Guests of Honor

Artist Guest of Honor

Dan Votz Dan Voltz is an independent science-fiction artist who specializes in spaceships and dinosaurs. (Yes, people have suggested putting the dinosaurs on the spaceships—but, hey, artists can be a stubborn lot.)

Dan has enjoyed science fiction for nearly their entire life. The very first episode of Star Trek they watched was a rerun of “The Doomsday Machine”—and it hooked them at age 8. Dan started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation every week afterwards. Around the same time, Jurassic Park was stomping (and roaring) into theaters. Those two passions took root and never stopped growing.

For Dan, spaceships, dinosaurs, and other science fiction themes represent visions of an enriching, humane, and optimistic world. In Dan’s paintings, starships allow people to explore across lightyears. Dinosaurs represent a more balanced approach to living with nature (and a reminder to cherish the nature that’s in our backyards)…

By bringing their artistic vision directly to fans, Dan hopes they’re making a tiny corner of the world a slightly brighter, possibly more optimistic space that’s inclusive and welcoming to everyone.

Visit Dan’s website at

Author Guests of Honor

T. Aaron Cisco T. Aaron Cisco is an Amazon Bestselling author, a multi-award-winning TV producer, and even a former touring musician. Working primarily in the genres of contemporary Afrofuturism, science fiction, and fantasy, Cisco crafts narratives that are as captivating as they are groundbreaking. Cisco sees his work as a megaphone for the overlooked and marginalized—giving voice to characters, themes, and stories that challenge stereotypes and upend prejudices. When you dive into a T. Aaron Cisco tale, you’re not just reading a story; you’re engaging with an art form that treats identity and equality as its narrative backbone. From his debut work, Teleportality, to his latest enigmatic pieces like The Unbanished, The Unrested, and Before Asleep You Fall, you’re stepping into worlds where the merit of each character—be they male, female, white, or non-white—is not up for debate; it’s simply a given.

If you find Cisco’s storytelling unusually concise yet potent, there’s a reason: His origins in the frenetic world of television have sharpened his craft to a fine point. Back in his news and talk show days—and later as a writer of snappy marketing copy and compelling commercials—Cisco learned to captivate an audience in a handful of minutes. This experience has shaped his unique literary style, making each book a tightly woven tapestry of intricate but compact storytelling. Add to this a childhood love affair with the works of Edgar Allan Poe, a master of the novella, and you get a literary style that delivers each story like a well-aimed arrow; short, piercing, and on target.

From Minneapolis by way of Chicago, Cisco has achieved much, not just as an author but as a cultural influencer. His works have frequently adorned Amazon’s bestseller lists, with The Unbanished, Rod String Nail Cloth: An Afrofuturist Mixtape, and Black Nerd Blue Box: The Wibbly Wobbly Memoirs of a Lonely Whovian clinching the number one spot. But his influence extends far beyond the printed word. His work has been showcased across various media platforms, including NBC, ABC, KSTP, TPT, Insight News, Axis of Logic, and Twin Cities Geeks. A collection of accolades decorate his career—local Emmy awards, international speaking engagements, the MN Society of Professional Journalists Page One Award, a distinguished spot on Hennepin County Libraries’ Minnesota Black Authors list, and a title as one of the Ten Black Change-Makers Influencing the Twin Cities Arts Scene. More than anything, T. Aaron Cisco is an ardent advocate of the simple yet profound concept he calls “squee”—the utter joy and excitement that comes from sharing stories and life with others...

Michael Merriam Michael Merriam is an award-winning author, performer, playwright, and screenwriter. He is the author of the steampunk and Weird Western series Sixguns & Sorcery, and his essays and stories have appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Cast of Wonders, and Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine. His latest novel from Queen of Swords Press is Last Car to Annwn Station. He has published a dozen books and over 100 pieces of short fiction and poetry. His scripts have been produced for stage and radio, and he has appeared in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, Not-So-Silent Planet, StoryFest Minnesota, and over the air on KFAI and Minnesota Public Radio. Like most artists, he has worked a variety of odd jobs over the years, including short order cook, late night radio disc jockey, international freight specialist, Rock-a-billy bassist, and manager of a puppet troupe. He lives in Minneapolis, MN, with his wife, housemate, an elderly dog, and two exuberant cats. Visit his website at

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MarsCon 2024

March 8-9-10, 2024
Hilton Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport
3800 American Blvd. E. / Bloomington, MN 55425

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