This Thursday, September 12, at 7 pm at Pandemonium Books and Games in Central Square , a bunch of folks are having an event to highlight PEN-ULTIMATE, a nifty anthology entirely written and edited by former students of mine. A bit of history: Some years back, Jeff Carver and I started running a science fiction writing workshop in the basement of said bookstore. Over the course of the next few years, we taught dozens of very talented folks to “hone their craft” and become better writers. And boy are they good writers today. A number of them have sold stories and novels professionally, and a lot of them have contributed to this new book. I r4ead the book. I liked the book. And I gave them a quote on the cover! And now I’m planning to join my former students at their big event.
Maybe I’ll see you there.
Bob passed away last night.
Bob Booth was many things. He organized conventions, he wrote short stories, he raised a great family, he was a good friend. But he was also one of the people who change the face of fantasy literature. Back more than thirty years ago he was one of a select few that brought about the World Fantasy Convention. Before this, science fiction and fantasy conventions were mostly for hard core fans, and, if they were covered at all in the media, that coverage would show pictures of people in funny costumes. But Bob, along with a small group of like-minded writers and editors, started a new, more serious kind of convention, one that was about the writers and the writing itself.
A few years later, Bob decided to start a second, smaller convention with the same goals. The convention became Necon, a summer retreat for writers and serous readers that has now lasted for nearly 35 years. Necon was about horror fiction, and over the years featured guests who were a who’s who of the horror field — people from Stephen King to Joe Hill and dozens of other writers in between, from best-sellers to folks who published in the small press. More importantly, a lot of these writers, big names and small, became regulars at the summer convention. Writing can be a lonely business. Bob had the unique gift of bringing writers together, not just to be friends, but over time, to join an extended family. Those of us who came year after year started to called this event Camp Necon, because it really felt like a wonderful summer camp. And Bob was Papa Necon, the founder of it all, who was always there for all of us with a smile and a story or two.
Necon will go on. Bob did too good a job making it indispensable over the years. But it will never be the same.