Monday, January 10, 2011
MythosCon was Intense ! !
I had such a great time at MythosCon, which was certainly the most amazing and exciting Lovecraftian event I have ever attended. The photos above shew me holding up a Japanese paperback edition of Cutting Edge -- editor Dennis Etchison brought copies to give to me and Bill Nolan. As far as I know, it is my only appearance in Japanese. What a fabulous gift! The other photo is me reading from my newest book,
Some Unknown Gulf of Night, to be published this year by Arcane Wisdom and illustrated by the magnificent Matthew Jaffe. I hate doing readings and I was very glad that Robert M. Price went ten minutes over in his reading just before mine, thus I only had to read for twenty minutes rather than half an hour, and five minutes of that was spent yakking about my new book.
I flew down with some of the most devoted Lovecraftians I have ever known, Greg Lowney and Maryanne K. Snyder, and their youngest son Victor. Greg is one of the fellows who helps to organize and run The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival, and Maryanne is one of the finest readers of weird fiction, a woman of intense wisdom regarding the genre, and my collaborator. She and I will write our first collaborative book this year, a collection of 100,000 words of weird fiction and poetry inspired by the works of Clark Ashton Smith. Centipede Press has already shewn a tentative interest in publishing it. We had a hotel some three miles from the convention, but Tempe has a wonderful free bus (the blue bus) that Greg and I rode one time. I lucked out in that Sunni and Jason Brock, who were also staying at the hotel, gave daily rides to and from the hotel to S. T. Joshi and myself.
It's always such a pleasure to get together with S. T., but it is most wonderful to see him in full Lovecraftian mode as he was at this convention. He knows (and remembers) so much, has such interesting ideas (with which one does not always agree), and he has worked so diligently. All of the panels he was on, concerning the revisions or the letters or Lovecraft scholarship, were of intense interest, hugely because of him. But he was joined on these panels with other giants such as Steve Mariconda and and Ken Fair, Jr. I've known Ken through correspondence for about 40 years but this was the first time we have met, and he is a pure Lovecraftian gentleman.
Some writers and editors I was hoping to hang out with did make it. I had some quality time with the charming Lois Gresh, and it was fascinating to talk with her at length in Hospitality and find out that we shared so many views on aspects of writing and other things. She is delightful.
It was a blast, as always, to see Ramsey Campbell, and his reading (of his story from Black Wings, was hugely entertaining. For some reason I missed Cody Goodfellow's reading, but the wild man and I were on a panel together about modern Mythos writers, and he was great. We invited Bob Price and Ann K. Schwader to participate on the panel as well. Ann's reading, of her poetry, was excellent, and I am intensely excited about a sonnet cycle concerning Lavinia Whateley that will be a portion of a forthcoming collection!
The best readings, for me, were by the incredibly handsome Matt Cardin and the intensely fascinating and talented Michael Cisco. Both men are superb Lovecraftian scholars as well, and their weird fiction is quite simply some of the finest out there. Matt has a recent collection out from Mythos Books. We both had stories in The Children of Cthulhu. But it was the Michael Cisco reading that blew my mind. It was a performance, really, and a chilling one. He read his extremely disturbing tale from Black Wings, narrating it as the people who told the tale. He did this with such powerful conviction that we were all utterly amazed when the reading ended.
I got to meet Walt DeBill and Richard Gavin, two of the gents (along with Bob Price and Jeffrey Thomas and Don Webb) with whom I wrote a Lovecraftian round-robin story that will be published in the next issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Among scholars was the always excellent Peter Cannon, who is also the author of some fine weird fiction, much of it humorous. I was extremely pleased to learn that Peter will be having a new collection of weird fiction published by Subterranean Press!
One of the real highlights was a slide show and talk given by Steve Mariconda concerning the area that inspired Lovecraft to write "The Colour Out of Space" -- such a thrilling presentation that really opened my eyes concerning the area called Arkham.
Donald Sidney-Fryer is one of our polished gems, an excellent fellow in every way, who speaks the music of poetry so beautifully. His presentation of the poetry of Spenser, Clark Ashton Smith, Nora May French, George Sterling -- and his own brilliant poetry (published recently by Hippocampus Press) -- was outstanding and hypnotic. We were graced with fine writers from all over, including the brilliant Canadian writer Simon Strantzas and the writer from Lovecraft's Providence, Jonathan Thomas. New York poet Fred Phillips gave a delightful reading from his recently published Hippocampus poetry collection, and the amazing William F. Nolan is still writing as he approaches age 83 -- he is working on his first Arkham House collection!
Two of my intense joys at MythosCon was meeting Matthew Jaffe and Tom Lynch. Matthew is such a great artist. The original painting of his cover for Laird Barron's Occultation was on display in art room, and then he brought an unfinished piece that was just as remarkable. His talent is immense and his style simply divine. When Larry Roberts asked me about who I wanted to illustrate my Arcane Wisdom book, I immediately thought of Matthew, and he has agreed! I'm in heaven. Tom Lynch now runs Miskatonic River Press. Last year he asked if I would be interested in writing him a collection of weird fiction set in Lovecraft Country, and I said that I would. That will be the first book I complete this year, a wee thing of around 50,000 words. And, yes!, it will be illustrated by Santiago Caruso!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tom is a delightful fellow and absolutely devoted to bringing out new books of good Mythos fiction. We talked S. T. Joshi into writing an Introduction for this new book, which I hope is but the first of many I write for Tom.
Okay, I need to get some more sleep. Utterly exhausted. Many many thanks, Adam and Mark, for the finest convention I have ever been to. I have touched on just a part of it here. It was four fantastic days, and I have come home with more energy than ever before for the writing of my books of Lovecraftian weird fiction. You make me so proud to be a modern Mythos writer. I wish you the best of luck with continuing this amazing convention. If you are able to do it again, I think it may be remarkable how the attendance will have grown. I have every intention of talking about it continually on my YouTube channel, and will soon send you some $$$ for pre-registration for next year! Ia! Ia!