July 20th, 2008


The Great Necon/Readercon Weekend of 2008

I got back from Necon and Readercon and boy are my...well, everything is tired! Necon was as grand as ever, if a little different this year. We stayed in an actual hotel/conference center instead of the usual Roger Williams University campus, and quite a few regulars didn't show for reasons ranging from personal issues to not wanting to deal with change, but as always Necon, like most conventions, is about the people more than the setting.

The conference center was nice, actually. Better air conditioning, better beds and even a pool. No refrigerators like they have in the RWU dorms, though, which is tricky for those of us who stockpile alcohol and snacks for the event. And by "those of us" I mean everyone in attendance. The first night we gathered in a courtyard in the middle of the facility that emulated the quad we're used to on campus, but there was little to no light, and as one person put it, it was a rape waiting to happen, so the courtyard was promptly abandoned and everyone hung out in the parking lot the rest of the weekend (no smoking in the rooms, you see).

I won't name everyone it was great to see, since that always results in tears from the accidentally forgotten, so I'll just list a few highlights:

+ the first annual Necon pool party

+ the first annual Saturday Night Sexy Pillow Fight (by invitation only, as the room was rather small -- though I will say that Derek Sullivan is the fucking Jet Li of pillow fighting, with two of them going at the same time!)

+ mssrcrankypants banging the table like Khrushchev and shouting "There's nothing wrong with being elitist!" during the Kick Horror to the Curb panel. The panel was a rousing success: packed room, running twenty minutes over, and everyone understood pretty quickly that it was actually a pep talk rather than a "horror is dead" panel. I tried to keep the bitterness to a minimum, but you can't always do that with mssrcrankypants, lokilokust and kdunlap in one place.

+ finally meeting Bob Ford and Tomo Joe, both of whom are exemplary people

+ ditching the godawful cafeteria for some real outside food with good friends

And unfortunately some lowlights:

+ the aforementioned godawful cafeteria food

+ the aforementioned absence of some old-guard Necon regulars

+ someone on the hotel housekeeping staff sneaked into some of the rooms and stole electronics like cell phones, digital cameras, etc. It's a good thing I decided not to bring my laptop! The culprit was caught on Sunday and led away in handcuffs. Here's hoping the loot is found and returned.

+ drunken con sluts are ruining Necon; sad but true

Sunday morning, after an hour's sleep -- Necon is so not about sleep -- Sarah Langan schlepped my tired ass to Massachusetts for my first Readercon. It looked like a fun convention filled with literate, intelligent people, one I really ought to go to more often. There were lots of friends there I don't get to see very often (many of whom actually live in New York City!), but I was there this year to see (and assist) the first annual Shirley Jackson Awards rather than do much mingling.

The venerable jurors and advisors of the SJA put me to work right away, placing me in charge of distributing the event programs (which came with little river stones glued inside). Jonathan Lethem was a marvelous M.C., and the presentation went off without a hitch. Also, everyone kept their speeches short, which is always appreciated! Here are the winners (a formal press release will go out soon from the SJA gang themselves -- my apologies if I'm scooping them):

SHORT STORY: "The Monsters of Heaven," Nathan Ballingrud (Inferno, Tor)
COLLECTION: The Imago Sequence and Other Stories, Laird Barron (Night Shade Books)
ANTHOLOGY: Inferno, ed. Ellen Datlow (Tor)
NOVELLA: "Vacancy," Lucius Shepard (Subterranean #7, September 2007)
NOVELETTE: "The Janus Tree," Glen Hirshberg (Inferno, Tor)
NOVEL: Generation Loss, Elizabeth Hand (Small Beer Press)

Congrats to all the winners! Well deserved!

After a lovely if much delayed lunch at the Cheesecake Factory near the Readercon hotel and some brief moments of mingle in the hotel lobby, it was back to New York City with us. I would have loved to stay longer and hang out, but that will have to wait for next time.

Also, between Necon and Readercon I got most of the Jack Haringa Must Die! authors to sign my copy, too!

Now to sleep for a hundred years...