Short and sweet — registration for Camp Necon 42 (7/18/24 – 7/21/24) is now officially open!
Writer Guests of Honor: S.A. Cosby, V. Castro & Gabino Iglesias
Artist Guests of Honor: Lynne Hansen & Francois Vaillancourt
Toastmaster: Trisha J. Wooldridge
Necon Legends: Heather Graham & Glenn Chadbourne
Please trust us when we say that slots for this year are fillingfast, so PLEASE CLICK HERE to register today!
Please don’t get me wrong — we always sharing Camp Necon news. But sometimes, the news is better than others, and this is one of those times.
Circumstances have allowed for us to expand the Camp Necon 41 Dais of Guests and honor a third Camp Necon 41 Legend this year. Believe me when I say, this person has been on our short list for this distinction for far too long, and her beyond enthusiastic reaction more than made my week! So, without any further ado, we are thrilled to announce …
Short and sweet, Sèphera — thank you for accepting our invitation and allowing us to bestow upon you this long-overdue honor. More importantly, thank you for everything you have always done, and continue to do, for the Camp Necon Family.
I teased some “other important stuff,” but frankly, nothing is more important than this Legendary news! Still, since I’m a man of my word …
• Shameless plug, but it’s not too late to register to join us this summer! In fact, thanks to our awesome partners at UMass-Lowell, it’s NEVER too late; we can add Campers right up to, and beyond, the start of the convention! Please click the following link to enjoy the four best days of summer with our tribe!
• Even if you can’t make it, we are always happy to accept donations to the Camp Necon Goody Bags! Once upon a time, publishers used to overwhelm us with contributions on a yearly basis; of course, once upon a time I also had hair, and I’m not exactly holding my breath on that front, either …
As such, over time the Goody Bags have evolved into more of a DIY enterprise, or perhaps more accurately DIO (Do It Ourselves). To be clear, the Bags are always literally a “grab bag,” so no one needs to feel obligated to donate 200+ items. If you have literally any quantity of anything you’d like to contribute — from books to bookmarks to pens to buttons to postcards to shot glasses (and yes, those went over VERY well!), by all means, we’d welcome and appreciate your contribution and will distribute them across as many Goody Bags as possible!
However, we also recognize that many of you are traveling a great distance to attend, and therefore bringing swag with you can be problematic. As such, we’re happy to offer the following alternatives to schlepping your contributions amidst your luggage!
If you can arrange for a delivery to arrive on or after Monday, July 17th, UMass-Lowell has offered to accept shipments directly to the Conference Center for us (did I mention how awesome they are?). So long as your materials can arrive the 17th or later, please feel free to ship them directly to —
Camp Necon 41
c/o the UMass-Lowell Inn & Conference Center
50 Warren St.
Lowell, MA 01852
If you need to send us your materials earlier, the estimable Mike Myers has offered to receive Goody Bag shipments and bring them with him to the con (I KNEW there was a reason we like him so much!). If you have any concerns about your contribution arriving in time, please feel free to send them to Mike at the following address anytime between now and the convention —
Camp Necon 41
c/o Mike Myers
41 Deer Run Rd.
Bellingham, MA 02019
Thank you all again so much, but most of all, once again, thank you, Sèphera; the honor is truly ours!
Short and sweet — registration for Camp Necon 41 is now officially open.
Writer Guests of Honor: Josh Malerman, Jennifer McMahon & Maurice Broaddus
Artist Guest of Honor: Billy Martin
Toastmaster: Tony Tremblay
Necon Legends: Weston Ochse & Avis Crane
And as if that’s not enough to entice you, we will be offering our EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION SPECIAL throughout the month of August! As I’m sure you can all understand and appreciate, the cost of … well, let’s face it, everything! … has gone up over the past few years. That specifically includes food. and while our partners at UMass-Lowell actually froze those costs for us this past year, there will be an increase for 2023. Accordingly, effective 9/1/22, we will be upping our all-inclusive price to $525 … but register by 8/31/22 and you can lock in the 2019 rate of $475! And to be clear, that all-inclusive rate includes the convention itself, plus full room and board from Thursday through Sunday (featuring a reception dinner on Thursday, three meals Friday and Saturday, breakfast and lunch on Sunday, plus a late night Saugy roast, snacks at the Authors Party, and pastries at the Artists Reception). Honestly, $525 is still a heck of a deal, but register in the next month and you can save $50!
Please trust us when we say that slots for next year are going to fill fast, so PLEASE CLICK HERE to register today and lock in the Early Bird rate!
Dear Necon Campers,
Unfortunately, Tananarive Due will not be able to attend Necon 40 the summer of 2022 (and let’s face it — with multiple COVID postponements delaying the convention for two years, some scheduling conflicts seemed inevitable). She sends her apologies, and on behalf of the entire Necon Family we’d like to send Tananarive our very best. Naturally, Camp Necon will continue to honor any refund requests we receive from Campers who have already registered.
But out of chaos comes opportunity, and Camp Necon is thrilled to announce that Cassandra Khaw has accepted our invitation to attend Necon 40 as a Writer Guest of Honor!
Cassandra Khaw is an award-winning game writer, and former scriptwriter at Ubisoft Montreal. Khaw’s work can be found in places like Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and Tor.com. Khaw’s first original novella, Hammers on Bone, was a British Fantasy award and Locus award finalist, and their novella, Nothing But Blackened Teeth, is published by Nightfire.
Our sincerest thanks to Cassandra for accepting our invitation, to Tananarive for her continued support, and to all Campers for your understanding. We look forward to seeing you all in July of 2022!
Dear Necon Campers,
I’m sure you’re as tired of receiving these type of announcements as we are of making them. That said, I also recognize this is the only smart, safe, and reasonable course of action before us and I doubt this news will come as much of a surprise. Plus, I promise the second half of this announcement will be more fun!
We had a Zoom call with our liaisons at UMass-Lowell, and they delivered the sad news we suspected was coming — due to the ongoing health and safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the University will not be allowing overnight guests this summer. Frankly, I think most (if not all) of us could see the handwriting on the wall and had come to the realization that it’s simply not safe, nor logistically feasible, to hold a regular Necon this summer, and I honestly find it reassuring that our partners at UMass-Lowell feel the same way. As such, the University happily rolled our deposit forward and we’ve secured our dates for next year. Necon 40 will now be held July 21st – July 24th, 2022, and we are in the process of reconfirming our Dais of Guests for those dates.
So, stop me if you’ve heard this one before — as the University will be holding our deposit, we need to ask that you all stick with us. While we will honor refund requests, please only do so if you know for certain that you won’t be able to join us for those dates next July.
And now for the fun part I promised! To show our appreciation, and because we’re sure we’re not the only ones jonesing for a Necon fix, we’re planning something special for this summer —
That’s right, we’re planning to hold a blockbuster virtual convention online this July, participation at which will be 100% free for all registered Necon 40 Campers. In fact, we’re putting together something extra special for Sunday the 18th, that has NEVER been done at Necon before, that will be offered exclusively to Necon 40 attendees. Please stay tuned for more announcements regarding V-Con over the next month, ‘cuz I promise we’re gonna knock everyone’s virtual socks off!
As always, thank you all for being a part of the Necon Family. Please stay healthy, well, and safe; I look forward to seeing you all online this July and in person as absolutely soon as the world allows.
– Matt Bechtel
Chairperson, Camp Necon 40
If it seems like you’ve received this letter from me before, I don’t know what to offer other than the famous Yogi Berra quote — it’s deja vu all over again!
A couple of months ago, I received a call from Deborah Melnick, our contact at Salem State. In a cost-cutting measure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university shuttered its summer events program and fired her entire department. In short, Necon was left searching for a new venue again.
Among all of the proposals we received and considered from potential venues, there was one which blew us away and checked all of our proverbial boxes, maintaining the unique and quirky elements that make Necon, well, Necon. As such, I’m happy to announce that Necon 40 will now be held at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The dates for our convention will remain July 15th – 18th, 2021, our entire dais of Guests has confirmed they still plan to attend, and all 250 Campers will still be housed in apartment-style suites on campus. Beyond that, UMass-Lowell has an on-campus art gallery that they plan to make available to us for our Art Show, and they will designate an outdoor lawn area as a “BYOB After Hours Gathering Spot” (i.e. no wandering campus with open containers, but we can gather and drink outside as we are used to). The university also owns a waterfront property called The Boathouse, and on Thursday evening they’re going to hold us a “Waterfront Welcome Reception” featuring a buffet of finger foods and small plates, plus a cash bar!
UMass-Lowell provided us with the following pictures, which we hope will whet your appetite for what’s to come this July —
Finally, I’d like to address the elephant in the room, even if it’s a bit like sharing how the sausage gets made — please let me take this opportunity to assure everyone that our contract with UMass-Lowell explicitly states that we can cancel / postpone / reschedule Necon should the COVID-19 pandemic necessitate, and that decision can be made by either party right up until the day before the con. In other words, we are taking NO chances and are prioritizing the safety of everyone involved (i.e. all of our Campers and the students, faculty, and staff of UMass-Lowell) above all else. Personally, I have to say that I became much more optimistic about our odds of convening Necon next July after the results of our election, and the recent news regarding vaccines makes me even more so. Still, we are not blindly assuming all will be well by next summer; it’s just much better for us to have a venue secured and plan for the best-case scenario than to potentially have to scramble come spring.
I recognize how unusual it must be to receive a second “change of venue” notice from us, but I also know you can appreciate that business has been anything but usual this year and this was completely beyond our control.
Thank you so much and please stay safe; I look forward to seeing everyone at UMass-Lowell this summer.
– Matt Bechtel
Chairperson, Camp Necon 40
Dear Necon Campers,
With profound sadness, we have decided to postpone Necon 40 until 2021.
This decision was made in coordination with our hosts at Salem State University for the health and safety of us all (including their staff), and our excitement about relocating to their university remains unchanged,. But in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we simply cannot ask our Campers to choose between staying home or risking your well-being by attending Necon during these uncertain times. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts remains under lockdown at the time of this writing, and we recognize that many of our attendees fall into the “highly at risk” category. To quote an esteemed Necon-Lifer who expressed concern about holding the convention this summer, if one person gets sick at Necon that’s one person too many.
The details of this postponement are simple — Necon 40 will now take place July 15th through 18th, 2021, and our announced dais of Guests have all confirmed they will join us next summer. All registrations and deposits will automatically be rolled forward, with July 1st, 2021 the new due date for balances to be paid in full. If this date change means you cannot attend Necon 40, please email me at email@example.com and we’ll work with you towards facilitating a refund; however, as we have already paid Salem State and our payment to them is being rolled forward, we humbly ask all Campers to please roll forward with us and only request a refund if you know you will not be able to attend in 2021.
And now for the “lemonade out of lemons” portion of this announcement — while we are still figuring out the logistics, we plan to produce online content over the coming fifteen months, access to which will be exclusive to registered Necon 40 Campers. We’re thinking readings, webinars, discussion groups, games, contests, etc. While nothing can replace sharing Saugies on the quad, we feel anything we can do to stay connected as a community right now is well worth the effort. Please watch your inbox and all Necon social media accounts for updates and announcements.
Thank you all so much again for your understanding and cooperation. Most importantly, please stay safe and well; I look forward to seeing you all next summer.
All the best,
– Matt Bechtel
Chairperson, Necon 40
P.S. — This probably goes without saying, but seeing as it celebrates the con’s 40th anniversary, the Necon XL anthology will be delayed until 2021 as well. All registered Campers will still receive a special limited edition, to be exclusively distributed at Necon 40 … and the editors plan to expand the project between now and then. Again, please keep an eye on all of our standard communication channels for updates.
Dear Necon Campers,
First and foremost, we hope you and all of yours are healthy and safe.
This morning, I spoke with Deborah Melnick, the Director of Summer Conference & Hospitality Services at Salem State University, about the COVID-19 pandemic. Deborah confirmed that, while the University is following CDC guidelines and have canceled all events for the next two months, its schedule of summer events remains unaffected at this time. As things currently stand, Necon 40 will proceed as planned for July 16h through 19th on SSU’s campus.
Of course, we are living in unprecedented times. July is a long way off, and literally everything in the world is “TBD” at the moment. You have our assurances that the Camp Necon Executive Committee is closely following developments regarding the pandemic, and you have our word that we will be as open, transparent, and timely with our communications as possible should our plans need to change. We will continue working in lock-step with our partners at Salem State, monitoring announcements by all major health agencies and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and move forward with only all of our best interests in mind. Should circumstances require us to cancel or postpone the convention from its announced dates, we will make refund and roll-forward options available to all registered Campers (including walk-ins). Please continue to watch your inbox for announcements like this, and also follow our website, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.
One small step we can take — and granted, we recognize this is a minor step, especially in light of current events, but we’re still going to take it — is to extend the deadline for Campers who have paid a deposit for Necon 40 to pay their balances. Effective immediately, our announced due date of June 15th is hereby extended to July 1st, 2020. We don’t know if those two weeks will make any difference in the big picture, but damn it, if they could, we want our Campers to have them.
On behalf of the entire Camp Necon Executive Committee, thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we navigate this nearly unthinkable situation. Please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions. And again (and we can’t emphasize this enough!), please stay safe and take care of yourselves.
– Matt Bechtel
Chairperson, Camp Necon 40
P.S. — Happy St. Paddy’s Day to one and all; here’s hoping for more than a little luck for all of us over the coming months.
Dear Necon Campers,
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Kathryn Ptacek has had to cancel her plans to attend Necon 40. We know we speak for all of Necon when we send Kathy our love and our very best, and we hope she’ll be able to join us again in the near future.
Of course, you already know what’s coming next thanks to the title — Camp Necon is thrilled and honored to announce that P.D. Cacek has accepted our invitation to join the dais and attend the convention this summer as a Necon Legend!
P.D. Cacek has published over a hundred short stories and five published novels. A past Guest Lecturer at the Odyssey Writing Camp, Cacek’s horror, fantasy, and science fiction stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies since going professional in the late 90’s. She is also proud of the book she recently co-edited with Laura J. Hickman, the charity anthology Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, with all proceeds going to The Jimmy Fund of the DANA-BARBER Cancer Institute. Second Chances, the sequel to her most recent novel, Second Lives, will be released in November from Flame Tree Press.
Cacek holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English/Creative Writing Option from the University of California at Long Beach and is a certified Wilderness Survival Instructor. A native Westerner, Cacek divides her time between Arvada, CO — which looks own on the Mile High city — and Phoenixville, PA — only a short walk from the Colonial Theater where the famous “Run Screaming From Theatre” scene in The Blob was filmed. When not writing, she can often been found with THE PATIENT CREATURES, a group of costumed storytellers.
• Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction 1996 (Metalica)
• World Fantasy Award for Short Fiction 1998 (Dust Motes)
Thank you, Trish, from the bottom of our hearts; no one deserves this distinction more than you!