Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Hypericon 2008 Is History

Well, we’re back from Hypericon. It was a blast. Met some friends new and old, talked to some authors I’ve admired for quite a while, and discovered some new ones. I’ll hit the high points.
I traveled up I-65 with BW and two of our friends, getting a little later start than expected. Compounding the time situation was BW’s desire to have lunch with an old boss of hers. In recognition of all she’s done, I gave in, and went met him at The Lodge in south Nashville. And I got the first shock of the trip.
Jason asked what we were in town for, and I explained I was going to a convention to see some horror authors, and to hang out with like-minded friends. Generally when you say this to someone you get “What the hell is wrong with you?” but Jason’s response was “You know I had a screenplay optioned by Romero, right?” Small world. Jason had indeed, written a screenplay that was under option to legendary filmmaker George Romero. A small world, and a good omen.
We arrived just in time for the first panel of the day, a free-wheeling discussion mainly dominated by the guest of honor, Joe Lansdale, who I have idolized since the 80s. Very informative, and Lansdale made some good points on the proper mindset of a writer, and stylistic choices.
I started running into people I knew from message boards, most of which I had never met in person. Guys like Mark Hickerson, Tod Clark, and John Hornor Jacobs were just as cool in person as on line, and helped allay my wife’s fears that I was hanging out with a bunch of serial killers. In turn, there have been no fewer than four on-line comments that I married way above myself. My only response is: I know it. And if you’d spent more time around BW, you’d be even more confused as to what she sees in me.
Friday night was the first reading, in an unusual format, with six authors getting fifteen minutes each. I was skeptical of how this would work, but it came off well. Ron Kelly read a nice Southern ghost story. James Newman read the beginning of his forthcoming novella The Forum, and everyone I talked to wanted to read the whole thing NOW. Most of us will pre-order it, and I would advise you to do so also. Fran Friel read a delightfully macabre story from her collection Mama’s Boy, and I made sure to buy a copy before I left the con. Fran seems entirely too sweet to be a horror writer, but it just goes to show you can’t be certain of anybody. Deborah LeBlanc gave a beautiful reading of an excerpt from one of her novels. She has a true gift for voices. The most dramatic moments came from Steven Shrewsbury. If you ever have a chance to hear him read, do it. It was more of a recitation, as most of it was from memory, and delivered with great passion, culminating in a roar and slamming his hands into the table, sending Maker’s Mark flying and the table rocking.
The next day, Joe Lansdale gave an unscheduled reading of a short story from the upcoming humor anthology Blood Lite, and had the audience rolling in the aisles with his story about a man’s fateful meeting with Smokey the Bear. I had a chance to meet briefly with Joe, and picked up a couple of nuggets of information: No more Jonah Hex, but there will be a new Hap and Leonard novel out in 2009.
All in all, I bought too much, ate too much, and had too good a time. There was another surprise at the end. Neither my wife nor the couple we went with have had any interest in horror, and I figured they’d be bored and go shopping. But they enjoyed themselves immensely, and at the end were asking “When is Necon? Where is the World Horror Convention going to be held next year?”
I may have created a monster. Which would be appropriate.


John Hornor Jacobs said...

You know, we say you married above yourself just to rib you. After chatting with you (and showing how idiotic I actually am) I can understand why she's with you, brother. At a certain point, dashing good looks and a body rippling with muscles (like mine) just doesn't cut the proverbial mustard anymore, and the ladies need someone to talk to. That's when you step in. I believe it.

And did I hear you say 25 years? Damnation, that's impressive. My missus and I are hitting our tenth this year. Any advice?

Are you going to Necon? I'd really like to attend that one, but it's sold out. I am going to Context 21. That should be fun.


John Hornor Jacobs said...

Oh, yeah. My name is HORNOR. Like HORROR, but take away an R and add an N.

Just saying.

KentAllard said...

Eep. Sorry about the name. The way I roll, it was lucky I didn't misspell it "Horney". Spelling now corrected.

If you spent more time with my wife, you would wonder even more why she's with me. I have people who care for me deeply who don't understand why she chose me.

Yes, 25 years. The formula is simple. Always give in on everything. Accept that you will lose every argument eventually anyway, and just submit in the beginning. You'll be happier in the long run.

I won't be at Necon, although I'd love to be.