Not a Blog

What’s It All About, Alfie?

September 14, 2019 at 8:28 am
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It’s about achievement…

One of my great pleasures since reclaiming the Hugo Losers Party (originated in 1976 at Big Mac, by Gardner Dozois and I) has been presenting the Alfie Awards, named after the late great Alfred Bester, who won the first Best Novel Hugo in 1953 for his novel THE DEMOLISHED MAN.

With the worldcon across the pond this year, it seemed only appropriate to award the Alfies to two titans of British publishing, Jane Johnson of Harper Collins Voyager and Malcolm Edwards of Gollancz/ Orion.  My wife Parris helped me present the trophies at midnight (the traditional hour for presenting the Alfies) during this year’s Hugo Losers Party at Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.   (That’s her in the neck brace.   Yes, she recently had surgery, and thank you for your concern.   She’s recovering well). 

Like some of the original Hugo Awards, the Alfies are made from hood ornaments off 1950s automobiles… smoothed, polished, and restored to a fine silver sheen by Tyler Eugene Smith, who also provided the bases.

I’ve had the honor of working with both Jane and Malcolm.   Amazing editors, both of them, and stalwart champions for their writers and for our field.   It was long past time they got some recognition from the community that they have given so much to over the decades.

I received a number of awards and honors last month during my trip to England and Ireland (posted about the Burke Medal below and will be talking about the others in posts to come).  But giving is as big a thrill as receiving, and Parris and I loved being able to make this presentation to Malcolm and Jane.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

At the Irish Film Institute with Robby the Robot

September 12, 2019 at 10:59 am
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One of the highlights of my time in Dublin was my visit to Altair IV, courtesy of the kind folks at the Irish Film Institute.  The IFI has an impressive facility there in Temple Bar, and as part of the celebrations of worldcon, they invited me to present one of my favorite films, and speak about why I loved it.   I was delighted to do so.

No one who knows me or has read this blog for long will be even remotely surprised by the movie I chose: the MGM science fiction film, FORBIDDEN PLANET, from 1956, a classic whose influence on all the SF films and television shows that followed was profound.   Starring Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Robby the Robot.

((I couldn’t bring Robby with me to Dublin, alas, but I did bring Commander J.J. Adams and Altaira)). 

Maura McHugh joined me afterwards for a discussion of the film, and some Q&A with the audience.  Listen in, if you’d like (sorry, it’s audio only).   And then go out and watch the movie again.   It’s still great… and I hope to hell that they NEVER remake it.   They’d only mess it up.

Current Mood: geeky geeky

Back Home Again

September 1, 2019 at 5:40 pm
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August went by in  a blur, and most of it was spent on the road.   London, Dublin, Belfast.   Great cities, great times, but it is good to be home in Santa Fe.  By the end of any long trip, my green chile addiction kicks in and I need a fix.

I do not travel with a computer, so I returned to the usual one thousand unanswered emails.   Thankfully, a lot of them were spam or junk mail, so I was able to get through them quickly.

Dublin is a lovely city, and worldcon was fun as always.  James Bacon and his team did a smashing job, although the convention facilities were not equal to the size of the crowds, which caused some problems and a lot of lines.   I did a couple of signings there, but not a lot of programming.   But the two panels I did do, both with Parris, were very special, and I think the audience felt that as well.   I do miss some of the pleasures that I used to take for granted at worldcons, like being able to walk the dealer’s room and browse new books, or sit in the bar for hours with friends coming and going and everyone buying rounds… but sadly, none of that seems possible for me any longer.   Too many people wanting signatures or selfies.   All very nice, most very polite, but I hate refusing anyone, and after a while it just wears me out.

I was able to enjoy more of that at Eurocon/ Titancon the following weekend, in Belfast.   A much smaller con in a smaller city, maybe that’s the answer.   Peadar and Pat made a great toastmaster team.  I had not been to Belfast since we were shooting the GAME OF THRONES pilot, and it was fascinating the extent to which the show has permeated the city.   Castle Ward has its own Night’s Watch, the GOT Exhibit down by the Titanic Museum is just stunning… and everywhere I went, strangers came up to thank me for their jobs and tell me how the show has changed the city and their lives.   That was very gratifying.

I just hope Brexit does not screw it all up… but I fear it might.   Belfast deserves better.

Loved our time in London too.

Oh, and everywhere I went they gave me awards.   That was also very nice.

I will have more to say about that, and many other things, in subsequent posts.   Right now, I am still trying to bounce back from jetlag.   Later, friends.

Current Mood: tired tired

Raya Rocks Starport

March 24, 2019 at 10:20 pm
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My friend, minion, and collaborator Raya Golden has been blitzing the Pacific Northwest this week, promoting her graphic novel STARPORT, based upon an unproduced pilot of mine from 1994.  Raya did the adaptation and the art.

She started out at the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle, where she was joined by a couple of buds of the Lobh.

After the con, she headed down to Portland, to sign copies at Powell’s, surely one of the great bookstores.  (I have signed at Powell’s myself in years past.  My name is scrawled on one of their pillars, amongst all the other writers who have had signings there).

STARPORT is now available from your favorite bookstore or on-line bookseller.   It’s one of my favorites of my unproduced pilots, and Raya did an amazing job with the adaptation.   If you like SF, give it a try.

Oh, and where was I, you ask?  Why wasn’t I with her?   Well, I’ve been busy at home.

Who loves the infants??

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Worldcon Time!

August 6, 2018 at 7:31 am
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It’s August, and that means that worldcon is coming around once again.   (In a properly ordered universe, worldcon would be coming on Labor Day weekend but sadly that seems to be a lost cause since Dragoncon stole those dates).

This year’s gathering is in San Jose, California.   It ought to be called ConJose II, but it’s not.   I like my worldcons to have names, not numbers, however, so I refuse to accede to this new twitch of numbering cons instead of naming them.   The SanJose folks keep insisting that this worldcon is not ConJose II, though.   So be it.   In the tradition of my Not A Blog, and of course the famous John W. Campbell Award (Not A Hugo), I shall henceforth refer to this year’s gathering as Not ConJose II.

I have cut way down on the number of cons I attend, due to the press of work, but there’s no way I’d miss a worldcon, by any name.   I’ve only missed one in the last thirty years.   Dragoncon and San Diego Comicon and GenCon and many other cons are now much bigger, but worldcon remains the original, and the best, the heart of the fannish community.   Worldcon is like a family reunion.   And yes, like any large family, we have our share of drunken uncles, loony cousins, and snot-nosed kids… but still, family is family.   I’ll be there for the whole con.  I hope to see many of you in SanJose.  Worldcon is great time for getting together with old friends and making new ones.

I know that some of you will be hoping to get your books autographed at the con.   There will be several opportunities for that.

My week will start on Tuesday, August 14, with a special fundraiser on behalf of LOCUS, an evening with John Picacio.   That event is not an actual part of the con, so tickets will be sold separately.  I will not be signing at the fundraiser, no… but we will have hundreds of pre-signed books available for purchase at the event.

https://foxrwc.showare.com/eventperformances.asp?evt=210

I also have three scheduled signings at Not ConJose II itself.  Friday at noon and Sunday at 1pm, I will be signing in the official autograph area.   The lines will be capped, however; there’s a limit to how many books I can sign in an hour.   (No, my hand doesn’t fall off.   It’s my lower back that protests).  Sorry, I can’t do personalizations or inscriptions, and we have a limit of one book per person.   Mind you, if the lines are short, I will sometimes loosen the rules and sign a second book, etc.   Don’t count on that, though; my lines have not been short in years.   Oh, and yes, I will sign things other than books.   Games, cards, replica swords, photographs, program books, interesting body parts…. but still, only one item per person, and no personalizations.   And I don’t sign babies, pets, or books written by other authors.

Besides these two general signings, we also have the Wild Cards signing, scheduled for Saturday morning at 10am in the dealer’s room.   That’s a mass signing.  Melinda Snodgrass, Caroline Spector, Marko Kloos, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Kevin Andrew Murphy, and several other Wild Cards writers and creators will be joining me, to deface your books with their illegible scrawls.  But at that event we will be signing ONLY Wild Cards books, so please don’t bring copies of any of my other works… those you can get signed at the general signings.

I do prefer to limit my autographing to these four scheduled events.   I want to enjoy worldcon like everyone else, without having to scrawl my way through it.  So please do not approach me before or after panels, at the Hugos, in the corridors, at the parties, while I’m having dinner (or breakfast, or lunch), or in the restrooms to ask for an autograph.   Your understanding would be much appreciated.

Aside from signing things, what am I doing at Not ConJoseII? you may ask.

At 5pm on Friday I will be part of the Gardner Dozois Memorial.   A sad event, but I think we’ll have some laughs as well.   Gardner was the funniest man in our field for half a century, he’d want to hear us laughing.

There’s also to be a Wild Cards panel, though I am not sure just when.   The present time is a conflict for me.   Depending on where the panel gets moved, I may or may not be on it.  But there will be a Wild Cards panel regardless.

Oh, and keep your eyes on Thursday.   We’re looking at doing a presentation and trailer screening for the new NIGHTFLYERS television series that debuts this fall.   Details are still being worked out   When we have more definite news, I will let you know.

And that’s it, so far as my public participation in Not ConJoseII is concerned.   But of course, I will be there all weekend, wandering the dealer’s room, drinking in the bar, visiting the art show… and, of course, hitting the parties.   That’s what worldcon is all about.

 

Current Mood: busy busy

California Dreamin’

April 26, 2017 at 12:32 pm
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I am off to California tomorrow.

First stop will be Long Beach, for Stokercon, the annual gathering of the Horror Writers Association and the presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards. (That’s the one that looks like a creepy house, as opposed to the new World Fantasy Award, which looks like a creepy tree). This year’s Stokercon will be on the Queen Mary, which I last visited for a Nebula Awards banquet in… ohmigod, could it really have been 1996? Where do the years go? (Thinking back, that must have been a few months before A GAME OF THRONES was published. Little did I dream how much my life was about to change).

I love old ocean liners (modern cruise ships not so much), so banqueting with my brothers and sisters in horror on the Queen should be a hoot and a half.

After that, it’s down to San Diego for a fundraising event for Clarion. I’ll be having a conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson.

Alas, I’m told the event is already sold out.

And, sorry, no, I will not be signing… just talking.

South of the Border

November 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm
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Strange to say, although I have lived in New Mexico since 1979, I have never really visited Old Mexico. Oh, I attended a Westercon in El Paso a few years back, and spent an afternoon in Juarez with some other fans and writers. And I spent a few hours in Tijuana back in the late 80s, I believe, while attending Comicon in San Diego. But that hardly counts. There’s a lot more to Mexico than the border towns.

My first real visit to Mexico starts tomorrow, when I jet down to Guadalajara for the Guadalajara International Book Fair: https://www.fil.com.mx/ingles/i_info/i_info_fil.asp

I’m one of the guests at the conference. I’ll be doing interviews, a press conference, a live streaming event, and a signing. I expect I will be doing some tequila tasting as well. I am informed that Guadalajara is the tequila capital of Mexico.

I am looking forward to meeting my Mexican publishers, editors, and fans.

This is my last scheduled event for 2016. My appearance schedule for 2017 is very limited, and will remain so until WINDS is completed. So if you want to meet me or get a book signed, this will be the last chance for a good few months…

See you south of the border.

September Morn

September 2, 2016 at 10:35 pm
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Can it really be September? What the hell happened to August?

Oh, I remember… a week of meetings in LA, a week at worldcon, Bubonicon, house guests and visitors, business meetings… damn…

I wanted to blog about worldcon and the Hugo Awards and the Alfies and an EPIC Hugo Losers Party and the presidential election and HIGH STAKES and a very special week we have planned at the Jean Cocteau and lots of other stuff, and maybe I still will in the days to come, but right at the moment I am too tired. Some of that stuff already seems like ages ago. And I have lots to catch up on.

But it’s been a while, so I thought I should at least say hi, and wave, and let everyone know that I’m still here, back at the old homestead and back at work.

Also, I wanted to give a shout out to Ogre Jenni, who, alas, has left the Jean Cocteau and Fevre River to accept a full-time teaching job. That’s great news for Jenni, and all the kids that she will be teaching in the years to come, but sad news for us. Jenni was terrific, a wonderful member of our crew here, and we miss her lots already. At least she is still in town, so we will get to see her socially from time to time. Fly high, Higginbotham!

Baltimore and NYC

June 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm
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Feeling much better now, though I am still sipping tea with lemsip a couple times a day to keep the chest congestion down. The coughing has largely subsided.

Anyway, as I was intending to say before I got the crud, we had a great time in Baltimore and NYC.

Balticon was celebrating its fiftieth birthday this year. Half a century of cons, pretty extraordinary. To mark the occasion, they brought back as many of their previous GOHs as they could (some were unavailable, and some had died), to join me, the current year Guest of Honor. It’s always great to see old friends like Connie Willis and Joe Haldeman, and especially friends like John Varley, who I hadn’t run into for a couple of decades. Of course, a lot of new friends were on hand as well. Balticon moved back downtown for this year’s con, so we were right at the Harborplace, across the street from the Constellation and the dragonboats, and within sight of the Hyatt Regency where the first Baltimore worldcon was held. Brought back a lot of memories.

I did a lot of signing, a kaffeeklatch, a special fund-raising dinner where I changed tables for every course, an interview, the opening ceremonies (crabs and paddleboats and pirates, ph my), and read the Damphair chapter from THE WINDS OF WINTER.

And we ate crabs, and pronounced them good.

(We also ate “the best pizza in Baltimore” and pronounced it less good).

And then it was time for the Acela, and New York City.

New York City was mostly business, as it usually is: meetings with my agents, publishers, editors, and of course HBO. But we found time to fit in a couple of pizza tastings, both in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Also managed to get into the Carnegie Deli, which I fear is falling on hard times. We always try to catch a show when we’re in the city. This time it was HAMILTON.

Guys, gals, go see HAMILTON. Everything you’ve heard is true. It is going to win a bunch of Tony Awards. The performances are incredible. And after the show, we got to sneak backstage and hang some with King George III, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton his own self.

Even that was not the highlight of the New York part of the trip, though. That came a day later, when Parris and I headed over to Bayonne to visit with my sisters and brothers-in-law, my niece and nephews and their partners… and meet, for the first time, my great nephew Brady, born a few weeks earlier. It would appear that I am now a gruncle.

A Few Quick Thoughts

May 24, 2016 at 12:59 pm
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I am off to Baltimore tomorrow for Balticon 50, which promises to be a real blast. In honor of half a century of great cons, the fans of Baltimore are bringing in lots and lots of their past GOHs, along with me, their current GOH, so we should have an amazing crowd on hand. Connie Willis, Joe Haldeman, John Varley… oh, the list goes on and on. Go to the Balticon website and see for your own self. And then come to the con. Panels, readings, parties… and there will be CRABS.

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On other fronts… we had an amazing time at the Jean Cocteau last night, when a sellout crowd assembled to hear Joe Hill. Joe gave a dynamite reading from his new novel THE FIREMAN, led the audience in a kazoo concert, told us about all his forthcoming television and film projects, and signed stacks and stacks of books. Most of which were promptly carried off by his eager fans. But we did lay in extra supplies, so if you’re looking for autographed copies of THE FIREMAN, or HEART-SHAPED BOX, or LOCKE & KEY, or any of Joe’s stuff, it’s available — while the supply lasts — from the Jean Cocteau Bookshop at http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/ — along with signed books from Neil Gaiman, Stephen Graham Jones, Diana Gabaldon, Joe Lansdale, and many many more.

Heated discussions continue about this year’s Hugo ballot, and the various proposals being brought forth to reform the voting procedures to defend the integrity of the award against future attacks by Rabid Puppies and other varieties of fuggheads. Some of the proposals are worth considering. I have severe doubts about others. But I don’t have time to get into all of that now, so it will have to wait until I return.

Meanwhile, I am doing my Hugo reading, and I urge all of you who are members of Big MAC II to do the same. Read, consider, vote.

And if you’re not yet a member of Big MAC II… well, if there’s any chance at all that you can get to KC this August, you ought to join and attend. There’s nothing like a worldcon. And the original Big MAC in 1976 was, in my not-so-humble-opinion, the best worldcon that I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending, so I have high hopes for this year’s. The KC fans know how to party. And while they cannot match Baltimore for crabs, they do have BARBEQUE!

(I will keep comments open on this one only through tomorrow morning. I expect to be away from my computer while traveling, and don’t want hundreds of screened comments awaiting my return).