Christopher Paolini is this year’s guest of honor at Stone Hill’s Necronomicon convention.
TAMPA – The Stone Hill Science Fiction Association will host Necronomicon 2013 – Florida’s science fiction, fantasy and horror convention – Friday through Sunday, Oct. 18-20, at the Embassy Suites USF, 3705 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa.
This year’s guest of honor will be Christopher Paolini, author of "Eragon" and the other novels in the Inheritance Cycle.
The convention will feature informative panels and a full schedule of events and programs including the annual Cthulhu Memorial Eye Scream Social, the Ygor Party, ongoing video and anime rooms, a masquerade, costume contest, trivia contests and an art show.
Attendees also will enjoy plenty of workshops and demonstrations as well as filking. For those unfamiliar with this convention tradition, filk songs, as explained on Stone Hill’s Necronomicon website, “are parodies of real songs, and originals, too, all with a ‘fanish’ bent.” Filk songs may be about a favorite book, film, television show, game, comic book or other science fiction or fantasy content. Filkers can participate in song sessions throughout the weekend.
Convention organizers have selected dozens of panel topics for Necronomicon 2013 covering subjects as diverse as “Firefly,” how to write a mystery, costuming, social media and the author, game design, how to build a flying saucer and self-publishing.
For space buffs, Jeff Mitchell will host a presentation on what’s new in astronomy and Ed Wysocki will host a panel discussion on exoplanets.
Guest of honor
Born in Southern California, Christopher Paolini was raised in Montana. According to his website, the tall, jagged Beartooth Mountains that tower on one side of Paradise Valley provided Paolini with creative inspiration: Those mountains stirred his imagination and gave rise to the fantastic scenery depicted in his debut novel, “Eragon.”
“Eragon,” initially self-published in 2001, was novel in Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle, a young adult tetralogy of epic fantasy novels. He was only 15 when he wrote the first draft of the book. Paolini was homeschooled by his parents. In his spare time, he wrote short stories and poems, made frequent trips to the library, and read widely.
After Paolini’s family published “Eragon,” he traveled to promote it, visiting high schools and doing book signings. Author Carl Hiaasen is credited with discovering the book: The story goes, Hiaasen found his stepson reading “Eragon” one day. He was so impressed with it, he brought it to the attention of his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf. The publisher bought the rights and reprinted it 2003.
The book suddenly found a worldwide audience.
Paolini followed “Eragon” with the second novel in the cycle, “Eldest,” published in 2005. “Brisingr” followed in 2008. “Inheritance,” published in 2011, is the fourth and final book in the cycle.
In honor of the 10th anniversary of “Eragon,” Knopf Books for Young Readers will publish a special edition of the runaway bestseller with a blue faux leather cover, six pieces of exclusive artwork from award-winning artists and the author and a new essay from Paolini about how art has inspired his work. The new edition will be released Oct. 22.
On her Facebook page, Ann Morris provided Paolini’s schedule during the three-day event. One of the convention organizers, Morris is in charge of panel scheduling, guest relations and the masquerade.
Paolini’s schedule is as follows:
• Friday, 1 p.m. – Salon A: Writing Basics – Creating Fantasy Worlds • Friday, 4 p.m. – Salon C: Autograph Session • Friday, 7 p.m. – Salon A: Guest of Honor Speech • Saturday, 1 p.m. – Salon A: Guest of Honor Q & A • Saturday, 5 p.m. – Salon C: Autograph Session • Sunday, 10 a.m. – Salon B: Wait Wait Don't Tell Me • Sunday, 11 a.m. – Salon C: Dress for Success: What Your Fantasy Characters Wear
The schedule is subject to change.
In addition to Paolini, several other authors will be in attendance, taking part in various panels. Writers currently listed on the Necronomicon website include Richard Lee Byers, Tampa Bay area resident and author of more than 30 fantasy and horror novels, including a number set in the Forgotten Realms universe; Rick Wilber, Tampa Bay area resident and author of more than 35 short stories in magazines such as "Aboriginal SF," "Analog," "Asimov's Science Fiction" and "Fantasy & Science Fiction"; Timothy Zahn, author of more than 40 science fiction novels including works in the Dragonback series and the bestselling Star Wars novel "Heir to the Empire"; Eric Beebe, author, editor and founder of Post Mortem Press; and Johanna M. Bolton, author of several science fiction novels as well as textbooks for Barron's Education Series and features for newspapers
Necronomicon's annual art show features works in many genres such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, astronomical, comedy, Celtic and anime. Attendees will find work in a variety of media, such as jewelry, sculpture, wall hangings, armor, wood carvings, etched glass and pottery.
The convention’s longtime art show director is unable to participate in the event this year. In order to streamline work for the volunteer staff running this year’s show, bidding has been eliminated. All artwork will be tagged with a set sale price, unless notated as “not for sale.” Organizers hope to return to the standard process next year, when we have some experience under our belt.
The art show is split into two distinct areas:
• The Art Gallery – Here, visitors will find 2,500 square feet of space in which artwork is exhibited and is available for purchase. The gallery features six-foot tables for 3-D work, as well as vertical panels for hanging space. There is a 10 percent commission charged on all artwork sold. The commission goes entirely to the convention’s chosen charitable organization.
• The Print Shop – This area, located inside the Art Gallery, is used to display multiple copies of fixed price prints and 3-D works. There is a 10 percent commission charged on all artwork sold here, with the commission benefiting the charity.
Necronomicon offers ribbons for first, second and third place in color, black and white and 3-D, as well as an award for Best in Show. The attendees do judging and winners will be announced during the costume contest on Saturday night.
Gaming at the con
Necronomicon 2013 will present a wide variety of gaming opportunities for attendees.
For information on role playing games, board and miniature games and collectible card games, visitwww.rjritchie.com/necro/index.htm. There more than 151 games run by 43 GMs on the convention schedule. Programs are planned using a variety of gaming systems such as Steve Jackson’s Munchkin, AD&D 2.0 Ravenloft, Star Wars Saga Edition, Avalon Hill, Pandemic and Mansions of Madness.
Now in its 31st year, Necronomicon began back in 1982 and, over the years, has drawn a number of distinguished guests in the field of speculative literature. Past guests of honor have including Larry Niven, Andre Norton, Piers Anthony, Alan Dean Foster, Robert Bloch, Roger Zelazny, Fred Pohl, Orson Scott Card and Terry Prachett.
A three-day membership costs $50. Cost for Friday or Saturday only is $25. Cost for Sunday only is $20.
The Stone Hill Science Fiction Association is a nonprofit organization. All workers at the convention are volunteers. Proceeds from the event will benefit a charity organization. In the past, Stone Hill has raised funds for organizations such as the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, Wildlife Rescue, Francis House and Kids and Canines.