KillerCon 4 Day 1 Recap
After getting settled in yesterday and the KillerCon 4 Welcome Party sponsored by Samhain Books, attendees got this morning off to a great start with the Official Welcome to Our Guests of Honor, which kicked things into gear.
F. Paul Wilson, one of our author guests of honor, had a reading followed by a Q&A, which mainly focused on his short story contribution to the Richard Matheson anthology, He is Legend. He answered some questions about writing YA vs adult, and he mentioned that he would like to write a spy thriller but that it wouldn't be a James Bond type of thing. Another of our guests of honor, William F. Nolan, also had an active and interesting reading and Q&A.
Next up, attendees crowded into the suite for the panel called "It's the End of the World as We Know It: Dystopian Fiction and the Appeal of the Apocalypse" with panelists Maurice Broaddus, Brian Keene, and William F. Nolan. The tweets were definitely abuzz as panelists mentioned some of the reasons why they think dystopian fiction continues to grow in popularity and has endured for so long, mainly because when readers pick up such volumes, they remind themselves that things could be much worse. Although dystopian fiction generally has a bleak tone and worldview, people still want a happy ending and something to hope for. Several examples of the most effective dystopian horror fiction were mentioned, including Swan Song from Robert McCammon, as well as the beginnings of the sub-genre and the impact of science fiction elements.
In the Hospitality Suite, guest of honor Mignon Fogarty hosted her "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Fiction Writers" workshop to a dedicated bunch of enthusiasts while Cynthia Vespia, Mercedes M. Yardley, and Shane McKenzie all did readings, all of which were excellent. Yardley read from her latest work, Beautiful Sorrows, put out from Shock Totem while McKenzie, no stranger to Extreme Horror, read a tale from his twisted repertoire.
One of the other interesting panels, "You're Doing it All Wrong! How we are All Fucking up the Genre and what we Can Do to Fix it," featured moderator John Skipp with panelists Brian Keene, Don D'Auria, F. Paul Wilson, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, and Kelley Armstrong discussing some interesting thoughts and getting into a lively discussion. Some of the reasons cited included the old guard isn't giving as much support to the writers coming up behind them, there has been a general soft-core approach to monsters in particular that has trivialized and romanticized them (although this has made them more popular with people who don't usually read horror), and that many self-published books fail to make the grade in terms of quality on many different levels and overwhelm an already saturated market in which writers must be more resourceful and hands-on than ever before.
Guest of honor and New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong hosted a reading and Q&A in which she read from both Bitten, her first Otherworld novel, and a recent short story she wrote for the Globe & Mail newspaper. She answered questions about her writing process, what's it's like to be a woman writing in a very female-dominated sub-genre with urban fantasy, the challenges of writing for younger readers with her YA books, and more.
John Skipp showcased some of his directorial and producing skills by showing two short films and a trailer for another film he is working on, which led nicely into the panel, "The Book Was So Much Better!" about film adaptations of books in which moderator L.L. Soares led one of the most hysterical and most memorable panels. Speakers discussed the big screen adaptations of their works. Jack Ketchum, Brian Keene, Edward Lee, William F. Nolan, John Skipp, James Roy Daley and FX artist Mike McCarty regaled the audience with tales of their experiences on-set, both good and bad. Although Lee joined in a bit late, he and Jack Ketchum related his experiences filming a scene for one film, as well as his connection to Lady Gaga. John Skipp mentioned The Nightmare on Elm Street 5 and his work on that project while Brian Keene spoke about how the ending of Ghoul changed in the adaptation much to his chagrin. William F. Nolan lamented the unfortunate wardrobe choices made for the adaptation of Logan's Run but hopes the new one now in production will make some improvements.
The Erotic Horror Fiction Contest also took place in the evening during which participants read their stories aloud and voted on the most titillating and frightening tale. Afterwards, an enthusiastic group gathered in the Hospitality Suite for the Shock Totem Press party, which was definitely the hip and happening place to be.
We hope folks are enjoying the convention thus far, and look forward to a big and exciting day tomorrow!