Not a Blog

Worldcon… Virtually

July 28, 2020 at 8:03 am
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CoNZealand is almost upon us.

As everyone knows (except perhaps the fellow who has been quarantining is his bomb shelter all these months, cut off from human contract), we are not actually gathering in Wellington, New Zealand this year, thanks to the pandemic.  Instead we are having the very first virtual worldcon.

The virtual Nebula Awards went pretty well, so I am hoping that Virtual Worldcon will as well.   But worldcon is a much bigger undertaking, so no one knows.  Least of all me.  Yes, I am the Toastmaster this year, but I am also one of the least tech savvy science fiction writers on the planet.   Aside from Howard Waldrop, anyway.   If the panels could somehow be conducted on the old GEnie platform, I would be fine.  I was very comfortable and quite active on GEnie.   But I gather we are using something called Zoom, and my every attempt to use Zoom hitherfore have been disasters.  This time I will have tech help from the con, however, so maybe it will go better…

I will be a small part of Opening Ceremonies, and I have a couple of panels as well… but my main contribution to the Virtual Worldcon will be as the host of the Hugo Awards.   Something I was looking forward to eagerly since the day the Kiwis asked me to be their Toastmaster.  Of course, that was when I thought I’d be performing on stage, with an audience.   Doing it up in my cabin in front of a video camera was… ah… not quite the same.  Sic transit gloria.

 

Anyway, here is how the Hugos are going to work…  I have already pre-recorded all of my opening remarks, introductions of the guest presenters (we will have several), amusing (one hopes) anecdotes and bits of history, discussions of each category, and readings of the names of the finalists (in the cases where I am presenting myself, rather than throwing the ball to a guest presenter).  ConNZealand has all those videos.  The rest of it will be live streamed from my theatre in Santa Fe, the Jean Cocteau, where a member of worldcon’s tech team will be helping me Zoom.   I will have the envelopes with the names of the winners sealed therein.  I may actually have a Hugo to wave about.

So the drill will go like this: for each category, you will get a pre-recorded video of me as a lead-in.  Then I will either read the finalists, so throw it to another presenter who will do the same.  Most of their remarks are pre-recorded as well.  Then back to me, this time live at the JCC, where I will rip open the envelope and announce the winner.  Then we cut to the happy winner, somewhere in the world…  assuming they are in front of their computers and know how to Zoom and all.  (No, unlike the other major awards shows, we have no plans to show the fake smiles on the faces of the sad losers).  The happy winner will make an acceptance speech, long or short as may be, that is entirely up to them.  Then back to me… either live me at the JCC, or pre-recorded me for the next category.

And on and on, starting with the Lodestar and ending with Best Novel.

That’s the plan.   Nothing could possibly go wrong, he said fearlessly.

I do not envy the director and tech team who will be doing all the cutting.  They deserve a Hugo themselves.   Maybe I will nominate them next year, in Best Related Work.   Assuming everything works…

I do hope some of you log on and watch, come Hugo time.   For good or ill, it will be one for the ages.

(There will be no Hugo Losers Party.  Sorry).

Current Mood: anxious anxious

Rocket Time!

June 30, 2020 at 9:10 am
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Worldcon is coming up in a month’s time, down in Wellington, New Zealand…

Or at least it would be, if not for the pandemic.   Which New Zealand has handled splendidly, for what it’s worth.   If only America had done half so well..

In any case, there will still be a CoNZealand, but it is going to be a virtual worldcon.  (Which is a damned shame for all those who will miss the chance to visit New Zealand, truly one of the most beautiful countries in the world).   And as CoNZealand’s toastmaster, I am going to be there… virtually… taking part from my fortress of solitude in the mountains and my theatre (now shuttered) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The toastmaster wears many hats at worldcon, but probably the single biggest part of the gig is hosting the Hugo Awards ceremony.   I am going to be doing that with a combination of live streaming and pre-recorded videos, which we will (I hope I pray) edit seamlessly together.   This week I have started recording some of those videos.   It has been fun, if a little surreal, to be reading off the names of this year’s Hugo finalists when voting has not actually started yet.   And trying to be amusing (one hopes) while talking into a camera without the feedback of laughter (or moans, boos, or soul-chilling silence) from an actual audience is challenging as well.   But so it goes.

SFWA did a great job with the virtual Nebulas.   (Hats off to Mary Robinette Kowal and her team).   We want to make the virtual Hugos just as much fun.   An evening of joy and celebration in these dark days of plague, riot, and police brutality.   We all need a little laughter.   I know I do.

The Kiwis are doing all they can to make Virtual CoNZealand a success.   I applaud them for their efforts, and hope it all comes out splendidly.  That being said, I also hope we never have to do it again.   Over the last half-century, worldcon has become an enormously important part of my life, I have come to realize.  I see people online — younger writers, most often — describing worldcon as a “professional conference,” and yeah, maybe, a little bit, for them… but not for me.   There are professional aspects to conventions, sure, networking and promotion and all that, but for me worldcon has always been a celebration, a party, a holiday, Christmas and Thanksgiving and Halloween all rolled up in one.   Most of all it is a family reunion, a place where I get to laugh and drink and share meals with old friends, meet new friends, and catch up with so many of the people I love, people I do not get to see anywhere else.   So let’s work hard on that vaccine, all you docs out there; I will be at CoNZealand in spirit, but I want to be at DC in the flesh.

((And before anyone starts to panic, “oh my god he is making videos in place of writing,” OF COURSE I am still working on WINDS OF WINTER as well.   That really should go without saying, yet somehow I need to say it, or someone might make stupid assumptions.   I am also doing some editorial work on three new Wild Cards books, reading scripts and making notes on a couple of exciting Hollywood projects, texting with agents, editors, and friends about this and that, eating several meals a day, watching television, reading books, and from time to time using the toilet.   Just because I do not mention it in every Not A Blog does not mean it is not happening)).

 

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

This, That, and T’Other Thing

April 14, 2020 at 3:41 pm
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No big news here, but it has been a week or so since my last blog post, so I thought I would say hi.   I am still up in the mountains, doing the social distancing rag, and writing WINDS OF WINTER.   I have good days and bad days, but I am making progress.

Most of the world remains closed, including my theatre and bookshop, the Jean Cocteau Cinema and Beastly Books.   I had originally announced that we would re-examine the situation come April 15.   That date is now upon us, and it is obvious that I was wildly optimistic in hoping we might even consider re-opening then.  No.  Won’t work.   We’re going to remain shut until JUNE 1.  Then, once again, we will revisit the question, once we see what state the world is in.

I am continuing to pay my staff during this closure, something I wish more small businesses would do.   Beastly Books is still selling signed books by mailorder.  Every order helps keep us afloat, so please take a look at our offerings: https://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/signed-books/

Along the same lines, though we cannot of course open our theatre to the public while coronavirus still rages, the JCC has gone virtual, and is screening new and old movies that way.  For details on our Virtual Feature of the Week, go to https://jeancocteaucinema.com/

Hollywood has largely closed down as well, at least as far as actual production is concerned.  (If this pandemic goes on long enough, I wonder if the pipeline will go dry, and we will start to run out of new films and television shows.  If so, sheltering in place is going to get an order of magnitude harder.  Television right now is doing a lot to keep us all sane — and no, not the news, which has the opposite effect).   But while nothing is being filmed right now, development is continuing apace, since writers can still write at home.  The only thing I am writing myself is THE WINDS OF WINTER, as I have said many times… but with my producer’s hat on, I am still involved in a number of exciting new shows for HBO, and a few film projects as well.  When and if any of these make it to the screen, well, that’s always the question… but I do know that Ryan Condal and his team are roaring ahead on the scripts for HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and that one has a full season’s order from HBO.  As for the other stuff I may or may not be involved in, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you all.

Oh, of course, I am doing a lot of reading these days.  Rereading too.  Some of my favorite writers are Robert A. Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, Tony Hillerman, Nnedi Okorafor, Howard Waldrop.  Oh, and that GRRM guy did some good stuff too, before he started that fantasy series.   Some of his old stories might even make good movies, donchaknow.  (No, seriously, you guys should check out DREAMSONGS.  Signed copies available from Beastly Books).

I have also been trading emails with my friends down in New Zealand.   CoNZealand, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, has also gone virtual in response to the crisis.   A prudent move, but a challenging one.   As this year’s Virtual Toastmaster, I am still going to be hosting the Hugo Awards… virtually.  That should be… interesting.  Especially for me, since I am one of the least tech savvy guys in fandom.   I still write my novels with WordStar 4.0 on a DOS computer, after all, and when I interface with the internet it is mainly through this blog.  (Good thing Howard Waldrop isn’t going to be hosting.  He still works on a manual typewriter).

Anyway, the Kiwis have some smart guys working for them, and they assure me everything will go fine.   They are working out the tech now, and we hope to have several trial runs before The Big Night.   We are all certainly going to try to do our best.  I expect there will be glitches and mistakes, many of them doubtless mine, but I do hope all those looking in will be patient and understanding.  In any case, the rockets will be handed out one way or t’other, though the actual delivery may have to be entrusted to DHL or Federal Express.

Some cool stuff happening with WILD CARDS that I should mention.   Check out our Wild Cards website, if you haven’t seen it in a while.  Lots of great content there for you to explore, including a new blog post every two weeks by a rotating cast of our amazing Wild Cards writers.  You will find it at https://www.wildcardsworld.com/   

We also have a brand new Wild Cards original coming out at the end of this month from Harper Collins Voyager in the UK.   The title is THREE KINGS, and it’s a full mosaic,  was edited by Melinda M. Snodgrass (yours truly assisting), and features contributions from  Peter Newman, Peadar O’Guilin, Caroline Spector, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Melinda herself.  It’s a sequel to KNAVES OVER QUEENS, and like that volume it is set entirely in the British Isles and features an English and Irish cast.   (More on that one in a later post).

There’s more, of course.   There’s always more.   But this post has grown long enough, and Westeros is calling.

Current Mood: busy busy

Hugo Finalists Announced!!!

April 7, 2020 at 5:11 pm
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The final ballot for this year’s Hugo Awards was announced today, via Facebook and YouTube, by my friends at CoNZealand.

Congratulations to all the finalists… and condolences to all those who did not make the ballot.   Take some consolation in the knowledge that much fine work gets overlooked every year.

The Hugo Award is the oldest and most prestigious award in science fiction and fantasy… not only for writers, but also for artists, editors, and fans.  First given in 1953, it was the original award.  Many worthy honors have joined it in the half century since: the Nebulas, the Bram Stokers, the World Fantasy Awards, the Dragons, the Tiptrees, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Prometheus, the British Fantasy Award, the Ditmars, the Auroras, the Saturns… even the Alfies.   (Yes, I have forgotten some, beyond a doubt).  All wonderful honors.   But the Hugo Awards remain the greatest accolade that our field has to offer.

One of the reasons is that it is an award chosen by the members of worldcon, the World Science Fiction Convention, the granddaddy of them all.   By fans, in other words.  By YOU, if you like.   You need not even attend the convention: supporting memberships, considerably cheaper, also allow you to cast a Hugo ballot.  So if you would like your voice to be heard, head over to the CoNZealand website and sign up.

Sad to say, no one will actually be attending this year’s worldcon in Wellington, thanks to coronavirus.   The concom, prudently, has decided to make this year’s convention entirely virtual.   A necessity in this time of pandemic, I think, but a sad necessity.

I am the Toastmaster for CoNZealand, the host at the awards ceremony,so originally I was going to get to be the guy handing out the rockets come Hugo night, a once-in-a-lifetime honor that I was looking forward to immensely.  I am still the Toastmaster, as it happens, but I guess that now I am going to be a Virtual Toastmaster.   I suppose I qualify.   I did once write two scripts for MAX HEADROOM, after all (though neither one was produced, which could be an omen).  Alternatively, I could just tie the rockets to the legs of ravens… really big ravens…

Current Mood: excited excited

RIP Mike

January 14, 2020 at 7:33 pm
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I was deeply saddened this week to read of the death of Mike Resnick, one of the true giants of contemporary science fiction.  Mike has been battling serious illness for some time, so the news did not come as a complete surprise… but it came too soon, too soon, and our field and our community will be the poorer for his absence.

I don’t recall when I first met Mike, but it was a long, long time ago, back in the 1970s when both of us were still living in Chicago.  I was a young writer and he was a somewhat older, somewhat more established writer.  There were a lot of young writers in the Chicago area in those days, along with three more seasoned pros, Gene Wolfe, Algis Budrys, and Mike.   What impressed me at the time… and still impresses me, all these years later… was how willing all three of them were to offer their advice, encouragements, and help to aspiring neo-pros like me.   Each of them in his own way epitomized what this genre and this community were all about back then.  Paying forward, in Heinlein’s phrase.

And no one paid it forward more than Mike Resnick.

He was fine writer, and a prolific one, as all his Hugo and Nebula nods will testify.  After they started giving out those little rocket pins for Hugo nominations, Resnick would wear them on his shirt like medals: pointed up for a story that won, down for a story that lost.  That always charmed me.  Mike won the Hugo five times; once for novella, once for novelette, thrice for short story  (like me, he never won the big one, Best Novel).   He lost a lot more (we had that in common as well).   He took that in stride, with a shrug and a smile, in the true spirit of a Hugo Loser.

He never won for Best Editor either, and as best I recall he was nominated only once, under unfortunate circumstances.   That was a pity.  He deserved more recognition for his editing.   He edited something like forty anthologies, I believe, and he always made a point to fill them with a lot of young aspiring writers, new names and no-names making their first or second or fifth professional sale.  I can’t say how many careers he helped launch, but it was a lot.  In modern times, only Gardner Dozois was more assiduous in searching out new talent.   Mike called his discoveries his “writer babies” and they called him their “writer daddy,” and many a time I would see him  in the lobby of a con hotel, with a dozen of his literary children sitting around his feet as he shared his wisdom with them… along with a funny story and ribald anecdote or two.

His last great act as an editor was the founding of GALAXY’S EDGE, a new SF magazine that he launched… in an act of madness that was all Mike… at the time when the old magazines were struggling to survive.   GALAXY’S EDGE always featured a lot of new writers too, and Mike paid them decent rates… a feat he accomplished by twisting the arms of old coots like me to give him reprints for pennies, to free up more money for the newcomers.  (Lots of us old coots were glad to do it.  Like Mike, we believe in paying forward).  I hope and trust that GALAXY’S EDGE will keep going strong, as a lasting testament to his legacy.

These days, all too often, I meet writers who come to conventions only to promote themselves and their books.   They do their panels, and you bump into them at the SFWA Suite, but nowhere else.   Not Mike.  Mike Resnick was fannish to the bone.   You’d find him at publisher’s parties and the SFWA suite, sure, but he’d also pop up at bid parties, in the bar, in the con suite.  He made more than one Hugo Loser party, both before and after the days I was running it.  You’d see him in the dealer’s room, at the art show, at the masquerade… his Chun the Unavoidable costume, from Jack Vance’s DYING EARTH, was a classic.   When he appeared on panels, he was funny, sharp, irascible, irreverent, always entertaining… and he would do entire panels without once plugging his own new book, a trick more program participants should learn.  The place you’d find him most often at worldcon was the CFG suite, the redoubt of the Cincinnati Fan Group.  He was the professional’s professional, sure, but Mike was also the fan’s fan.   For some writers conventions are for selling, selling, selling… for Mike, they were more about giving, giving, giving.   And having fun.   That too.   Mike always seemed to be smiling or laughing.   He loved science fiction, fantasy, fandom, writing, reading, cons… and he shared his passion with everyone around him.

Science fiction has lost a fine writer, a unique voice, a magnificent mentor… and a profoundly good and decent man.

Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

Hugo Nominations Open

January 6, 2020 at 2:57 pm
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CoNZealand, this year’s World Science Fiction Convention, has announced that nominations are now open for the 2020 Hugo Awards.   To nominate, you need to be a member of either this year’s worldcon, or last year’s Dublin convention.  You can nominate either electronically, or with a paper ballot (though very few chose the latter method these days).

Details can be found at https://conzealand.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/2020-Hugo-Nominations-Ballot-Printable-US-Letter.pdf

Members can nominate for the Hugos themselves, the two “Not A Hugo” categories, and for the Retro-Hugos that honor outstanding works published during the years when no Hugos were awarded.

First given in 1953, the Hugo is not only the oldest SF and fantasy award, but by far the most prestigious.   The list of past winners reads like a Who’s Who of our genre (and, honestly, the list of past losers is equally amazing).   No, you don’t need to read everything that was published last year to nominate.  You don’t need to nominate in every category either.  Just nominate the works you read and loved, and you’ll be fine.   Other fans will take care of the rest.

Even if you only nominate a single work in a single category, I urge you to NOMINATE.  Let your voice be heard.  The Hugo is fandom’s award, worldcon’s award, one of the greatest honors our community can bestow.  Winning a Hugo is an amazing experience… but earning a nomination is almost as exciting.   Far fewer people take part in the nomination round than vote on the final ballot, so this is the stage of the process where you can have the greatest impact.   There have been instances in the recent past when a single nomination was the difference between making the cut and being left off the ballot.   Just last year, my own imaginary history FIRE & BLOOD came six votes short of being nominated in Best Related Work (though, as it happens, I was later informed that it would have been disqualified in any case, for having too much fictional contest).   Almost only counts in horseshoes and grenades, as we all know… you wouldn’t want your favorite story off the year to be left off the ballot because you forget to send in a ballot.   So NOMINATE.

Speaking of which… for the last decade or so, I have been making recommendations of my own favorites (in certain categories, at least) on my Not A Blog.  There’s so much good work being published each year it is easy to get overlooked, so I wanted to do what I could to draw attention to worthy books, movies, and individuals.   I will not be making any recommendations this year, however.   I am going to be the Toastmaster this summer at CoNZealand, the guy on stage emceeing the event and handing out all those nice shiny rocket ships.  It would not be appropriate for me to go on record as favoring certain nominees (and, by implication, dis-approving of others… though that would be a shaky assumption, since I don’t always get around to reading everything in every case).   It behooves the Toastmaster to be neutral, I believe.  Which is not to say that I won’t be cheering on some winners and being aghast at others… but not in public.

I expect that I will go back to recommending work next year, when worldcon moves to Washington and it is someone else’s turn in the barrel as Toastmaster.

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

A Very Special Award

September 15, 2019 at 9:17 am
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The Hugo Awards are the most famous prizes handed out annually at the World Science Fiction Convention… but they are by no means the only ones.   The Hugo ceremonies also include the presentation of two “Not A Hugo” awards, the Lodestar for YA novels and the best new writer award (the John W. Campbell Award from 1973 until last month, subsequently renamed).  In years past the Big Heart Award (which has undergone quite a bit of renaming itself) and the First Fandom Awards were also presented on Hugo night.   In days now long forgotten there was also the Gandalf… and more recently there have been the Retr0-Hugos, though those traditionally have a separate ceremony of their own.

But the rules also allow each year’s concom to give a special committee award, if they choose to.   This year, the Dublin concom chose to… and to my surprise and delight, they gave the award to my wife Parris and myself.

James Bacon presented the award to us at Dublin’s closing ceremonies.   We were deeply touched.

In the spirit of the Alfies, the trophy is made from an old automobile hood ornament.   Though I am damned if I know what model car it came from… it is certainly very different from the sleek 50s rockets and jets that we cannibalize for the Alfies.   Makes no matter.   It’s cool looking, and we love what it represents.

Parris has often told the story of walking into her first con, the 1974 worldcon in Washington DC, and thinking, “At last, I’ve found my people.”   I started a few years before her, attending my first cons in 1971, but I had the same feeling.

We’ve both found a family in fandom, a warm and welcoming community that has become a huge part of our lives.  And we both believe in giving back, in paying it forward as RAH once urged us all to do.   Also, we’re both descended from Irish immigrants (the Bradys for me, the Moynihans for Parris), so getting this award at an Irish worldcon was especially meaningful.

Thanks, James.  Thanks, Dublin.   Thanks, fandom.

Fandom IS a way of life.

Current Mood: happy happy

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

Hugo Night 2019

September 8, 2019 at 10:00 am
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The annual presentation of the Hugo Awards is always one of the high points of worldcon.   I have been attending the Hugo ceremony since my very first worldcon in 1971.   The awards were presented at a dinner back then, and I could not afford a ticket (they were priced outrageously, at something like seven bucks), so I watched the proceedings from a balcony, standing.   Robert Silverberg presided, and it was all incredibly exciting.

Fast forward to this year’s Hugo Awards in Dublin.   They had their own excitements, perhaps more than any year since 2015 in Spokane, the Year of the Puppies (and, more happily, the Alfies).   Let’s just say they were… fraught, with some amazing high points and a few low ones.   Of course, your view of which points were high and which were low may vary from mine.

There were many worthy winners, to be sure… and as ever, many losers that were also rocket-worthy.   Since I feel more like Thumper than Alice Roosevelt Longworth today, let me focus on my favorite parts.

Like Charles Vess.   The artist category had some amazing talents nominated this year, and I was seated right next to one, the incredible John Picacio.  But John was applauding just as loudly as me when Vess won for Best Professional Artist.  A very well deserved win for an artist not previously honored.   And then, just moments later, Charles returned to the stage to collect the Hugo for Best Art Book as well, for his illustrated edition of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea stories.   A double win!!!   Lots of people win Hugos every year, but winning two in a single night is a rare accomplishment (I did it myself in 1980, the second person to do so, and it remains one of the high points of my career).  And with Charles Vess, it really could not have happened to a nicer guy.  I’ve had the pleasure of working with Vess in the past… he illustrated the limited edition of A STORM OF SWORDS… and he really is as sweet, genial, and pleasant as he appears, in addition to being enormously gifted.    Nice guys DON’T always finish last, kids.  I am hoping to be able to work with Charles Vess again, soon… I have just the project in mind.   But we shall see.

I will never be able to work with Gardner Dozois again, sadly… but Gardner’s victory as Best Professional Editor (Short Form) was the other highlight of the evening for me… and for many, many, many others who loved Gardner, had the privilege of being edited by him, or the simple joy of knowing him.   I have edited a lot of anthologies of my own over the decades, but I’ve never enjoyed doing any of them so much as I enjoyed the ones I did with Gargy: SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, WARRIORS, DANGEROUS WOMEN, ROGUES, SONGS OF LOVE & DEATH, DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS, OLD MARS, OLD VENUS.   We wanted to do more, but alas, it was not to be.   Gardner left us all too soon, and a lot of laughter and love left the world when he did.

But on Hugo night, when his name was read out one last time, a bit of it returned, just for a moment.  His son Christopher Casper was on hand to accept the award for him… and just as Gargy would have, he said the award really belonged to the writers.   Gardner said pretty much the same thing every time he won a Hugo, and he won a lot of them… deservedly.

I am not a believer in any afterlife, and I don’t think that Gardner was either… so as nice as it would be to think that he was looking down on us from the Secret Pro Party in the Sky, I can’t.   But the award certainly meant the world to Christopher, to me, to all of Gardner’s other friends, and to the myriads of writers, the generations of writers, who filled the pages of ASIMOV’S during Gardner’s tenure there, who learned from him at Clarion and other workshops, who were fished out of one slush pile or another by the pre-eminent editor of his times (I was one of those).   No one knew our genre better, no one discovered more new talent, and no one had a better eye for a good story… or a better sense of how to make a flawed story work… than Gardner Dozois.  And no award that was handed out in Dublin last month was more well deserved than Gardner’s last Hugo.

I also want to say a word or two in praise of Michael Scott and Afua Richardson, the hosts and presenters on Hugo night, who kept the ceremony moving at a nice pace under sometimes trying circumstances.   Scott was eloquent and informative, and Richardson provided one of the most moving moments of the night when she spoke of the influence that Nichelle Nichols had upon her life and career.  Afua also sang beautifully and played the flute.

All of which was tremendously intimidating.   Next year worldcon is in New Zealand and I’m the Toastmaster, so it will be be my task to present the Hugos.   Afua is a helluva hard act to follow.   You really don’t want to hear me sing.  Maybe I should start taking flute lessons….

 

Current Mood: contemplative contemplative