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Booth moderates panels at writing convention

Roy Booth had a busy weekend. He served as a moderator for five panels during Arcana 37, a St. Paul writing convention that focuses on mystery and horror writing.

Arcana bills itself as a "convention for the dark fantastic."

The guest of honor at the Oct. 12-14 event was George Clayton Johnson, the co-author of "Logan's Run" and screenwriter of TV episodes including some for The Twilight Zone and Star Trek.

Booth, the owner of Roy's Comics & Games in Bemidji, is a playwright and author. His 40th published play, "Beanie and the Bamboozling Adventure Machine," (co-written with Bob May) is scheduled to be released later this month.

Booth hosted a live panel interview of Johnson at the convention, during which Johnson discussed his work.

"The interview with him was fantastic," Booth said, noting that it was the first time he had met Johnson.

Booth said he asked Johnson about five or six questions, but the interviewee took the discussion and "ran with it," talking about his work and dealings with Ray Bradbury, Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry.

He and Booth also discussed the differences between writing in the "classic era" and modern days.

In the past, work was more independent versus now, when a screenplay or script may have many more people working on it, Booth said.

Johnson remarked to Booth that he would love to someday see a play version of "Logan's Run." The author still owns the rights to a play version, although he sold the movie rights for the "Logan's Run" film that was released in 1976. (A planned remake of the movie is still in development).

Booth said he would likely contact Johnson about a possible play version in the future - no plans were finalized this past weekend.

"I've had two other authors ask me to dramatize their work into plays," Booth said, explaining that such offers occasionally arise.

Other panel discussions that Booth hosted included Christopher Jones, the artist for DC Comics "The Batman Strikes!" series, and a conversation about mysterious creatures such as the Loch Ness Monster in a cryptozoology discussion.

The Arcana convention features panel discussions, display tables for dealers, an auction and the unveiling of two Minnesota Fantasy Awards. It began as MinnConn, a gathering of friends and associates in someone's house, Booth said. By 1987, it had grown to the point where it had become a full-fledged convention and was held at hotels.

Booth himself was involved in the convention years ago, but hadn't taken part in several years due to commitments and family. This was his first time as a panelist, he said.

Booth also is preparing for the 2008 CONvergence science fiction and fantasy convention, to be held in July. It will be the 10th anniversary of the large Minnesota event that draws 2,000-3,000 people each year, Booth said.