Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


Anthocon 2012

November 14, 2012 by Richard Wright in Journal, Life

One of these men, photographed by the too awesome and lovely Susan Scofield, may be a furtive serial killer…

Anthocon itself runs from Friday through Sunday, but having arrived with Danny Evarts on Thursday and stayed until Monday (I’m typing this bit of blog while I wait for my 9pm flight at Logan International airport in Boston – it’s 19:47 on the clock, Monday evening), I’ve been on convention hours for about five days.

Convention hours aren’t like normal hours at all. They speed by faster, but at the same time contain more things. Conventions, much like the TARDIS, are bigger on the inside than they appear from without. They exist in a counter-continuum, where they consume you entirely while they are happening, but seem weirdly unreal as soon as you step outside the bubble. I keep asking myself “did that all just happen?

Which is, it turns out, the most useful thing about Facebook. So many of the people there have posted about it, or shared photographs, that there can be no residual doubt. Anthocon 2012 happened.

And it was pretty cool.

A lot of convention reports inevitably turn into big lists of names. Writers and artists don’t get to hang out together en masse very often. That’s one of the reasons that conventions exist (only one though – smart creatives have their business faces on at least some of the time during these things), and in an era where everybody can google themselves, nobody wants to make anybody feel bad by leaving them out.

(I’m typing this next bit at Heathrow airport at 10:07 Tuesday morning, local time).

That’s a bit pointless for everybody else though. If you were there, and we talked, please assume I enjoyed doing so. I really did. I had a great weekend, and everybody there seemed to be genuinely terrific. Between you all, you have recharged my batteries quite significantly. It was a great con.

One notable personal highlight was the first meeting of the Hiram Seven, in the same place at the same time. Although all of us have met some of us, none of us had met all of us at once*. The image up top shows Rob, Malcolm, Scott, Kevin, Tim, Me, and Danny at the front – they’re a tremendous group of people, and I’m lucky to have fallen in with them.

There was no sign of Jake Burrows, alas. Only Scott knows what has happened to him – and in an upcoming Shroud Magazine article, he will share the secret with the world (one of these men is a serial killer…)

I also sat on a couple of panels – my first time doing these. One was a discussion about the whole process of putting the Hiram series together, moderated by Rob (photo below, courtesy of Sara Davies). The second, moderated by Scott, was about using personal tragedy as a fuel for writing. Tragedy was almost the order of the day, as Scott and fellow panellist Andrew Wolter rushed to get there on time (9am on a Sunday morning, the night after the official con party, is an evil time to schedule anything). They made it, just as I was wondering whether Marianne, Will and I should start bluffing it alone…

People turned up both times, which was nice, and nothing I remember saying seems to have been an embarrassment.

Other highlights included meeting and listening to Gary A. Braunbeck, one of the special guests. Alas, he’s a writer I stand in awe of, and I’m not entirely convinced I didn’t squee at one point. His keynote speech was inspiring, and can best be summed up by Stephen Crane’s poem, which he read during it:

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
“It is futile,” I said,
“You can never—”

“You lie,” he cried,
And ran on.

There are too many more things to detail them all, but I also enjoyed watching Canadians do things to alcohol that makes it afraid, chatting in the dealers room with the Post Mortem press team and others, meeting the Evil Jester and the Savage Mouse, being bullied into buying Kelli Owen’s book by Tad the dinosaur (photo courtesy of Michele Mixell), eating at the Portsmouth Brewery, hanging out, watching Nicholas Conley’s stunned reaction to selling out his first book The Cage Legacy, basking in the epic splendour of the Erbs, contemplating the mystery of the used condom in the lobby…

Oh, and on Sunday night, I took Kelli and Susan to my bed. Admittedly, I then slept on a chair, but in future I will leave that detail out. It will be an Awesome Con Story.

(Last bit below. It’s 19:36 on Wednsday).

And now I’m home, fighting off the inevitable post-con slump (made somewhat worse by a complete failure on the part of my body clock to understand that it’s back in India now). Dayjobbery was supposed to happen today, but I had to cancel it. Sorry, dayjobbery. Won’t happen again.

In summary then, Anthocon was a good time. I don’t have a lot of Con experience, but this is easily the best put together of those I’ve attended – thanks to Johnny, Mark, Tim, and Danny for the attention to detail, and all the little touches that elevated it beyond the norm. If you’re an artist or dealer (not just of horror – the convention is reaching out to all forms of speculative fiction), give it a whirl next year. You won’t regret it.

And everybody I met – thanks for your graciousness. I’ve come home with more friends than I had before. That just can’t be a bad thing. Now, I need to find a way for you to all move next door, so that it doesn’t end up being a year or more before I see you all again.

Sunday’s Dead Dog Dinner, courtesy of Danny Evarts.

Now then, real life. Two months to get in shape for the Mumbai marathon. Dayjobbery. Deadlines. Best get to it.

Currently reading: Bleeding The Vein by T.G. Arsenault


*May be the finest sentence ever penned. Really.

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