On the right, John Ferguson, Oklahoma Speculative Fiction Hall of Fame Inductee, before opening ceremonies at SoonerCon 24.
Beginning in 2013, SoonerCon inducted members into the Hall of Fame, presenting them with the newly created “Nucleon Award.” Members of the Hall of Fame will be Oklahomans (or those with significant Oklahoma ties) who have contributed significantly to the development or support of the speculative fiction genre in Oklahoma or the world.
The 2013 Class of the Oklahoma Speculative Fiction Hall of Fame is John Ferguson, aka Count Gregore, and C.J. Cherryh. The sole member of the Class of 2014 was Dwight Swain. The award was not issued in 2015. Lon Chaney, Jr. was inducted to the hall of fame in 2016.
Lloyd Lee Barnett lives and works in Hollywood, California and his hometown, Oklahoma City. He has an extensive resumé of film and television work, including two Academy Award winners for visual effects, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Avatar. He has a deep love for science fiction and horror. Bierce, Poe, Lovecraft, Serling, Blackwood, Beaumont, Asimov, and Bradbury are among his favorite authors.
Besides his extensive visual-effects work, Lloyd has written and directed several films that have acquired distribution. All his movies are in the realm of science fiction, fantasy, and horror: Ninja Apocalypse; Lily and the Syphon, aka I Love You to Death, and the short film The Cooks. His recent work includes a TV pilot anthology, shot in Oklahoma City. Lloyd is currently in pre-production for his third feature film, as yet unnamed. You can be sure that it will have massive visual effects work, and it will be shot in Oklahoma City.
Lloyd loves work that brings him to his home state, to be with his children and wonderful wife, Dallas. In 2013 Lloyd and Dallas made Oklahoma City their primary home. He looks forward to strengthening the film industry in his home state, especially in the arenas of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
Legendary actor Lon Chaney Jr (Creighton Chaney, 1906-1973) was born in a cabin beside Oklahoma City’s Belle Isle Lake. It was a difficult birth; the infant was delivered premature and stillborn. The attending doctor broke the lake’s ice and plunged the infant into the water, shocking him to life.
Creighton attended business college and worked as a plumber and at other hands-on jobs. After his father’s death in 1930 he decided to go against his famous father’s wishes, entering films in 1932. He achieved fame after taking the stage name Lon Chaney Jr in 1935.
Chaney gained great acclaim in 1939’s Of Mice and Men as the big lug, Lennie. He entered Silver Scream immortality with The Wolf Man (1941) and was the only actor to portray Universal’s “big four” monsters, also playing Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Mummy, in a career that comprised nearly 200 roles. He played solid roles in several genres of films, including westerns and comedies.
This beloved Oklahoman’s Nucleon was accepted on his behalf by his grandson Ron Chaney, President of Chaney Entertainment.
Dwight Swain, an excellent writer of fiction himself, left a legacy of practical advice and encouragement that influences countless authors of science fiction and other genres. Dwight started out in the pulps, that low-paying, garishly decorated field that opened in the 1930s. He wasn’t picky; he was prolific in turning out mysteries, westerns, and action/adventure, along with our beloved science fiction. He had fifteen cover stories for Imagination. And he wrote for Amazing, Fantastic Adventure, and others. He could tell you what it was like to work for Ray Palmer. Or how he’d have to turn out a ten thousand word story practically overnight based on a single piece of cover art.
And when the pulps dried up in the 1950s, he simply looked for other markets. Screenwriting brought him to the University of Oklahoma in 1949, where he worked for the Motion Picture Unit. He did film and television scripts for state and national organizations. In the 1950s , he joined the School of Journalism’s Professional Writing Faculty and began to teach how to write fiction.
Four books of Dwight’s are considered standard in their fields: Techniques of the Selling Writer; Creating Characters: How to Build Story People; Film Scriptwriting: A Practical Manual; and Scripting for Video and Audiovisual Media. At the same time, Dwight didn’t neglect his own writing. He kept doing scripts, articles, and novels. He followed that cardinal rule of writers: “A writer must write.”
He was the most frequent “Guest Pro” to the Dorsal Fin Society, a Norman, OK writers’ group. He retired from OU in 1974. Its Journalism School named an award for the outstanding senior in the professional writing course after him.
Dwight was in demand as a lecturer on fiction and scripting, finally speaking in more than fifteen states and in foreign countries. In November of 1991 he was named Grand Master in the Oklahoma Professional Writers’ Hall of Fame.
Dwight V Swain will be remembered for many things. He was a pioneer in dramatizing educational films recognized as classics in Europe. He was a major figure in pulp writing, as illustrated by his track record in publishing and his regular column in Mystery Scene magazine. The professional writing program at OU was largely shaped through his efforts and guidance. He will be long remembered for the advice, encouragement, and hope he gave to generations of writers, for whom he transformed the somewhat intimidating concept of “Literature” into the art of the possible.
SoonerCon 23 is honored to salute Dwight V Swain as its 2014 inductee into the Oklahoma Speculative Fiction Hall of Fame.
John Ferguson is perhaps better known by his horror host persona Count Gregore. The Count has been scaring and entertaining Oklahomans since the 1950s, and has been featured in guest spots on The Mysterious Lab of Dr Fear. His recent film credits include Army of Frankensteins (2013), Control Alt Destroy (2011) and Tempus Fugit (2014).
Ferguson continues his acting work for television and the stage doing commercials for Sam’s Optical, and also appeared The Senior Follies (2014). The money from the shows went directly to the Senior Mobile Meals program.
C.J. Cherryh is an award winning science fiction and fantasy author. Raised primarily in Lawton Oklahoma, and graduating from the University of Oklahoma, She has written more than 60 books since the mid 1970s. She has won the Hugo award for Best Short Story, and has twice been honored with the Hugo Award for Best Novel. C.J. Cherryh has also won numerous other awards, including the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. In addition to the Nucleon Award and induction to the Oklahoma Speculative Fiction Hall of Fame, C.J. Cherryh was also Guest of Honor at SoonerCon 22, 2013.