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Visioncon ******POSTPONED******

I'd like to take a moment to address all the people within our Visioncon community. It has been a difficult time for everyone lately and for me, nothing has been more difficult than deciding how to handle Visioncon during this time.

That is why I must unfortunately announce the cancellation of our event on May 1st. It has been a difficult decision to come to, but after extensive talks with the University Plaza and local authorities, we feel it is in everyone's best interest to not proceed with the regularly scheduled event. There are still too many unknowns at this point and it doesn't look like we will have firm answers soon enough for our final preparations.

I would also like to take a moment to thank all of the staff of Visioncon. They have given so much of their time and probably a bit of their sanity just to bring us to this point. We are all volunteers here and our only real reward is seeing all that hard work come together each year.

𝙎𝙤 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙙𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙢𝙚𝙖𝙣 𝙣𝙤𝙬?

We intend to look at possibly rescheduling the event, but with so many things uncertain, we don't have any firm plans at this time. If we are able to reschedule in 2020, we will be sure to keep everyone updated through our social media channels. We are, however, definitely making plans to be back in the Spring of 2021.

All tickets, booths, etc… that have been purchased for Visioncon 2020 will be honored at our next event. If we do reschedule, we will give you the opportunity to choose between the rescheduled date or the 2021 event. It is unfortunate, but at this time we cannot offer refunds. Because of this, we can make sure Visioncon lives on.

The costs involved for running Visioncon, even with it being a non-profit, still continue. Not having the event is going to put a huge strain on us for the future. So while you may not be celebrating our 30th with us, you certainly will be able to celebrate our 31st.

Additionally, if you booked your hotel through our Visioncon block at the University Plaza, your room has been automatically canceled for you. If you made arrangements for lodging another way, please contact them for further instructions.

Thank you all for your continued support of Visioncon. We hope everyone continues to be safe and healthy throughout this. We will see you all on the other side. So say we all.

Brandon Shane President, Visioncon, Inc.


Flash Fiction Contest *WINNER*

Thank you for everyone that participated in our very first Flash Fiction Contest. We had many wonderful entries but only one can prevail. Visioncon now presents to you the contest winner: Katie Bennett's "Odd Jobs"


The prompt was: 'You don’t know what you do for a living. You get in the car on Monday, then black out until you're in your driveway on Friday with $10,000'


Voting was very close. The top five stories, as judged by a panel of Drury University faculty and honor students were the following:

  1. "Odd Jobs"- Katie M. Bennet
  2. "For Hire" - Lisa Medley
  3. "Matrix References Are So Dated" - Ryan Listerman
  4. "Messages from an Unknown Soul" - Breanna Harrel
  5. "Sorting Through" - Ty Boyd

YOU will have a chance to vote for your favorite of these five at Visioncon 2020!


ODD JOBS


"You aren't really going to answer that are you?" Travis warned, raising his eyebrows at his dad.

"Sorry, son, it's a client," he replied, phone aloft.

Typical.

His dad tucked himself into the bathroom with his phone while Travis slumped in an armchair. He nursed his cup of coffee, scowling when he noticed a black spot of mold on the rim. He spit the liquid back in and dumped the mug in the already-full sink.

When his father emerged from the bathroom, he had a guilty look.

Travis rose, indignant. "No. Not today!"

"It’s the last job I'll ever have to do. I can't say no."

Travis scowled. "Why?"

"I've been saving for something specific. This will get me to the goal. It's all I need."

"Can't this wait until I'm gone? I came all this way to visit you. You know I'm leaving for California next week, right? I'm not going to have money to travel back here all the time." Travis clenched his jaw to stop the tears that wanted to spring to his eyes.

His father looked at his feet, right where his big toes poked through the holes in the faux leather. "That's exactly why I must do this."

"What do you do, anyway, dad? And none of this ‘odd job’ stuff. I want to know." Travis puffed up his chest, steeling himself. "It's time you told me what work was so important that you drove mom away and tore our family apart over it."

A vein in his father's temple pulsed. "I never meant to hurt you, Trav. Or your mother. It is odd jobs. I don't know how else to explain it to you other than that."

"Just try!" Travis yelled.

He looked at his son with an exhausted frown. "It's an AI agency. One of the new ones. It’s called Artificial Escapes. Ever heard of 'em?"

Travis nodded. Finally, some answers.

"Well, these bots they can do pretty much anything a human can do, but some of 'em just want to know what it's like for a while to be like us. To have a real body. So they pay for the privilege."

"And what do they do once they have your body? Doesn't it bother you, not knowing?"

"There's a contract limiting what they can do. Besides, you don't think about it that way," He said, eyes scanning the water-stained ceiling. "It may seem strange. You don't know what you do for a living. You get in the car on Monday, then black out until you're in your driveway, on Friday, with $10,000. But the 10k makes it easy not to care what happened."

"I couldn't stand not knowing what someone was doing in my own skin."

"I've got to go, Trav. Thanks for coming to see me before your move."

"Oh, no," Travis said, determination making his voice stronger, "Today is take-your-son-to-work day. I've been dying to know what you've been up to all these years, and tonight—I'm going to find out."

***

"So, why do you pay to be my dad?"

The bot wearing my father's body regarded me with a sardonic grin as he sipped his martini at the bar. A shiver went down my spine as I watched the expression play out on the familiar face. The features were my father's, but the expression that played on his lips was completely foreign. The bot parted his hair on the left, unlike my father, who parted it on the right.

"Because my body is perfect."

"And that's a problem?"

"Well, yeah. Perfect aesthetics, perfectly symmetrical. There's no mystery, no variety, no surprises. Take your father's raspy voice, for instance. Have you ever seen a bot headline a band?"

Travis frowned. He hadn't, but he'd always assumed that it was because none of the bots had been interested.

"Our voices are perfect. And because they're perfect, they're boring. It's your imperfections that make you interesting. And the funny thing is," he said, slurring his words, "you all hate that about yourselves." He shook his head and

took another big gulp of his martini. Then, he put his lips around the green olive and chewed, eyes closed. He smiled. "Did you know your father is a supertaster?"

"No, I didn't," he said, looking down. The bot drained the dregs of his martini. "One more?" Travis offered.

"Better not. Wouldn't want to return your father too worse-for-wear."

"One more thing. You're in there, right?" He tapped his forehead. "Can you tell me why my father does this? What's he need the money for? He won’t’ say." The bot tapped his lips with a napkin. "Can't. It's against the contract. Besides, I try not to access his thoughts if I can. It’s a bit of a downer." Travis sighed. "Figures." "But I can tell you," he said, pushing off the bar, "what has come to this body's mind spontaneously while I'm in it. Dreaming, for example. This body dreams a lot. Of you." He slid a business card under Travis' glass.

***

That Friday, his dad handed him an envelope, smiling as if he hadn't just disappeared for a week. The difference was, this time Travis knew where he'd been.

"What's this?" Travis asked.

"Check the memo."

Paper brushed against paper as Travis lifted the envelope flap. A check with many zeros. Forgiveness, written in the memo. His hands shook as he squinted at it through tears.

"Student-loan forgiveness for you," his dad explained. “Maybe overall forgiveness for me. Someday.”

"I never asked for this."

"I know," he shrugged.

"Will you keep taking agency jobs?"

"I guess there's no reason anymore."

"I know at least one person who might be disappointed. But maybe you could work something out," Travis said, pulling out the bot's business card.

His father looked at the card, which bore his own smiling face as the headliner of an indie rock band, and he roared with laughter. "Well, wouldn't you know. I'm a cool dad after all."


Written by: Katie Bennett

K9s for Camo



Each year, Visioncon works to give back to the community by raising funds for one local organization doing good in the Ozarks. Over more than twenty-five years, Visioncon has raised and donated tens of thousands of dollars to causes that improve our local community.

In 2020, Visioncon will be donating proceeds of the May convention to Rogersville-based K9s for Camo. Founded by Army Veteran John Lopez in 2013, K9s for Camo is a locally-based organization with a three-fold mission: to help military veterans, rescue dogs and provide opportunities for prison inmate rehabilitation.

K9s for Camo works to provide service dogs to veterans in need at no cost, using a proven framework to ensure that both dogs and veterans have the skills they need to work together as effective teams.

Each year,1.5 million healthy shelter dogs are put to death in the United States. These animals, however, can be rescued, given purpose and new lives through working as service dogs for military veterans. Clinical research has proven the beneficial effect that service dogs can have on the physical and mental health of veterans. When trained appropriately, service dogs improve veterans’ lives by reducing the effects of conditions such as PTSD and improving their quality of life.

What’s more, K9s for Camo provides a valuable rehabilitation opportunity for offenders at the Ozarks Correctional Center, who learn to become dog trainers and provide intensive instruction and education for the dogs who will go on to be service animals for our veterans. Inmates who participate in dog training learn how to be more patient and work through anger, helping themselves, their future families and their communities as they work to be released from prison.

Once K9s for Camo has seen a rescued dog through the rigorous training process, they are matched with a veteran in advanced training, building their bond and becoming a team.

Visioncon is delighted to be working with this fantastic organization that offers so much hope and healing to so many. We hope you will join us in supporting and celebrating K9s for Camo as we run up to Visioncon 2020: May 1-3 at the Springfield Expo Center!

PASS PRICES

Pre-Registration

  1. Pre-reg is OPEN. Available online through Thursday, April 30th, 2020.
  2. Full Weekend Pass

    • $45.00 (ages 18 and above)

  3. Payment must be submitted with your registration. You will receive an email verification that your registration has been processed.
  4. Passes are not sent in the mail. Pass will be available at the registration desk for pick up.
  5. Please have a Photo ID ready when picking up your pass.
  6. If you have any questions regarding your pre-registration, please email us within two weeks of verification.

Passes Available at the Door

  1. Full Weekend Pass

    • $60.00 (ages 18 and above)

    • $45.00 (ages 13-17)

  2. Day Pass - Valid until 9PM

    • $45.00 (ages 18 and above)

    • $35.00 (ages 13-17)

  3. Children 12 and under are free with a paid adult admission but do require a wristband.




University Plaza Hotel
333 S John Q Hammons Pkwy
Springfield, MO 65806

Springfield Expo Center

Springfield Expo
635 E St. Louis St
Springfield, MO 65806

Want to be part of VisionCon?

We are always looking for volunteers to help make VisionCon as awesome as possible. Here are some ways you can be a part of it.

THIS YEAR'S CHARITY

The Kitchen

SPONSORS

REGISTRATION HOURS

DATE: May 1st, 2nd, & 3rd, 2020

Fri: 12pm to  9pm
Sat:  9am to  9pm
Sun:  9am to 12pm

VENDOR HOURS

Open to Public:

Fri: 12pm to 7pm
Sat:  9am to 7pm
Sun: 9am to 3pm