Clarke Center Lifts Off With Public Events

The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination will launch this month with a series of free events on the UC San Diego campus. 

May 1 through 31, 2013

“Remembering Sir Arthur C. Clarke”
Remembering and celebrating the diverse genius and joie de vivre of Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Artifacts and items are from the collection of Wayne and Gloria Houser. During the May 21 reception only: Special display of original paintings of Clarke book cover art on loan from Naomi Fisher, and space science posters by Jon Lomberg. Curated by Carol Hobson, and co-sponsored by the UC San Diego Library.
Seuss Room Foyer, Geisel Library, UC San Diego

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

1-5 p.m., “Visions of the Future”
An afternoon of conversations and presentations featuring Clarke Center affiliates on their visions of science and culture 33 years into the future (in honor of Clarke’s imagining of 2001 in 1968).
Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall, Qualcomm Institute, UC San Diego

7 p.m., “The Literary Imagination”
A conversation between authors Jonathan Lethem and Kim Stanley Robinson presented by the Helen Edison Lecture Series, UC San Diego Extension and the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination
Price Center West Ballroom, UC San Diego

Tuesday and Wednesday, May 21 and 22, 2013

“Starship Century Symposium”
A two-day event devoted to an ongoing exploration of the development of a starship in the next 100 years. Scientists will address the challenges and opportunities for our long?term future in space, with possibilities envisioned by Freeman Dyson, Paul Davies, Peter Schwartz, John Cramer and Robert Zubrin. Science fiction authors Neal Stephenson, Allen Steele, Joe Haldeman, Gregory Benford, Geoffrey Landis and David Brin will discuss the implications that these trajectories of exploration might have upon our development as individuals and as a civilization.
Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall, Qualcomm Institute, UC San Diego
Note: Seating is limited, but the two-day event will be offered via live streaming video at

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Reception 6-8 p.m., “Remembering Sir Arthur C. Clarke”
Remembering and celebrating the diverse genius and joie de vivre of Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Artifacts and items are from the collection of Wayne and Gloria Houser. During the May 21 reception only: Special display of original paintings of Clarke book cover art on loan from Naomi Fisher, and space science posters by Jon Lomberg. Also screening of documentary film, “Arthur C. Clarke: The Man Who Saw the Future,” a BBC/NVC ARTS Co-Production in association with RAI Thematic Channels, 1997. Curated by Carol Hobson, and co-sponsored by the UC San Diego Library.
Seuss Room Foyer, Geisel Library, UC San Diego

Created by UCSD and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation, the Clarke Center “will honor the late author and innovator through activities that will focus on cultural, scientific and medical transformations that can occur as we increase our understanding of the phenomena of imagination and become more effective at harnessing and incorporating our imaginations in our research and daily lives.”

UCSD’s Sheldon Brown, professor of computing in the arts in the department of visual arts, is the director of the center. The center’s associate director is David Kirsh, professor and former chair of the department of cognitive science.

In addition to drawing upon a wide range of disciplines and collaborations, the Clarke Center will engage the creative worlds of media, the arts and literature to help with discovery. UC San Diego’s unique relationship with speculative fiction and science fiction authors, including Kim Stanley Robinson, David Brin, Nancy Holder, Greg Benford, Vernor Vinge, Greg Bear and Aimee Bender, will allow the center to dismantle traditional boundaries and forge new ways of thinking about the future.

Hamit: LepreCon 38
A Con The Way They Used To Be

Joe and Gay Haldeman

By Francis Hamit: LepreCon 38, held April 5th through 8th in Tempe, Arizona, was, in many ways, a return to the kind of science fiction/fantasy convention that got me into Fandom in 1978.  Leigh and I have not been going to many conventions in recent years, so this was only my 108th.  The WorldCon in Reno, where we spent almost all of our time in the poker room at the Peppermill, was one of two we attended in 2011, followed by Bubonicon in Albuquerque a week later.  Neither was the kind of friendly, welcoming experience you want to repeat and both carried a sense of ‘been there, done that’ that made us wonder why we’d bothered.  Certainly it was not money well spent, but since it was part of a longer book tour, we endured anyway.

LepreCon 38 invited us, and wanted us both on the program, and we hadn’t been to a previous one for many years.  But we remembered those kindly as small relaxicons where interesting programs and great conversations were to be had.  Tempe is where Arizona State University is, and the hotel, the Tempe Mission Palms, is right next to the campus and the Mill Street neighborhood half a block away reminded me of Iowa City when I first lived there in the  mid 1960s.  Very mellow, positive vibes.

The hotel is also very fan friendly, with a very soft security posture, great rooms and plenty of opportunities for that writers’ sport of people watching.  It is an aircrew and military pilot hotel, with a good restaurant.  One need not leave the whole weekend, but if one does, Mill Street is nearby.  I made early morning pilgrimages to the local Starbucks.

Patti Hultstrand did an outstanding job of putting together a program that would do a much larger convention proud.  Some panels, unfortunately, outnumbered the audience, and some were cancelled because no audience appeared. This was especially true for readings where one lesser-known author after another found themselves addressing an almost empty room. One of the frustrations for panelists I heard more than once was that a panel they wanted to attend was often opposite one they were on, which might account for the low attendance at so many of them. I was in five events, but only made one panel as audience member.  It was a very diverse program with lots of options, but perhaps, next time, “less is more”?

I have the impression that a much larger attendance was anticipated than actually came. Certainly there were almost none of the usual suspects from Los Angeles , which is only a seven hour drive away.  Aside from myself, my roommate and editor Leigh Strother-Vien, and Michael Donahue, I don’t recall seeing another L.A fan there.   That might be because of the current economic problems, but it’s a pity because it was a very good event.

Mike Donahue only came over for one day, and that was because the convention very kindly scheduled a panel with the both of us about our forthcoming motion picture Marlowe, which is based on my 1988 stage play, “MARLOWE: An Elizabethan Tragedy”.  Since becoming a film director, Mike has thrown himself into one low-budget project after another and now is in various stages of completion with three features. Only one, Pool Time, has been released.  Complicating matters was the looming demise of Barry Workman, a close friend of his.  But people were very interested and showed up for that panel, which is helpful in creating “buzz”, and we also sold a few copies of the first-draft screenplay at a signing and from a dealer’s table.

I was also on a military-related panel with Joe Haldeman, who was the Author Guest of Honor.  So were seven other people.  Joe being there was another reason for me to attend.  He and I were classmates at the Iowa Writers Workshop in the 1970s.  We were on a similar panel at the 2008 WorldCon in Denver, after which he became very ill.  He was a combat engineer in Vietnam and Agent Orange put him in the hospital with a near-fatal bout of pancreatitis.  In Reno he was still obviously suffering from the aftermath, so it was very good to see him looking healthy again in Tempe.  I had been worried about him.  I had my own illness last fall, after Reno, not as serious, but still very scary.  The panel was nine guys who’d all been in the military, and started by outnumbering the audience, but eventually filled even.  Joe and I were not the only ones on that panel old enough to be Vietnam veterans.  There were a surprising number of ex-military, some of them with long careers, on the program and at the convention.  It gave us something to talk about.  War stories were exchanged.  Nor was it entirely a male conversation.  There were at least two other female veterans aside from Leigh.

The proximity to ASU should have drawn some new fans, but there was a noticeable “graying of Fandom” at work.  Very few kids and very few young adults and teenagers. The hotel is a little on the pricy side, but the security was kind enough to look the other way from those who chose to sleep in the courtyard or some of the smaller lobbies. The convention security, colorfully designated “The Watch”, was also abundant and well-run.  Steve Lapota, another ex-combat engineer in Vietnam , was in charge and also a genial host.

The media guest of honor was Steven Furst, of Animal House and Babylon 5 fame, and he was, if not entirely one of us (I am told it was a paid appearance), an interested tourist who decided to throw an Animal House style Toga Party.  That was right after my third panel of the day and, in deference to my own months-long recovery from complex pneumonia, I went to bed instead.  Mr. Furst also gave panels on film directing and related topics.

The Green Room/ Staff Lounge and the Consuite were at opposite ends of a long hallway on the second floor and on the other side of the hotel from the room where Leigh and I were staying.  Some of the function rooms with program items were also there, while the Dealers’ Room, Art Show and Registration were across the courtyard on the ground level.  It made for a lot of walking, but was not as tiring as it might have been.   Con-kibble was plentiful, as were sandwiches and hot entrees, and a generous selection of soft drinks and bottled water.

So this was, for me, a return to the kind of convention that first got me to be a convention-going fan.  These days, age and health have a big impact on whether or not we’re going to go to one, and like, Jerry Pournelle, I’m not inclined to go unless I can contribute by being on a program item or two…and sometimes, not then. (We no longer do LASFS events.)

But this was one I’d be happy to repeat. Everyone was very nice, and no one was promoting any kind of agenda or trying to bully anyone else.  Fandom the way it used to be.

LepreCon registration.

Patti Huldstrand handing out program assignments.


Fans have created Tauran spaceships in Legos based on Marvano’s art for The Forever War graphic novel (1988) by Joe Haldeman.

I can’t think of a more appropriate choice for Legos builders when you consider the time it must take to assemble such things from plastic bricks.

[Via Joe Haldeman.]

Haldeman on NPR April 14

Joe Haldeman is scheduled to be on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” with Neal Conan on April 14. Gay Haldeman’s announcement says Joe will be talking about the effect his experience in the Army has had on the rest of his life.

The program’s website will let you research the show’s schedule on your local station. It also offers podcasts of the show after it’s aired.

[Thanks to Joel Zakem for the story.]

Joe Haldeman Doing Well

Joe Haldeman ate his first solid food on February 20, three days after ileostomy take-down surgery.

Gay Haldeman’s latest post said he may go home from the hospital soon:

Joe ate his first solid food today, just a few bites, but it tasted good he said. They say they’ll send him home tomorrow, but we’ll believe that when we see it. The nurse reminded him that though he has small scars, a lot of cutting was done inside. He said, “I’ll just tell people even though I look good they should feel sorry for me.”

Joe Haldeman Has Surgery

Joe Haldeman went in for scheduled ileostomy take-down surgery on February 17, to reconnect his intestines following the surgery he had in September of 2009.

Gay Haldeman reported in a post on that the surgeon did a laparoscopic procedure, so they wouldn’t have to make a huge incision. As of February 18 Joe was still in Intensive Care, but he would probably be moved to a regular room on Saturday:

He’s still not allowed to eat or drink, but is up in a chair and has walked some. Most tubes have been removed. They were bothering him more than anything else. Now he says he feels like he’s been knifed in the abdomen, which he has.

Joe Haldeman Update 1/1/10

Joe Haldeman’s latest hospitalization will end when he goes home tomorrow, January 2. Joe had been readmitted to a Gainesville hospital on December 21 to diagnose and treat various symptoms, including weakness and fever. Gay Haldeman told readers that after antibiotic treatments and further tests the surgeons and radiologists decided not to do any procedures. When Joe comes home, Gay will have to handle the twice-daily IV antibiotic treatments.

Gay adds that on New Year’s Eve Bill Hutchinson and Jennifer Johnson came to the hospital and did a private concert of wonderful music for Joe and his visitors.

Joe Haldeman Rehospitalized

Gay Haldeman has told readers that Joe Haldeman was readmitted to a hospital on December 21 to diagnose and treat various symptoms, including weakness and fever.

The CT scan shows an abscess between his stomach and his pancreas, as well as other pockets of fluid in his abdomen. The surgeons are exploring options, perhaps another drain as well as moving the drain he already has. The surgeon also thinks he may need to go in and remove more of the pancreas, ugh. 

Joe and Gay have been back home in Gainesville since December 9, where they returned following Joe’s 52-day hospitalization in Cincinnati plus a month of outpatient care. Gay adds, “Joe’s spirits are good; mine are a bit frayed but holding.”

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Joel Zakem.]

Update 12/23/2009: Later on, things were looking up — see Gay’s quote below in David Klaus’ comment — though an endoscopic operation on the problem area still is likely.

Joe Haldeman Going Home to Florida

“We’re headed home,” announced Joe Haldeman’s on December 4. “The surgeon released me, and Gay’s been on the phone arranging things.”

The Haldemans plan to fly to Gainesville on December 9. They’ve been living in a Cincinnati condo loaned by Joel Zakem since Joe was allowed to leave the hospital on November 10.

Joe cautions, “Still a couple of surgeries to go, but at least I’ll be able to recuperate in the sunshine. And I’ll recover much faster, surrounded by my telescopes and art stuff.”

[Thanks to Joel Zakem for the story.]

Joe Haldeman Out of Hospital

After 52 days inside, Joe Haldeman was allowed to leave the hospital on November 10, Gay Haldeman told readers on Joe has moved to the Cincinnati condo Joel Zakem loaned them. He’ll continue his healing and recovery under the care of local pancreatic specialists for weeks to come, possibly returning to Florida by Christmas.

Joe himself added these sobering details to on November 11:

Speaking of woods, I’m not out of them, quite. I get tired walking across a room (but I can do it, without the walker). I have the clumsy ileostomy bag for another six months or so, and some pretty serious surgery in store then, when they reattach my large intestine. (They removed about 18″ of it, including the appendix as a little bonus.) And of course there’s pain. 

[Thanks to Andrew Porter and Janice Gelb for the story.]