Necronomicon 2010: A Sunday Convention Report
Necronomicon 2010 was excellent. Well…what I saw of it anyway. Sadly I was only able to make it on Sunday, which is usually not the best day to get the full convention experience. I can still say with sincerity that it was worth the two hour drive.
Getting there early meant that not too much was going on, the dealers’ room wasn’t open yet, so I checked out the art show. I was stunned by the variety. Steampunk hats, oil paintings, jewelry, amigurumi and pottery. The Stone Hill Science Fiction Association has been running this convention for a long time, and that’s reflected in the quality of the art they attract.
After that, I wandered in to catch the screening of The Martian Child, a film starring John Cussak based on David Gerrold’s semi-autobiographical book of the same name. Gerrold himself was there for a Q&A session after the movie. He talked about the differences between his experiences with his adopted son and the book that he wrote about it, versus the movie where the weirdness and sweetness of family life was dialed up to eleven.
“The true drama is what happens in space between two people,” he said, quoting Samuel Delaney. About children, Gerrold says, “You listen more than you talk. It’s either that or four hundred degrees for forty minutes.”
Gerrold was also present at the Starship Smash panel, in which panelists chose famous science fiction vessels to pit against one another in the classic “if they fought, who would win” geek debate. Timothy Zahn, author of many Star Wars Expanded Universe books, admitted to having a Lucasfilm implant that makes him favor the Millennium Falcon and the Death Star in debates like these. All I’ll say is that the fact that anyone even let Voyager into this argument means the entire thing is moot, even if Voyager got knocked out in the first round.
The dealer’s room was full of the usual fare: games, dice, t-shirts. I spoke with some of the dealers about how they were effected by the recession. When people have less discretionary income, what happens at conventions like these? Some dealers were hit harder than others. Low-ticket items still sell well, like the five-for-a-dollar dice. One dealer told me that his Dungeons & Dragons books were flying off the shelves. “It’s still cheaper than a night at the movies.”
I was incredibly sad to have missed the weekend’s Live Action Role-Play events. There were two different zombie games! I also missed out on the masquerade, but even on Sunday morning there were some fantastic costumes.
I have a couple of minor constructive criticisms for the con. The printed program that was available there was missing huge chunks of information. It only had a few of the scheduled events listed, and some of the panels I’d been hoping to catch weren’t in there at all. I caught the screening of The Martian Child by luck.
The rooms were also not very well labeled. It would have been helpful to have a list of scheduled activities for each room posted outside the door. In addition, one of the panel rooms could be found by going down a few turns of hallway. When you reached that room, there was a sign on it that said “USE OTHER DOOR.” The other door turned out to be an unmarked one that could be reached without going through the hall. This could be fixed by either a sign that says “USE THIS ENTRANCE” or rearranging the room so that the table was opposite the marked entrance rather than right in front of it.
These are minor gripes, but because I had no idea it was happening, I only caught the tail end of a panel about LARP costuming. I did get to catch a good panel called “Making the Most of your Roleplaying Character,” where tabletop roleplaying experts talked about the dos and don’ts of gaming.
The final panel I saw was unfortunately scheduled against the ice cream social, and was sparsely attended as a result. Members of the band “For Love or Money” talked about what people do with music once they’re past school age, the idea being that you don’t need to make your whole living from music for it to be a major part of your life.
On the whole, I had a great time at Necronomicon. The Stone Hill SF Association puts on a great show and for the most part really minds the details. There was a huge range of programing, the art show was phenomenal, and the problems I noticed were minor. I’ll definitely be returning next year for the full experience.