I was surprised last night when Air New Zealand went to the internet to invite me down for a visit… to help me finish my book.
I cannot say I was not tempted. New Zealand is a beautiful place. As it happens, I have already visited there a number of times. I’ve been to Auckland and Wellington and Christchurch and Rotoroa… and Hobbiton, of course. I’ve gone whale watching (we never saw a whale, but there were hundreds of dusky dolphins), checked out the Te Papa, the Weta Workshop, the aquarium in Auckland, and a cool automobile museum somewhere near Wellington. From Rotoroa I took a helicopter out to White Island, with its boiling mud pools and lovely lake of sulfuric acid. (With Hobbiton and Mordor on the same island, you really ought to change your name to Middle Earth). I’ve been to a few hangis too, and my minions have a video of me attempting to do a haka that they periodically use to blackmail me.
In short, I love New Zealand. You don’t need to convince me.
And as it happens, I already have plans to return. In the summer of 2020, Wellington is hosting the World Science Fiction Convention, the oldest and most important con in the SF/ fantasy calendar, and they’ve asked me to serve as Toastmaster for the Hugo Awards. Writers, fans, and artists from all over the world will be headed down to check out all of your wonders. I hope lots of you Kiwis will join us.
Of course, I was especially moved by your offer to bring me to New Zealand “on us.” How wonderfully generous. As it happens, I do have enough money to make it to New Zealand on my own… but there are many American writers, fans, and artists who do not. If you’d care to fly, say, twenty or thirty or fifty of them to Wellington in place of me, I have no doubt they would instantly accept, and fall in love with Middle Earth.. er, New Zealand… just as I have. And you have such big planes, I’m sure you could squeeze them in.
As for finishing my book… I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much. Best leave me here in Westeros for the nonce. But I tell you this — if I don’t have THE WINDS OF WINTER in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine.
Current Mood: amused