Weird Fiction: The Passing of the Generational Torch

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Last year, in the wake of the NecronomiCon Providence convention, I posted a video of S. T. Joshi’s keynote address in which he focused on the long and winding history of H. P. Lovecraft’s literary reputation. These many months later, a video of much higher quality, with multiple camera angles and nice production values, has just been published, and it shows not just S. T.’s speech but the convention’s entire opening ceremony:

In light of this, it seems an appropriate time to publish Teeming Brain columnist Jason V. Brock’s brief reflection on the convention and its significance. He wrote the following words several months ago, but I failed to publish them during the blog’s winter break. Especially since there’s another NecronomiCon Providence in the works for August 2015, I think Jason’s comments about the way last August’s convention represented a generational passing of the torch for the weird fiction community are hardly out of date. In fact, they grow more timely with every passing day. – MC

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There are, and always have been, acolytes of various subdomains of interest, and the current period is no exception. Indeed, one major link in this chain has been the development of H. P. Lovecraft as a cult figure of some renown. To that end, I’d like to offer insight into one landmark event in particular: NecronomiCon Providence I, the Lovecraft convention that took place last summer in in Providence, Rhode Island.

It is hard to encapsulate such a sprawling, enormous event as this convention. Originally envisioned as an homage to Lovecraft and weird fiction, it bloomed into something not only of the genre, but something transcending it. The gathering had been building momentum for nearly two years, and it finally came to fruition in late August, 2013, in large part due to the donors of the online Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, as well as through the generous time and support of sponsors and volunteers and the hard work of the organizing committee, headed by Niels Hobbs. The size and range of this gathering of writers, artists, filmmakers, patrons, fans, and scholars was daunting, but it (mostly) came off without a hitch.

This was the inaugural event in what will hopefully be a new series of these conventions, all to be located in Providence, the former domicile of Lovecraft and the current residence of several Lovecraft-inspired creators, among them writers Jonathan Thomas and Sam Gafford, as well as author Caitlín Rebekah Kiernan (The Drowning Girl). These are planned to convene every other year: the next one is scheduled for 2015.

While paying respect to the core and origin of this type of fiction, and also to the works it has inspired, this con clearly showed the passing of the torch from the Third Generation to the Fourth (a trend that I discussed in a previous installment of this column). It was all quite fascinating to witness, and I was pleased to have a role in it, however modest.

As I recall the staggeringly rich and varied interactions and activities that unfolded last August, I realize there is really nothing more to say, except that this was likely the single greatest congregation of Lovecraft/weird fiction professionals in history, and that it took place in a fantastic, beautiful setting. The panel discussions were informative and interesting, the new research presented was stimulating, the socializing was epic, and everyone was excited, happy, and enthusiastic. If you missed it, be aware that this was one for the record books.

My advice: Don’t miss the next one!

About Jason V Brock

Jason V Brock is an award-winning writer, editor, filmmaker, composer, and artist. He is the author of the weird fiction collection SIMULACRUM AND OTHER POSSIBLE REALITIES, and he was Art Director/Managing Editor for DARK DISCOVERIES magazine for more than four years. He also runs the biannual pro digest [NAMEL3SS]. As a filmmaker, his work includes the documentaries CHARLES BEAUMONT: THE SHORT LIFE OF TWILIGHT ZONE’S MAGIC MAN, THE ACKERMONSTER CHRONICLES!, and IMAGE, REFLECTION, SHADOW: ARTISTS OF THE FANTASTIC.

Posted on April 21, 2014, in Monstrous Singularities and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I will, alas, be missing the next one, as conventions have become difficult for me and WHC next month is to be my last. But I can HIGHLY RECOMMEND that y’all start saving up for that trip to Providence next Summer. There is simply nothing like gathering with Lovecraftians in HPL’s hometown. Great Yuggoth, it was fun. You get to meet so many other writers, editors, publishers, artists. You may be able to have a wee picnic at St. John’s Churchyard. If ye have the energy, you can ever try keeping up with S. T. Joshi on one of his walking tours (it’s more like a jogging tour, I’m told…) Fun!!

    • Your presence will be sorely missed at many a convention to come, Wilum! I hope next month’s WHC — where, I’m sad to say, I will not be present — proves to be a great finale for you.

      I would love to do a walking tour with S. T. Some years back I did an HPL walking tour in Providence on my own and was predictably awash in pleasure for the entire duration.

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