Programming and Events!
Check here for updates on the core convention programming and all the related events happening in Providence the week of the convention.
Plenty more details to come, but for now below are the 49 panels planned for NecronomiCon Providence 2017, divided into four overlapping, general themes. Schedules will be released by June, but may be subject to some change until closer to the convention.
This list is the culmination of a lot of hard work and some painful editing decisions – but we hope you all are as excited about the list as we are.
MODERN WEIRD FICTION (13 panels)
Guests of Honor Panel
Please join us as we introduce and celebrate the guests of honor for the NecronomiCon Providence 2017, followed by a discussion with the audience.
Teatro Grotesco: The Bleak Universe of Thomas Ligotti
Thomas Ligotti embraces the themes and moods of Lovecraft, Schulz, Cioran and others, and emerged from the shadow of these literary heirs to become one of the most powerful voices in Weird fiction. In this panel we discuss the bleak and pessimistic universe his work evokes, as well as works crafted by writers who count him among their influences.
The Weird, Weird West
If there’s one deeply and truly American literary tradition, it’s certainly the Western and, in this discussion, we seek to examine both the history of the Weird Western and its recent and surprising Renaissance.
Weird International: Asian, Latino, Black, and Indigenous Voices
Weird Fiction is a genre that readily crosses all national and cultural borders and this discussion will attempt to explore the voices in Weird Fiction that come from beyond the fields we know. Please join us as we discuss the important work and influence coming from all regions of the globe.
Dark Crimes; The Weird in Noir Fiction – The Bleak Cosmic Horror of Man as written by Himes, Thompson, and Chandler
Both Weird Fiction and Crime Fiction function around the idea that we cannot trust what we once thought infallible- our very sense of self and place in the world. What philosophies drive these seemingly different strains of literature together and what unites both in their bleak view of the cosmos mankind inhabits?
Voices in Weird Poetry
Weird poetry has been gaining ground over the past few years and continues to gather interest among scholars, writers, and readers. Who are some of these emerging voices? How might the emergence of this new energy in the medium stir interest in past works, and create a platform to expand interest in poetic works in the future?
The Wereweird: Lycanthropy, Animism, and Animal -Transformation in Weird Fiction
Throughout the history of Weird Fiction, the idea of transformation has held sway- with roots from the werewolf legends of the French countryside to the Wendigo myths of the Pacific Northwest, the idea of the human becoming something less (or more) than human has held our collective imaginations. Here, we will discuss the idea of transformation in folklore and our continued fascination with it.
Young Adults/Kids for Cthulhu
It sounds like a silly idea: Lovecraftian books for kids? After all, much of the philosophy behind Lovecraft and his works is a stark nihilism that doesn’t seem well suited for children. Still, there have been several popular books released in previous years like C is for Cthulhu that manage to capture the Lovecraftian universe for younger minds. The panel looks at these books and discusses if they manage to appeal both to children and their adults.
Since the days of William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist, religious horror has been a popular subject in the genre. But, how effective can it be if the reader is not a member of that religion? This lively discussion will cover this topic and will attempt to answer the question, “Can an atheist be scared of the Devil?”
Small Press in the Wild
Since the days of Arkham House, Small Press has been not only a major promoter of weird fiction but, often, it’s savoir as well. Today we are fortunate in having such great presses as Hippocampus Press, Centipede Press, PS Publishing, Dark Regions Press, Lovecraft eZine, Word Horde, and more who are keeping the genre alive as more mainstream publishers abandon it for mainstream best-sellers. Learn about the history of Small Press, where it is now, and where it is going at this panel which includes many of the people who run these presses themselves!
Future of Weird Fiction
Join our panel of experts as they discuss the most vital Weird Fiction of today and the direction they see it moving towards in the future.
They are one of the most prolific parts of the horror genre: anthologies. But, how does one go about creating one? What are the challenges and difficulties in assembling material and giving an anthology its own unique character? Join award winning editor Ellen Datlow and others as they discuss how they create an anthology.
Writing Non-Stale Lovecraftian Tales
Cthulhu is a plush toy, a bobble-head, slippers and action figures. How can today’s writers escape this ‘normalization’ of a creature whose very existence is supposed to be mind-shattering? Is it even possible to write a new Mythos story that would have the same impact today that “The Call of Cthulhu” had back in 1926, without reverting to simple pastiche? Our panelists think so and have done it! Find out how in this discussion of why the Cthulhu Mythos is just as frightening today as it ever was.
HISTORIC WEIRD FICTION (14 panels)
William Hope Hodgson: An Appreciation
Now considered to be one of the founding fathers of both science fiction and weird literature, Hodgson died relatively unknown during the close of WWI. His work would go on to be hailed by such writers as Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Lovecraft, Ellery Queen, and others. During his life, Hodgson sailed around the world seven times, rescued a crewmate from shark infested waters, chained Houdini, and was one of the first to photograph storms at sea. Today, he is widely known as the author of four groundbreaking novels and often anthologized short stories. Learn more about this fascinating man, his life and his work at this panel featuring some of the foremost Hodgsonian experts.
The Bleak Oblique: Aickman’s Influence on Contemporary Horror
Since his death in 1981, the influence of Robert Aickman’s groundbreaking combination of ghostly terror and oblique strangeness has only grown stronger and his discomforting shadow can found influencing the work of contemporary writers from Simon Strantzas to Peter Straub. Join us as we seek to understand just why his strange stories remain so influential and we examine the contemporary work created in his shadow.
Arthur Machen: Between Myth and Modernity
Machen was one of the first writers to blend the weirdness of European myth and folklore with the burgeoning modern world and its new concerns. Our panelists will discuss Machen’s life and work and try to come to terms with how the seemingly exclusive influences on his work came together to create something truly remarkable, new, and deeply influential.
Shirley Jackson as Weird Fiction
Having written what’s generally considered the greatest haunted house novel of all time, The Haunting of Hill House, and one of the most lauded stories of psychological horror, “The Lottery,” Jackson remains a towering figure in horror literature. Join us as we examine her place in the canon of Weird Fiction and discuss how important she was in both the 20th century and in today’s modern world.
Machinations and Mesmerism: How the Middle European Fantasists/Romanticists informed Modern Horror
Modern weird fiction is rooted in countless literary genres. The fantastical works of many Middle-European authors (Goethe, Meyrink, Hoffmann, Kubin, Schulz, Tieck, etc.), both notable and obscure, are often overlooked as a strong source of influence to both general horror and modern Weird fiction. Join us for a discussion that will touch upon the worth of these narratives as sources, the themes that share a common thread with the modern weird, authors who may not be thought of immediately when one thinks of current dark literature, and how one might look upon the literary genre critically as forerunners to the present dark literary landscape.
The Fairy Folk: Faerie in the Weird Tradition (Blackwood, Dunsany, Campbell, etc.)
Weird Fiction, from its beginning, has been influenced and shaped by folklore and myth and, in particular, the fairy tale. Come join our panel of experts as they discuss the influence of the fairy tale on Weird Fiction from its inception to the modern age.
Southern Gothic Horror: Yesterday and Today
From Faulkner and McCarthy to today’s luminaries like Stephen Graham Jones and Kristi Demeester, the Southern Gothic has cast a long shadow over Horror and Weird fiction. Come and explore the influence and persistence of the Southern Gothic on Weird and Horror fiction.
Poe and the New England Gothic
What is the “New England Gothic”? Is it a tone, a theme, or a worldview? What did it mean and why is it so important in understanding the work of Poe, and the many he influenced? This panel seeks to find answers to these questions and many more!
RH Barlow: HPL and Beyond
He was one of Lovecraft’s closest friends but what do you really know about Robert H. Barlow? Learn more about this enigmatic person who is also the subject of a recent novel. His legacy in preserving Lovecraft’s work may be one of the most important of all!
The Edge of Space: Where SF and Cosmic Horror Meet
Much of the sense of terror in cosmic horror comes from the concept of a mechanistic, uncaring universe. Not surprisingly, this is something that has been shared by many writers who would be considered more Science Fiction than Horror. Join us as we explore such writers as Olaf Stapledon, William Hope Hodgson, and Nnedi Okorafor as we discover that the line between Science Fiction and Horror is often blurred or disappears completely!
Clark Ashton Smith
2018 will be Clark Ashton Smith’s 125th birthday. In anticipation, we examine the life and work of this dreamer from California with some of the world’s foremost CAS scholars. Considered to be one of Weird Tales’ “Three Musketeers” along with Lovecraft and Howard, Smith continues to influence new writers today.
Robert E. Howard panel
The Gent from Bear Creek is more popular than ever before! Come and hear some of the foremost experts in Howard scholarship talk about his life and career.
Ambrose Bierce: A Literary Legacy
“Bitter” Bierce is one of America’s foremost writers. He was a man with a devastating sense of humor and a pen to match who disappeared into the wilds of Mexico in 1913. Bierce wrote many classics of weird literature such as “The Damned Thing” and “An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge” and many others. Our panelists discuss this legendary writer and his continuing influence today.
The Dreaded Surreal: Surreal Landscapes in Weird Fiction
External landscapes have been something of a dark playground for weird fiction writers and artists throughout the history of the genre. Many bizarre and unsettling places have served as the settings for countless memorable works. Which of these fictional places have been most memorable in the minds of artists and writers working in horror, weird fiction, and science fiction today? What strange, terrifying places may yet be created? And how might they steer the genre in terms of narrative structure and content?
WEIRD HOWARD (11 panels)
Everyone knows Cthulhu but many don’t know the man behind the myth. The facts in the matter of H.P. Lovecraft are explored detailing his complicated life and contribution to literature.
Miskatonic University and the Mythos
Miskatonic University looms large in the mythos of H.P. Lovecraft. Explore his inspirations for this hallowed institution of eldritch learning, its place in the Mythos, and continuing popularity as shown in anthologies, clothing, and ephemera.
Lovecraft Criticism: What’s Left?
One might ask, “What is there left to talk about regarding Lovecraft?” After all, his life has been explored in several biographies (such as S.T. Joshi’s monumental I Am Providence) and his work has been the subject of serious academic and scholarly attention for close to forty years. So, is there anything left to say? Find out at this illuminating panel as several experts debate if the Lovecraft vein has been over-mined.
The Mythos: Lovecraft’s Greatest Creation or Suffocating Trope?
For many, the Cthulhu Mythos is their first exposure to Lovecraft and his greatest literary creation. But, today, is it still effective or has it become stale and cliche after being used by so many writers? Is Cthulhu still frightening or about as scary as a plush toy?
Lovecraft and Women Writer Correspondents
Lovecraft was one of the greatest letter writers even known with upwards of 100,000 letters written in his lifetime. Although much attention has been given to his letters with other well-known writers like Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith, he had extensive correspondence with many women as well! How did Lovecraft relate to these women and, more importantly, what did they think of him? Join us and find out!
The Lovecraft Circle
Like everyone, Lovecraft had his own circle of friends and colleagues. Many of these were, or would become, celebrated writers themselves but what about others like Robert Barlow, Rheinhart Kleiner, Samuel Loveman, and many others? The measure of a man is said to be determined by those whom he calls friends. Come and meet some of Lovecraft’s friends and learn their stories.
At first, the concept seems to be a contradiction. Lovecraft was robustly asexual with barely any interest in the subject in his writing or real-life. And yet, erotic Lovecraftian stories, films, and anime have been extremely popular. Is it possible to combine the two and create an entirely new offspring? Our panelists think so and will not only defend their conclusions but offer their recommendations.
They are the Rodney Dangerfields of Lovecraft’s work: the dreaded revisions! Consisting of stories edited and often completely rewritten by Lovecraft, they tend to be overlooked by many readers and scholars. Yet, Lovecraft’s work on his client’s stories elevated many of them from mere hackwork to excellent examples not only of his own prose and ideas but his philosophy as well. Hear why our panelists say that these revisions should not be passed over as ‘minor’ works.
Some Notes on a Non-Entity (Gafford/Eckhardt)
For the first time, a biography of Lovecraft has been issued in graphic novel form! Published by PS Publishing, the graphic novel was written by Sam Gafford and drawn by Jason Eckhardt, both names well-known in the Lovecraft field. In this exclusive panel, Gafford and Eckhardt talk about how they created the biography, the difficulties involved, and the rewards. Eckhardt will be showing selections of the original art used in the book.
Lovecraft in Context
Lovecraft in context, more than just a quick annotation, some of Lovecraft’s most obscure references are links to other stories, secret crossovers, and in-jokes to the well-read. Find out what you are missing out by not delving into the details of that off-handed remark.
Strange Far Places
Many of the locations in Lovecraft’s work actually existed in our world. Sadly, some have since disappeared – but many, particularly in Providence, still remain. Our panelists describe their favorite Lovecraftian places in the real world as well as comment on which locations exceeded their expectations or were disappointing.
THE GREATER WEIRD (11 panels)
Eldritch Arthouse: Weird Fiction Influences in Arthouse Cinema
Jodorowsky, Lynch, Gilliam, Maddin, Tarkovsky… Arthouse cinema directors have long been praised for their use of strange and abstract elements. How much of these narrative and visuals elements are rooted in literary works, particularly in Weird fiction? What parallels may be drawn between notable works of film and particular works of the Weird?
Women Make Horror: The Ladies Who Direct Chilling Tales
Some of the most powerful directors, producers, and writers emerging in the indie film world are women. Many of those women make their mark working within the horror genre. Join us for a lively discussion between media creators who know the ins-and outs of the film industry.
Terror Trends and the Future of Weird Film
Tired tropes and quick tricks have had their time onscreen. Filmmakers are beginning to delve into new territory in horror and science fiction film, with an increasing focus on literary works as a platform for innovative narratives. What opportunities might the independent film arena create for both weird and general horror narratives? Will there be greater opportunities for diverse voices as the production process becomes more accessible? Will there be greater literary influences bleeding through onto the screen? Topics will include trends that should be kept and those that should be left behind, recent innovations, and the future trajectory of both genres.
Short Film Panel
How does the process of creating a short horror film differ from a feature length project? What are the ins-and-outs of creating a short narrative piece? What festivals actively show films of this nature? Join us for a lively discussion that extends from the ins-and-outs of short horror film production to the current films, directors, producers, and writers making waves in the independent horror scene today.
Contemporary Weird Art Panel
Our panel of contemporary artists will be discussion trends in Weird Art, their experiences as creators, and the relationship between their work and Weird Fiction.
”Established Artist” Panel
Join us as our artist guest of honor, John Jude Palencar, discusses the ins, outs, and far outs of creating Weird Art in a professional publishing capacity with our panel.
Podcasting for Games 101
They’re everywhere. Podcasts have exploded recently and everyone seems to have one. What can you do to not only create a unique gaming podcast but make it successful? The team behind Legends of Tabletop podcast are here to help! Get advice from one of the best gaming podcasts around and learn how to make your podcast stand out.
Games and Technology
As horror / sci fi and Lovecraftian gaming has grown, so has technology. No longer are games confined to a tabletop; they can be played on a multitude of platforms. Learn what is best in life and use your newfound technology to crush your enemies and see them driven before you.
Campaigns in Call of Cthulhu
The Call of Cthulhu tabletop RPG is famed for having some of the best campaigns written for any roleplaying game, with Masks of Nyarlathotep and Beyond the Mountains of Madness being two highly regarded campaigns. But how do campaigns get written and devised? This panel discussed the development process and what makes campaigns different to one-shot games of Call of Cthulhu.
Call of Cthulhu’s Favorite Scenarios
Join a host of respected Call of Cthulhu authors to hear about their favorite scenarios and what makes them tick. What makes certain scenarios special and how do the authors go about preparing to run a scenario.? Each author will recommend one of their favorite Call of Cthulhu scenarios, so expect an engaging discussion!
Pulp Vs. Pure Cthulhu
Pulp Cthulhu is a new “setting” for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, enabling players to take on larger than life heroes to tackle the dark designs of the Cthulhu Mythos. But what is “pulp” and how does it contrast to “pure” Call of Cthulhu? Join a panel of experienced game designers to discuss this topic and learn about how pulp scenarios are crafted.
PRESENTATIONS (with more to come…)
A VIRTUAL WALKING TOUR–Join noted Lovecraftian geographer Donovan Loucks for a virtual walking tour of Lovecraft’s Providence. Through photos, Donovan will guide you through the many sites and places important to Lovecraft and immortalized in his fiction. An added bonus is the ability to include many sites that no longer exist in the city!
DRIVE-IN LOVECRAFT–Some of the most fascinating pieces of HPL memorabilia are posters related to movies based on Lovecraft’s fiction and themes. Alan Tromp, a lifelong Cthulhu fan, shares bizarre Mythos art from his collection of film art from the 1950s – 80s, encompassing the US, England, Italy, and Thailand. Unusual features such as Hunchback of the Morgue and Legendary Curse of Lemora are covered, as well as films inspired by HPL’s tropes, literary mentors, and Weird Tales colleagues. See trailers for Dunwich Horror, Caltiki the Immortal Monster, Haunted Palace, and the forgotten 70s Yog-Sothoth (maybe) flick! Trivia contests and audience participation balance the chills with thrills. Be there, or BEWARE.
ASK LOVECRAFT–Ever wanted to have a conversation with Lovecraft? Noted actor Leeman Kessler gives you that chance! Taking on the persona of Lovecraft, Leeman will answer your questions and provide a view of Lovecraft’s life from his own perspective.