Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sooner Born and Sooner Bred

(written June 8, 2008--posted later)

No, it’s not football season or Christmas season. So why do I find myself Back Home In Oklahoma?

Con season, of course… with humidity, spring tornadoes and T-storms a-plenty (love the latter, hate the former two). You’d think I’d be up the turnpike at big multi-guest Tulsa Trek Expo, but my home peeps had me in town in OKC for Restarted SoonerCon No. 3, as guests of the worldwide-but-OKC-based fan group "United Federated Planets" on the occasion of its 20th anniversary. All this to say that while it was old home week again, it’s also fodder for thoughts on mainstream SF and media fandom quite apart from the framing of bigtime media cons, where we tend to guest and/or hang out in recent years.

The “Trek recession,” real or imagined, has seen a damper on these smaller cons. But those like SoonerCon are bucking the trend—keep it local, keep it simple, keep it fun. While that's always the mantra of any good convention (at least it was the one that *I* preached), these guys have to do that to survive—and they do. Not just old litcons, not just media—they embrace the best of all worlds, and find the offbeat and unusual to carve their own niche.

At SoonerCon that was actually a track of adult events called “SinnerCon”—and you get the picture. Fandom is big tent, depending on the group and venue, but everyone agrees that it has been aging lately with all the competition from Internet stay-at-home Googlers and home/networked video games. As long as cons—and, by extension, marketers—can find the way to link in to making live fandom vibrant again and, well, alive, we’ll survive whatever media hiccups and "franchise fatigue" come down the pike.

(Excuse me— I said I'd never use the phrase "franchise fatigue." More on that pet peeve later.)

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