The History of COSine
2017 marks the thirteenth annual COSine. Who would have thought when the members of First Friday Fandom started our little convention back in 2004 that we’d still be going strong more than ten years later? We have had fantastic guests, tons of panels and program items, and an amazing art show. Even when many of us were running the World Science Fiction Convention in 2008, we still managed to keep COSine going. It’s been a smashing success.
So how did all this get started in the first place? At one meeting of First Friday Fandom we talked about possibly running a science fiction convention. We had already run SMOFcon successfully (a convention about running science fiction conventions), and had the crazy idea that it might be fun to run another convention, perhaps one every year even! Thus COSine was born. The name arose from a discussion of what to call this as of yet theoretical science fiction con. COS is the airport designation for the city of Colorado Springs, and Robin recounted her old story of how someone was looking at her luggage airport tags and asked, “What does COS stand for?” to which Robin replied, “Cosine.” We debated whether we were allowed to name a convention without including the word “Con” in the name, and decided that yes, there was sufficient precedent to do so. We voted, and COSine won.
COSine 2004 — If you build it, they will come
The first COSine featured author Guest of Honor author Barbara Hambly, and was chaired by Mem Morman. It was held at the LaBaron hotel at Bijou and I-25 near the Bijou Street bridge, not far from downtown Colorado Springs. The book raffle started as a COSine tradition the very first year. We had eighty-one attendees that first year, which is not bad for a brand new convention in the middle of January in Colorado.
COSine 2005 — What, we’re doing it again?
The success of the first COSine led us to plan another one, chaired this time by Jack Heneghan. Once again we celebrated science fiction and fantasy literature with the fans of Colorado, assisted by our author Guest of Honor Joe Haldeman. We were at the LaBaron hotel again for 2005. That year is notable for starting another one of our COSine traditions — the Nubella Award! A news crew from one of the local TV stations attended the convention. During their spot on the evening news they reported that Joe Haldeman was an award-winning author, including among his honors the Nubella Award. While it’s true that Joe did have a Nebula Award already, we decided he needed to have a Nubella Award as well. We promptly constructed our Nubella Award out of a jar of Nutella with an altered label and a styrofoam rocket ship (like the Hugo Award rockets, only not as dangerous if you clobber someone with it – seriously, have you ever held one of those things?). The word about COSine was getting around, and we had 115 attendees that year. COSine 2006 - After three times, it becomes a tradition People kept coming to our little convention, so Chair Mem Morman got Sharon Lee and Steve Miller to travel all the way from Maine to be our author Guests of Honor for 2006. Coming along to see them were many fans of their Liaden Universe novels, giving us a total attendance of 131 at the LaBaron hotel that year. The program book and badges both featured a cat and the planet Saturn. Why? We like cats, plus cats feature quite prominently in some of the Liaden books. The COSine traditions of the book raffle and author signing continued this year, and have been a significant part of COSine every year. COSine 2007 - Now we’re on a roll! In 2007, COSine was co-chaired by Eric Schwartz and Joe Sokola, and was our final year at the LaBaron hotel. We welcomed Colorado’s Connie Willis as our Guest of Honor. With 115 attendees we were doing well, and COSine showed every sign of continuing. The program book and badges showed little green men, which have been used on some of our flyers ever since. COSine 2008 - Five years already? Jack Heneghan chaired the convention again in 2008 as we featured Mike Resnick as our author Guest of Honor. We published his humorous poem, “The Female Person From Colorado”, about how Connie Willis kept beating him out for the Hugo awards. There was a bit of excitement when it came to finding facilities that year. We had a contract with a conference facility that ended up being sold before the time came for our convention, voiding our contract. We scrambled to find space at the Academy Hotel, which ended up working very well for us. With 128 attending that year, it seemed like our numbers had stabilized. This was the year most of the Con Committee was involved with running the World Science Fiction Convention in Denver, but we were still going strong! COSine 2009 - A Convention of Ice and Fire (or at least Snow and Sunshine) We returned to the Academy Hotel in 2009, welcoming author Guest of Honor George R.R. Martin. Ted Monogue chaired the con that year, and we were pleased to see our membership climb to 168. COSine held a Regency Ball and a Treasure Hunt that year. A quinceañera celebration in the main open lobby of the hotel made things a bit interesting, but we managed despite the noise and crowds. COSine 2010 - Lucky Seven Once again we were at the Academy Hotel, featuring L.E. Modesitt as our author Guest of Honor. Terry Adams chaired the con that year. Our Steampunk Ball was beautifully decorated and well-attended by the 168 convention members. The difficulty in reaching the second floor function space (the only elevator was through the kitchen), and slight crowding caused us to consider changing venues for subsequent years. COSine 2011 - Moving on Up 2011 was our first year at the Crowne Plaza Colorado Springs. The move let us add another programming track because of the roomier function space, and that is when we began having more panels specifically intended for writers. Our author Guest of Honor was Sharon Shinn, and the con was chaired once again by Mem Morman. Our dance that year was a Dance of the Dead, although it did not draw the numbers we saw at the Steampunk Ball the prior year. With 200 members of the convention that year, it seems like people liked the new venue as well as the variety of program offerings. COSine 2012 - He’s British you know In 2012 Con Chair Joe Sokola invited British author Charles Stross as our author Guest of Honor. He was a popular guest, attended at most times by a flock (gaggle, herd, confabulation?) of fans. 2012 also featured Inge Heyer as our science speaker, and her program items were very well received. Total membership for 2012 was 230 people – our largest COSine yet! The Cowboys and Aliens Square Dance with caller Chris Kermiet and live musicians was great fun for all, and marked our first official costume contest (but definitely NOT a Masquerade!). COSine 2013 - A Decade of COSine! Ted Monogue and Mem Morman are Co-Chairs this year. Initially Mem was going to be the Chair and Ted volunteered to be the Ottoman, which led us indirectly to the idea for the Arabian Nights Square Dance. We are proud to welcome author Guest of Honor S.M. Stirling this year, and science speaker Jordin Kare. Connie and Courtney Willis are our special guests as well. All in all, it looks like another great year for COSine. The Author Reception, Book Raffle, and Autograph session have been moved into a larger venue, freeing up more space for the Dealers Room and Art Show. This gave the Art Show enough space for a demonstration area, where several demos will be presented on Saturday.