|Science Fiction Convention|
|Dates:||1985 to at least 1996|
|Type:||fan run, celebrity guests|
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SoonerCon was a science fiction con.
SoonerCon 1 was held in June 1986.
SoonerCon 2 was held in November 1986.
SoonerCon 3 was held in November 1987.
SoonerCon 4 was held in November 1988.
SoonerCon 5 was held in November 1989.
SoonerCon 6 was held in 1990.
Con Reports: SoonerCon 6
Guesting at a convention is a peculiar state of mind. One feels one should be off doing something like mixing with the fans or serving on panels, not stuffing one's face with exquisite brownies, fudge, chocolate chip cookies, and milk. But it's a dirty job, and someone's got to do it.
Mark and I arrived in Norman a bit late for SoonerCon's opening ceremonies, but nonetheless managed to get to the World Peace Through Chocolate reception. There we were able to meet and property gush over Lois McMaster Bujold. Despite the lack of towels, she seemed to enjoy every word of it, and we all had a fine old talk about writing in general and her work in particular. We made contact with ORAC members from Dallas and with our rebel comrades of Serendipity, who made us feel very welcome.
Saturday was a pleasant blur, but distinctive in that we started out with a buffet breakfast with Lots and several members of ORAC picked up on the way to the dining room. More gushing followed from all concerned along with the usual shop talk on writing, publishing, and gossip. Mark and I took a spin through the dealer's room, getting our first look at Artist GoH Alicia Austin's delightful work. We saw only one table flogging comic books; the rest were mostly books, videos, scripts, buttons, and one devoted entirely to filk recordings. Oklahoma has apparently not heard of PN Elrod yet, as my own works were missing, but since we were a last-minute addition to the guest roster it was hardly a surprise.
We gravitated to the art room and enjoyed viewing a variety of styles and subject matters, some of which might send Jesse Helms into a swoon — but then, that's his problem. My personal favorite was a cartoon piece of The Rocky Horror Picture Show with Bull as Frank N Furter, complete with corset and stockings. The con suite was thick on people with a draw-your-own soda fountain and an endless supply of popcorn. The only objection we had to it was the overly loud stereo which one of the concoms obligingly turned down so people could hear themselves talk. About 20 seconds later a miffed-looking girl turned it backup again, louder than before, ignoring ours and the committee member's protests. We left.
The costume contest was well-run from our point of view, though there were more people in the audience in costume than there were on stage. The concoms were most accommodating at the judges' request for rearranging the placement of the table and turning up pens and paper which certainly offset the rudeness of the aforementioned stereo girl. The contest went fairly quickly, the judges knew what they were doing and worked well together. Best of Show went to a Klingon from the Mirror, Mirror universe, Capt Craggy of a Klingon floral ship. He was gorgeously bedecked in white and lavender robes with sweet little ribbons bed to the ends of his mustache. Each of the lady judges got a rose and the gentlemen were affectionately tickled under the chin with a lavender feather duster. It was to die for!
After that heady experience, Mark and I retired to change into party clothes—having spent several hours as Avon and Servalan — and joined the festivities at Serendipity's room. Whoever baked the chocolate chip cookies with the mint-flavored chips deserves a medal. There we had more shoptalk with Lois and everyone traded shaggy-dog stories and information of all kinds. In light of Lois' military-flavored writing, I noticed that she was paying particularly close attention when Mark was holding forth on the differences between dispatching a person with a gun vs. a knife. (He reads a lot, folks, honest!) But perhaps she was riveted by the button Jackie Black presented him that read: "I'm not a mercenary — killing's more of a hobby with me."
Sunday we crammed in a few more activities like breaking down and actually buying some things in the dealer's room. Neither of us could resist Alicia Austin's prints for long. I also turned up a copy of Huntress, a magazine focusing on The Avengers in general and Diana Rigg in particular. Lois has a great fondness for Oliver Reed, and in her Shards of Honor, his avatar turns up in the form of Aral Vorkosigan, the hero. The magazine had a lengthy article on Rigg's appearance in The Assassination Bureau with lots of photos, making it irresistibl. Lois got a kick out of seeing it, stating, "Yes, that's him before he discovered carbohydrates."
We were on the front row for her reading of her next book, Barrayar, a direct sequel to Shards. All I can say as a writer and reviewer is that when it turns up in (I think) Analog in serial form, get it!
We did sign a few autographs, served on a panel and did what we could to contribute On the down side, one of the panel rooms was the size of a closet and about as well air-conditioned, but fortunately we never had to use it. The video rooms were hotel rooms with chairs put in, and also extremely crowded, so we'll have to wait on KERA in order to see Red Dwarf. Except for the hard-of-hearing girl in the con suite, the comcon, gofers, and all others were invariably polite, helpful, and appeared to be enjoying themselves as much as the rest of us.If future SoonerCons are as well-run and fun as we found this one to be (large enough for a profit, small enough so you don't feel like a nameless cipher), then we plan to return and recommend you check it out as well. 
SoonerCon 12 was held in 1996.
Con Reports: SoonerCon 12
Soonercon. 1996, harked back to a popular beer slogan of a few years ago: it tasted great but was less filling.
Once again, the annual gathering in Oklahoma City satisfied on a number of levels.
For me, Soonercon has always been a good general-interest con, while not taking itself too seriously. In my con-virgin days, I often hustled from panel to panel trying to take everything in and inscribing copious notes at the presentations by the writer guests (cherished then, and still do, some desire to write fiction successfully). Okay guys, no cheap shots about my newswriting!)
Increasingly though, I've attended these last few years to catch up on old friends and renew acquaintances, in the process, missing large chunks of programming, which happened again this year. Hence this isn't a full-fledged review, just more of a collage of impressions.
There were some obvious highlights: the dealer room was deceptively large, as it opened from a narrow corridor out into a large "south 40" well-stocked with plenty of books, videos, t-shirts, and trinkets. Panels by the Oklahoma Space Alliance offered some insights on prospects for moving beyond the Shuttle program into serious space exploration and industrialization venues. And panels on science fiction television and sex in science fiction (couldn't pass that up!) featured spirited discussions.
At other times, the convention felt a bit, well, lonely. The dance Friday night was dead, at least early on, and Saturday night seemed only moderately hopping. It could be that the multi-tiered arrangement of the good-sized room where the dance and the masquerade were held led to a spread-out feel. Be that as it may, the energy level seemed much lower than those of, for example, the RFO dance last year.
The masque itself attracted a scant eight or so participants, down considerably from years past. A tip of the hat to the overall winner, for his elaborate Forest Moon of Endor entry. Good selection and variety of stuff in the video room (loved those Babylon 5 bloopers, for example) but a friend wondered where the anime of the past few years had vanished to.
In sum, I had a great time (I've never failed to at Sooner) but some of the sense of excitement, of possibilities, seemed to be missing this time. The crowd also seemed considerably smaller. I was told attendance was sitting at about 800 or 900, but I didn't see evidence of that size crowd at the masque, the dance, in the hucksters room, or any place that I went. Mayhaps some promotion/advertising needs to be done to bring in some new blood (the vampire live action gamers would like that, if no-one else!) I see strong evidence that some of the faces I remember from yesteryear have vanished, for whatever reason.All that said, however, I'm signing up for Soonercon 13. and yes, I know I'll have a good time. A tip of the hat to Gerald and the con committee for their hard work! 
SoonerCon 13 was held in November 1997.
SoonerCon 2005 was relaunched and held in 2005.
SoonerCon 2006 was held July 15-16 2006.
SoonerCon 2007 was held June 8–10 2007.
SoonerCon 2008 was held June 6–8 2008.
SoonerCon 2009 was held June 5–7 2009.
SoonerCon 2010 was held in June 2010.
SoonerCon 20 was held June 3-5 2011.
SoonerCon 21 was held June 15-17 2012.
SoonerCon 22 was held June 28-30 2013.
SoonerCon 23 was held June 27-29 2014.
SoonerCon 24 was held June 26-28 2015.
SoonerCon 25 was held June 24-26 2016.