Most conventions have Guests who are, to some extent, the headliners of the convention. A convention may have Author, Artist, Editor, Music, Toastmaster and Special Guests.
The State of Black Science Fiction Convention (SOBSFCon / SOBSFicCon) provides a forum for fans to see first-hand, and meet, their favorite authors, artists, cosplayers and filmmakers.
We also serve the interests of authors, editors, comic book creators and other publishing professionals, providing opportunities for networking, promotion, and a convenient location for negotiations and other business meetings.
At SOBSF Con (“SOBSFic Con”), all of the professionals began as fans, and most still consider themselves fans, so you will find that they are approachable, friendly and eager to share their knowledge, wisdom and experience.
State of Black Science Fiction Convention Guests are chosen very carefully. Of course we want our guests to attend panels and workshops, but we also invited guests we genuinely think will enjoy SOBSF Con and have fun themselves! Guests are highly encouraged to experience all the activities that the convention has to offer.
Here is a list of some of our confirmed Guests. This list is ever-expanding, so check back often to learn what other Blacktastic Guests will be in attendance at SOBSF Con!
Charles R. Saunders
Living literary legend Charles Saunders is our Distinguished Guest of Honor.
He began his career writing stories and essays for fanzines in the early 1970s, but he is best known as the founder of the subgenre of Fantasy called “Sword & Soul,” which is described by Charles: “Sword-and-soul is the name I’ve given to the type of fiction I’ve been writing for nearly 40 years. The best definition I can think of for the term is ‘African-inspired heroic fantasy’. Its roots are in sword-and-sorcery, but its scope is likely to expand as time passes.”
In 1981 he published the first Sword and Soul novel, Imaro, about a skilled, fearless, wandering warrior who rivals (exceeds?) Conan. He continued expanding the genre of Sword and Soul with the two-volume Dossouye series about a fierce woman warrior from Dahomey and her mighty war-bull, Gbo. Set in an alternate-earth Africa, Imaro was the first sword and sorcery novel that featured a Black hero and was well-rooted in African history, cosmology and folklore rather than the prevalent Celtic, Arthurian, and Scandinavian inspired fantasies.
Charles has inspired several generations of writers with his work.
Our Guest of Honor, Tananarive Due, teaches in the creative writing MFA program at Antioch University in Los Angeles and is a former Cosby Chair in the Humanities at Spelman College, where she taught screenwriting, creative writing and journalism.
Tananarive, an American Book Award winner and NAACP Image Award recipient, is the author of over a dozen novels and a work of non-fiction as well.
Her first novel, The Between, published in 1995, and many of her subsequent books, are part of the supernatural / horror genre. Tananarive has also written The Black Rose, historical fiction about Madam C.J. Walker and Freedom in the Family, a non-fiction work about the civil rights struggle. She also was one of the contributors to the humor novel Naked Came the Manatee. She is also the author of the African Immortals novel series and the Tennyson Hardwick novels.
In 2010, she was inducted into the Medill School of Journalism’s Hall of Achievement at Northwestern University.
Tananarive’s novella, “Ghost Summer,” published in the 2008 anthology The Ancestors , received the 2008 Kindred Award from the Carl Brandon Society, and her short fiction has appeared in best-of-the-year anthologies of science fiction and fantasy.
This leading voice in Black Speculative Fiction lives in Southern California with her husband, author Steven Barnes and their son, Jason.
Brandon Massey was born June 9, 1973, in Waukegan, Illinois and grew up in Zion, a suburb north of Chicago.
He self-published Thunderland, his first novel, in 1999. After managing to sell a few thousand copies on his own, Kensington Publishing Corp. in New York offered him a two-book contract, and published a new, revised edition of Thunderland in December 2002.
Since then, he has published up to three books a year, ranging from thriller novels, to short story collections and anthologies.
He lives, with his family, near Atlanta, GA.
Sheree R. Thomas
Sheree Renée Thomas is an author, book editor and publisher.
She is the editor of the award winning Dark Matter and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones anthologies, both collections of some of the best in Black speculative fiction.
She is also the publisher of Wanganegresse Press, and has contributed to national publications including the Washington Post, Black Issues Book Review, QBR, and Hip Mama. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Ishmael Reed’s Konch, Drumvoices Revue, Obsidian III, African Voices, storySouth and other literary journals, and has received Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, 16th and 17th annual collections.
A native of Memphis, she lives in New York City.
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