World Horror

The World Horror Convention in Atlanta has been in the rearview for almost a week now, though I feel like I’m the one who’s still catching up. I hadn’t originally planned to attend this year, but local writing compatriots Bear Weiter and Steve Scearce decided we should get our road trip on and head on down to Atlanta for the weekend, which made the trip not only a lot more feasible, but a lot more fun. On the way down, we discovered cologne dispensers in truck stop bathrooms, saw lots and lots and lots of billboards for sex shops, and briefly got lost in St. Louis.

This year’s World Horror was held in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, which is by far the most striking location for any of the World Horror’s that I have yet attended, with an interior straight out of an HR Giger painting. We got in Wednesday night, and left on Sunday morning. Since we were technically just crashing the party, we didn’t get to see much of the convention itself, though we met up with folks at the mass author signing on Friday night, and we had lots of drinks and food and good conversations in the bars and restaurants around the hotel.

I don’t want to start listing the people I got to spend time with, for fear of leaving anyone out, but it was fantastic to see everyone I saw, and this convention is notable for marking the first time that Jesse Bullington, Selena Chambers, J.T. Glover, Molly Tanzer, and myself were all in the same place at the same time, an event that was commemorated with a guerrilla reading on Saturday morning, staged in John’s hotel room.

Aside from the great people and great conversations, the highlight of the adventure for me was a trip out of the con proper to the Center for Puppetry Arts, where we were shown around by my friend Jordan. As a life-long aficionado of puppets and other simulacra, it was a blast to see a lot of puppetry history, and there were several Henson items on display, including a full-size Skeksis. If you’re ever in Atlanta, I cannot recommend a trip out to the Center highly enough.

On Sunday we spent the entire day driving back, during which time I was plagued by some kind of soda fountain curse, as I hit three gas stations before I found one that worked. Aside from that, a brief but intense rainstorm, and a particularly dramatic accident along the highway that shut the whole thing down (not the plane that crashed on the highway in Atlanta, which happened while we were at the convention, prompting text messages from people back home who had seen it on the news) our trip home was otherwise uneventful. This was my fourth World Horror Convention in the last five years, and it was a good time, as they all have been. I doubt I’ll make it out to next year’s, though I’m hoping to be at the HPLFF again this October, and in about a week I’ll be at ConQuest here in KC, where I’m actually going to be on panels and shit. More about that next week.

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