterborous, a Doctor Who convention, in this guest article.

The British Doctor Who is the world’s longest running science fiction series, with a run that initially spanned from 1963 to 1989, and resumed in 2005 continuing to this day with the currently airing series. Huntsville is home to Con Kasterborous, a convention dedicated to the show and all things geek, which has been running every summer since 2012 with its latest incarnation taking place at the BridgeStreet Westin June 9th and 10th. More than that though, there are perhaps deeper ties between the Rocket City and this series about an alien who travels around time and space in a blue box that is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.

Huntsville and Doctor Who both have a connection to space exploration. The science fiction series’ tapestry is woven with tales of strange new worlds and alien invaders. Stories like The Ambassadors Of Death (in which we get to see a British version of NASA which is sending humans to Mars in the then not too distant future) and The Waters Of Mars (set almost entirely on Bowie Base One, the first colony set up on the Red Planet) borrow from real-world space exploration. Real-life space flight adventure mingle with everything from vampires to fish people!

Also, the Rocket City and Doctor Who share historical perspective. It’s hard to venture through Huntsville without recognizing the city’s history from plaques, monuments, and, of course, the US Space & Rocket Center (read about Huntsville’s rocket history). Doctor Who, perhaps due to the sheer amount of time its run for, has that sense of history behind it. Even if you’ve never seen the series before, the series welcomes those new to it with all of its charms and quirks – much like Huntsville!

Finally, the city and the show bring people together from all over. Huntsville has deserved its reputation of being what a friend once termed a “Silicon Valley of the south” thanks to the people brought here by both NASA and the Army’s Redstone Arsenal. Conventions like Con Kasterborous do the same thing, and 2018’s event will not only see special guests coming from England, Wales, and elsewhere in the United States, but also attendees from across North America. There will be attendees arriving from not just the Southeast, but from as far away as Canada. Why on Earth (or Raxacoricofallapatorius) is that you may ask?

In part, it’s because of the guests the convention brings. In 2018, perhaps the Con’s biggest guest to date: Mark Sheppard – he has not only appeared in Doctor Who as FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III, but also as Crowley in Supernatural, Romo Lampkin on the rebooted Battlestar Galactica, crime boss Badger in Firefly, plus numerous other roles. Other outstanding guests include Welsh actress Catrin Stewart, whom Who fans will recognize for her role as Jenny Flint, the human member of the Victorian crime solving trio known as the Paternoster Gang; comic book artist Kelly Yates; and Huntsville native Ellie Collins, a budding actress and novelist. Fans will have the chance to meet these guests, get autographs, and a photo made with them.

The con has more to offer than just celebrity guests. There’s also an array of panels to attend covering different aspects of Doctor Who, from the new Doctor Jodie Whittaker (who is the first actress to play the role) to the popular and award winning spin-off audio dramas from Big Finish Productions. There will be panels looking at other fandoms as well, from the aforementioned Supernatural to the iconic 1960s TV series The Prisoner. Plus, vendors and artists will be offering all kinds of wares connected to and inspired by the show and the genre. Finally, Con Kasterborous features a family-friendly atmosphere, including a kid zone where parents can leave their little ones to go off and enjoy the con!

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