Another Necon, another weekend of not enough sleep. But it’s easy to run entirely on adrenaline at Necon. As someone said during Thursday night’s memorial service for our dear departed friend Rick Hautala — Necon isn’t a convention, it’s a family reunion. And it never felt more that way than this year, with so many long-absent regulars returning. I was particularly happy to see Douglas Winter again — though unfortunately it also meant he would be hosting That Darn Game Show again on Saturday night. But, after the usual fifteen minutes spent describing the rules to everyone, the game went very quickly. I came in 3rd by correctly recognizing the opening line to F. Paul Wilson‘s novel The Tomb. My valuable prize was an alien autopsy play set…with edible pieces!
Rio Youers had his head shaved for charity, raising more than $600 for the Jimmy Fund. The son of a bitch was bald but he still looked magnificent! My panel, Playing in the Other Guy’s Sandbox: Homage, Pastiche, Mythos, and Shared Worlds went well. Panelists C.J. Henderson, Darrell Schweitzer, John Goodrich, and James A. Moore were all game to discuss their experiences writing in universes they didn’t create themselves. The brand new kaffeklatsches on Friday morning, opposite the Necon Olympics mini-golf/bowling, were an enormous success, and judging by the feedback at Sunday’s town hall they’re here to stay. Other good news from the town hall: the Necon website is finally going to be redesigned and more frequent updates are promised!
And then there was the highlight of any Necon: the roast. This year, we roasted Linda Addison, and we got her good! Christopher Golden and I co-hosted. We caught Linda completely off-guard by starting to roast Jose Nieto, and then calling Linda up as our first roaster. Jose, a fine actor, pitched a fake hissy fit fifteen seconds into Linda’s act and stormed back into the audience. Linda was flabbergasted. Chris and I, nowhere near as good at acting as Jose, then pretended to be flummoxed. “Oh no, Chris! What do we do now?” I asked. “Well, we have to roast someone,” Chris replied, taking Linda’s arm. “Yes, we have to roast someone,” I said, taking her other arm. Together, we led her over to the chair, and the real roast began. That’s all I’m going to say about it, because what’s said at the roast stays there. I will, however, admit that some people who seem so nice are actually so beautifully nasty it would make your head spin! Linda stared daggers at Chris and me all through the roast. I bought her a drink afterward to keep her from killing me. No, she was a good sport, and she told me later she was very honored and touched.
But Necon is more about the people than the events, and I had a wonderful time hanging out with Jack Haringa, Brian Keene and Mary SanGiovanni, Dave Thomas, Bev Vincent, John Harvey, S.J. Bagley, Nate Kenyon, Duncan Eagleson, Kealan Patrick Burke and his awesome girlfriend Adrienne Wallace, John McIlveen, Chris Golden, Craig Shaw Gardner, Gordon Linzner, Hildy Silverman, Richard Dansky and Melinda Thielbar, and so many more. I was especially happy to be able to spend some one-on-one time with Bob Booth on Sunday. We only thought he was going to make it to Necon for one night, but miraculously he was able to be there for the entire weekend. His spirits were high and his wit was as sharp as ever.
So that was Necon 33. Oh, and now I can tell you: for Necon 34, I’m one of the Guests of Honor — along with Michael Koryta and Amber Benson! Joining us will be Toastmaster Jack Haringa and Artist Guest of Honor Erik Mohr (who did the cover for my book Chasing the Dragon, as well as so many other great ChiZine Publications covers). If you haven’t been to Necon for a while, or if you’ve never been before, you simply have to come to this one!