Author Mel Odom, of Moore, will be on hand at SoonerCon, appearing at multiple panels. He said that the growth of online communities and message platforms is helping to spur an interest in on-site meetings.
“Despite a culture that's trending toward a physical hands-off approach, people still like to gather,” Odom said. “A con is part town hall meeting, part county fair, and part carnival all thrown together.”
People aren't strangers at conventions; in many cases it's a chance for people to meet others with similar interests with whom they've built online relationships.
“I think we're experiencing a resurgence of fantasy-type conventions in general because people want to get out around kindred spirits,” Odom said. “Since you've had an online relationship with them, it's not like meeting for the first time.”
The convention is being held near Tinker Air Force Base this year, and it is reaching out to military personnel by offering free admission on Friday for active-duty military.
“We hope many of the folks stationed there can come out and have some fun with us,” Wall said.
A new draw to SoonerCon this year is the launch of the Oklahoma Speculative Fiction Hall of Fame, which this year will honor John Ferguson, aka Count Gregore; and Hugo-winning author C.J. Cherryh.
“The important thing for me is that the Hall of Fame is not just a ‘SoonerCon' thing,” Wall said. “We're creating a traveling display that will be present at events all over Oklahoma, and we'll be expanding the nomination and selection committee outside of SoonerCon as well. SoonerCon has provided the initial spark, but we're hoping to fan the flames and grow this much further.”
Guests at SoonerCon include Cherryh; artist Keith Birdsong, who will appear in a Q&A with Odom at noon Saturday; and comics artist Mark Texeira. For more information, visit www.soonercon.com.