2017 LA Vintage Paperback Show

2016 Vintage Paperback Show, panoramic view. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

Over 400 people came out to the 38th Los Angeles Vintage Paperback Show on March 19 at the Glendale Civic Auditorium.

John King Tarpinian and the rest of the event staff did a really fine job, always aware of what was going on and nice to everyone. John spoiled me with a reserved parking space that helped make everything more accessible.

As I went around the tables, many collectible items caught my eye – none more so than a Duke Snider action figure (he was a big Dodgers star when I was a kid). I find at this point in life I don’t need to personally own things like that, I’m just happy they still exist.

I wasn’t even expecting to buy any books, which must sound blasphemous considering where I was, until I visited Marty and Alice Massoglia’s table. On top of a pile was a Christopher Anvil novel The Steel, The Mist, and the Blazing Sun. I didn’t remember seeing that title before, although I read literally dozens of the guy’s stories in Analog. It was an Ace book edited by Ben Bova. The description on the jacket didn’t ring a bell either, so I paid the $2 and started reading – indeed, despite being published in 1980 it’s new to me.

I had volunteered to help at the Loscon fan table. After Michelle Pincus set up, I had a chance to talk to Marc Schirmeister and hear the latest about Taral’s health and recovery. Craig Miller, co-chair of this year’s Loscon, arrived and we table-sat for awhile, discussing his guests and publicity plans. Michael Toman came by and introduced himself, saying he reads File 770 often.

The Civic Auditorium has a stage at one end, and that’s where the Loscon and Horror Writers Association had tables. With an elevated view of the whole event, during the 11 a.m. hour I could see throngs of collectors carrying small piles of books for Jason Brock, William F. Nolan, Mel Gilden, Barbara Hambly, Joe Lansdale, Tim Powers, John Shirley and others to sign. At noon the sf/f writers included Dick Lupoff, Michael Kurland, and David J. Schow.

Larry Niven, Mike Glyer, and Jerry Pournelle. Photo by John King Tarpinian.

After lunch I got to have a long talk with Jerry Pournelle about his recollections of working in defense and on the space program in the early Sixties. He and I also compared notes about getting around on walkers. Larry Niven joined us, and when Steven Barnes came to say hello they had an impromptu 30-second story conference about the book the three are writing. I also had a chance to greet Harry Turtledove and Gregory Benford.

The Paperback Show is a terrific one-day event with a great spirit that reminds everyone why they’re glad they found the sf/f community. If you’re local, be sure to come out when it’s held again next year.

Massoglia Merry Minds’ Morphology Mundifies Mystery

By John Hertz: Book dealer, Regency dance teacher, and wise guy Marty Massoglia at Loscon XLI (November 28-30) showed me this formula:

(12 + 144 + 20) + 3 ? 4 ÷ 7 + 5 x 11 = 92 + 0

and then read it out, “A dozen, a gross, and a score, plus three times the square root of four, divided by seven, plus five times eleven, is nine squared, and not a bit more.” I thought it worthy of him, since he had earlier explained how a poem cut into a tree can reveal how old the tree is — just scan the bark ode.  But he said he’d heard it from his daughter Mariel McKinley. She told me she hadn’t made it, only found it. And you thought “mundify” must mean “make mundane”!

See Denvention TV Coverage

John Picacio has posted video from a newscast aired by the Denver NBC affiliate at the beginning of Denvention 3. Picacio recognized these faces:

John Hertz and his propeller beanie got a lot of love. Look for a funny cameo by SCI FI editor Scott Edelman. Looks like the blonde, braided head of LOCUS‘ Amelia Beamer is in the background at the :59 mark (looks like her, anyway). FACT‘s Laura Domitz pops up at the :57 and :56 mark. And oh yeah — News9 has apparently discovered a new way to spell my name — “Piacacio” instead of “Picacio”. Now I know how Paolo Baciagalupi feels….

There also are glimpses of Marty Massoglia, Robbie Bourget, jan howard finder, Gail Barton, Dennis Caswell, and plenty of others. Are you there, too?

[Via Isaac Alexander]

Need to Cut Back on Chocolate?

As I roamed around Denvention on Saturday afternoon, looking into program rooms for something interesting to watch, I saw Mark Olson raining green-foiled Andes Mints on a small audience of fans playing “Trivia for Chocolate.”  Steven Silver and Jim Mann were the other quiz masters. I stepped inside.

It didn’t take long for me to decide that “Trivia for Chocolate” ought to be renamed “Mike’s New Diet Plan.” I managed to win only two pieces.

At first I sat behind David Goldfarb. The scouting report on David Goldfarb expressed in baseball terms would be: great bat, bad glove. He knows, by a conservative estimate, well, everything. David’s only weakness is fielding. If he actually had to catch the chocolate the competition might be closer.

I spent some time watching David’s winnings bounce past me, til they asked a question that I should have gotten – seeing that I was the answer. We all realized how little of the proceedings I was hearing and I moved to the front row, to the seat nearest Tom Galloway that was not already occupied by his own hoard of chocolate. After that my main handicap was ignorance, but that’s when I scored my two pieces. Knowing Mack Reynolds wrote “Adventure of the Extraterrestrial” was worth one Tim-Tam, a chocolate-dipped biscuit imported from Australia.

Marty Massoglia arrived halfway through the program and from then on scored heavily. Ah, the golden memories of once upon a time when Marty, Bruce Pelz and I entered a team trivia competition as the “LA Smog” and did so well. What decade was that? Hm, another piece of trivia I’m forgetting.

Note: David Goldfarb has posted a LiveJournal entry about “Trivia for Chocolate” that also tells how he pillaged Tom Whitmore’s book collection as the winner of another trivia game at Denvention.)