The NEHW Survives High School a Second Time
by Stacey Longo
Nobody really wants to go back to high school, but that’s exactly what the New England Horror Writers did when they attended Queen City Kamikaze at Memorial High School in Manchester, NH on Feb. 18.
The NEHW had four tables set up at this anime and video game convention. While some skeptics might think that an auditorium filled with gaming consoles and Japanese animation may not be the best fit for a group of horror writers, the event was a huge success for NEHW. All throughout the day, fans young and old stopped by the booth to meet the authors, buy some books, and learn more about what it is, exactly, that is so fascinating about the horror genre. NEHW members Tracy Carbone, Alyn Day, Sarah Gomes, Scott Goudsward, Jason Harris, Kristi Petersen Schoonover, Nathan Schoonover, Rob Watts, K. Allen Wood, and myself were on hand to meet the convention-goers. Author T.T. Zuma and Sci-Fi Saturday Night creators The Dome, the Dead Redhead, and Illustrator X stopped by the booth as well.
The attendees were largely made up of high school age students, dressed up in creative costumes that varied from anime and manga characters to the occasional Darth Vader and assorted storm troopers. While this particular writer would have never been allowed by my father to leave the house dressed in some of the outfits on display, the mood of the crowd was upbeat and squeals of excitement could be heard as each new Pikachu and Vegeta costume came through the door. Despite not really knowing who these characters were, the attendees’ enthusiasm was contagious, and the NEHW members had an entertaining day.
Tracy Carbone, Alyn Day, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover participated in a panel on Women in Horror, moderated by myself. The panel debated such topics as victimization of female characters in the horror genre and who would win in a catfight between Halloween’s Lori Strode and Nightmare on Elm Street’s Nancy Thompson. They were followed by a panel on Trends in Horror comprised of Nathan Schoonover, Rob Watts, K. Allen Wood, and myself. It was moderated by Jason Harris. This group discussed the cyclical nature of horror trends and deliberated over the future of shows like The Walking Dead and Finding Bigfoot. Audience participation was high for both panels, and both groups received enthusiastic applause at the end of the day.
Personally, I had a great time at Queen City Kamikaze. I gained a new fan (thank you, Artie!) and was able to visit with old friends and new. Book sales were high, buoyed by the morning’s announcement that the NEHW’s first anthology, Epitaphs, was now officially a Bram Stoker Awards nominee. Going back to high school wasn’t bad at all, but of course that should have been a given—no matter what the age, horror writers are usually considered to be the cool kids in class.