Pixel Scroll 5/30/21 And Miglauble Of The Seven Seventy Eyes

(1) CASTING KERFUFFLE. Man named Chuck having a busy day swatting flies on Twitter.

(2) FIRST WORLDCON ATTENDEE TURNING 101. Bob Madle will turn 101 on June 2. Curt Phillips, who wrangled Bob’s centenary card shower last year, says that once again, “Birthday cards – even late ones – would be cool.” Mail them to: Bob Madle, 4406 Bestor Drive, Rockville, MD. 20853.

Bob Madle attended the first Worldcon in 1939, and a few years later he named the Hugo Awards.

Bob Madle and Curt Phillips; May 1, 2019.

(3) BUYER BEWARE. In the New York Times “Lionel Shriver Warns Readers Not to Meet Their Favorite Authors”. That puts paid to conventions, doesn’t it!

Have you ever changed your opinion of a book based on information about the author, or anything else?

On principle, I keep books and the characters of their authors separate. So, no, I haven’t changed my opinion of a book because of something I found out about the writer after I read it. However, I’ve warned audiences at events to avoid meeting the authors of their favorite books. The warts-and-all version is almost always a disappointment, and they risk a retroactive taint.

I’ll mention no names, but there was one debut book of fiction a while back that I thought was spectacular. Then I met the author, who was unbearable. I didn’t change my mind about the book (with some determination), but I confess that the subpar chancer behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain did reduce my eagerness to read any of this author’s subsequent work.

(4) FAN IS ACCLAIMED PORTRAIT PAINTER. Nick Stathopoulos is once again an Archibald Prize finalist for “The white shirt – portrait of Tané Andrews”. Nick is a past Hugo, BSFA Award, and Chesley nominee who’s won Australia’s Ditmar Award 10 times. He also designed the Aussiecon 4 (2010) Hugo base.  

In the Sydney Morning Herald’s coverage of the 2021 Archibald Prize finalists it’s the sixth picture shown. And the subject has tweeted it, too —

(5) MUST COME DOWN. Maria Popova traces an early example of crowdsourced research: “Citizen Science, the Cosmos, and the Meaning of Life: How the Comet That Might One Day Destroy Us Gives Us the Most Transcendent Celestial Spectacle” at Brain Pickings.

…Among the stunned spectators was the esteemed Yale mathematician, astronomer, and “natural philosopher” Denison Olmsted. (He couldn’t yet be called a “scientist” — the word was coined a year later for the polymathic Scottish mathematician Mary Somerville.) Like most of his colleagues, Olmsted had largely ignored meteors as uninteresting minor curiosities, irrelevant to astronomy and better left to meteorology. Now, he was seized with the sense that they might have cosmic origins and might therefore hold clues to the celestial mechanics of the universe. But he knew his personal observations that night hardly constituted data.

The following morning, two years after the polymathic astronomer John Herschel — the era’s most venerated patron saint of science — made his pioneering case for citizen science, Olmsted drafted a letter and sent it to the local newspaper in New Haven, appealing to ordinary people to help him “collect all the facts attending this phenomenon… with as much precision as possible” by reporting anything they could recall about the time, orientation, and speed of the shooting stars they had witnessed. The announcement was quickly reprinted in newspapers across the country and responses began pouring in….

(6) BRAND NAME VIRTUAL CONFERENCE. Writers Digest is enrolling students for the “WDU Annual Science Fiction & Fantasy Virtual Conference” (August 27-29) at $199.99 a pop.

Writer’s Digest University is pleased to present a one-of-a-kind online event for science fiction and fantasy writers! On August 28 and 29, our WDU Annual Science Fiction & Fantasy Virtual Conference will provide expert insights from SIX award-winning and bestselling authors on the finer points of how to write within the science fiction and fantasy genres. Spend the weekend learning techniques for honing your craft from six different published authors*, then (if you choose) pitch your novel via query letter to a literary agent specifically looking for material in these genres. The agent will provide you with a personalized critique of your query – and maybe ask to see more.

Experience the education, camaraderie, and opportunities provided by a live writing conference without ever having to leave your home!

The information about the courses and instructors is a bit scanty at the moment —

  • The Grand Unified Theory of Science and Magic Systems by Jeff Somers
    In this session, Jeff will discuss some evergreen rules and guidelines that apply to the creation of both sci-fi and fantasy worlds.
  • Craft Secrets of the Top 1% of Writers by Michael La Ronn
    In this engaging presentation with lots of visual examples, prolific sci-fi & fantasy author Michael La Ronn will uncover the secret world of unusual but effective writing techniques he’s learned by becoming a student of the top 1% of authors.
  • TBD by Tobias Buckell
  • TBD by Nathan Makaryk
  • TBD by Leslye Penelope

(7) MEDIA BIRTHDAY.

  • May 30, 1952 On this date in 1952, Tales of Tomorrow’s “The Little Black Bag” first aired. An unsuccessful doctor finds some very interesting instruments in a black bag which he has bought from a pawnshop. He and his wife differ over the ethics of using them. The script was written by Mann Rubin from story by Cyril Kornbluth as first published in Astounding Science Fiction, July 1950. (It would win a Retro Hugo for Best Novelette at Millennium Philcon.) It starred Joseph Anthony,  Vicki Cummings, Florence Anglin and John Shellie. You can watch it here.

(8) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge and John Hertz. With a special guest appearance by Alan Baumler!]

  • Born May 30, 1922 — Hal Clement. Much to my surprise, his only Hugo was a Retro Hugo for the short story “Uncommon Sense” at L.A. Con III. My favorite novel by him is Mission of Gravity, and I’m also fond of The Best of Hal Clement which collects much of his wonderful short work. He’s reasonably well stocked at the usual suspects. (Died 2003.) (CE)
  • Born May 30, 1927 – Bob Peak.  Illustrator for film, TimeTV GuideSports Illustrated, postage stamps.  NY Artists Guild’s Artist of the Year.  Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame, eight Awards of Excellence, four gold medals.  Posters for West Side StoryMy Fair LadyCamelot; for us, RollerballSupermanStar Trek.  See a Camelot-themed cover for The Once and Future King here.  (Died 1992) [JH]
  • Born May 30, 1936 — Keir Dullea, 85. David Bowman in 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact. I know I saw 2001 several times and loved it but I’ll be damned if I can remember seeing 2010. He’s done a number of other genre films, Brave New WorldSpace Station 76, Valley of the Gods and Fahrenheit 451. And lest we forget he was Devon in Starlost. (CE)
  • Born May 30, 1937 – Ross Chamberlain, age 84.  One of our finest fan artists.  Guest of Honor at Westercon LV.  Illustrated the 1971 (3rd) & 2015 (11th) ed’ns of The Enchanted Duplicator.  Rotsler Award.  Here’s his Website.  [JH]
  • Born May 30, 1948 — Michael Piller. He was a writer and Executive Producer of The Next Generation, and co-creator of Deep Space Nine and  Voyager. He’s likely best known for co-writing “The Best of Both Worlds” and the pilots of DS9 (“Emissary”) and Voyager (“Caretaker”). Post-Trek, he developed a short-lived series based off of Stephen King’s novel The Dead Zone, and he had a deal with WB for a series called Day One, a post-apocalyptic series based on the UK Last Train series. WB reneged on the contract. (Died 2005.) (CE) 
  • Born May 30, 1952 — Mike W. Barr, 69. Writer of comics and sf novels. Created along with Jim Aparo Looker (Emily “Lia” Briggs), a hero in the DC Universe. She first appeared first appeared in Batman & the Outsiders #25. He worked for both major houses though I’d say most of his work was at DC. He wrote the “Paging the Crime Doctor” episode of Batman: The Animated Series. (CE)
  • Born May 30, 1952– Andy Sawyer, age 69.  Fan, librarian, editor.  Managed the Liverpool SF Fdn. Lib’y twenty-five years.  Clareson Award (SF Research Ass’n; service). Fanzines Acnestis (not the apa by that name), Another Earth.  Here is a review of Zinos-Amaro’s conversations with Silverberg Traveler of Worlds.  [JH]
  • Born May 30, 1953 – Nancy Lebovitz, age 68.  Fan, conversationalist (is that redundant?), particularly known for calligraphy and thus slogan-buttons.  “I re-read sometimes because I’m enough of a different person that I notice different things in books than I used to.” Here she is on a panel at Laffcon IV (R.A. Lafferty convention); L to R, Samuel Tomaino, Darrell Schweitzer, Robert Bee, NL.  [JH]
  • Born May 30, 1963 – Helen Sharman, Ph.D., age 58.  Chemist.  First British cosmonaut.  Ten honorary doctorates.  It’s not science fiction, and though she was called the Girl from Mars (she was 24) it was for research at Mars Confectionery.  Memoir, Seize the Moment – with Christopher Priest, is that better?  [JH]
  • Born May 30, 1964 — Mark Sheppard, 57. He’s the son of actor W. Morgan Sheppard. A number of genre roles including lawyer Romo Lampkin on the Battlestar Galactica reboot, truly sleazy crime lord Badger on Firefly,  Tanaka on Dollhouse, Regent Benedict Valda on Warehouse 13, Canton Everett Delaware III on Doctor Who and Willoughby Kipling, member of the Knights Templar, on Doom Patrol. (CE)
  • Born May 30, 1971 — Duncan Jones, 50. Director Films include Moon (2009) which won a Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation-Long Form and a BAFTA Award for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer, and Source Code (2011) which was nominated for both a Hugo and a Ray Bradbury Award. He also directed Warcraft (2016), the highest grossing video game adoption of all time. He is totally not best known for being David Bowie’s son. (AB)
  • Born May 30, 1980 – Narita Ryôgo, age 41.  (Personal name last, Japanese style.)  Author of light novels and manga.  Think not our japonaiserie a one-way street; NR won Gold in the 9th Dengeki Novel Prizes for Baccâno! set in a fictional United States, notably during Prohibition, in manga, light novels, animé, a Ray Bradbury number of episodes i.e. 22, with alchemists, an immortality elixir, and – well, the title is Italian for “ruckus”.  There’s a magician named Szilard, a psychopathic assassin and train conductor, a transcontinental train The Flying Pussyfoot, an immortal named Elmer C. Albatross who masquerades as a demon, and – well –  [JH]

(9) STARSCAPES. “Milky Way photographer of the year 2021 – in pictures” is an awe-inspiring gallery of astronomical photos at The Guardian.

The annual Milky Way photographer of the year competition features the best photos of our galaxy as selected by Capture the Atlas. This year’s images were taken from around the world by 25 photographers of 14 different nationalities. The best time to see and photograph the Milky Way is usually between May and June with maximum hours of visibility on both hemispheres…

The winner, shown in the tweet below, is “Night lovers” by Mohammad Hayati, Hormozgan province, Iran. 

(10) GONE BEFORE YOU KNOW IT. Universal dropped a trailer for Old, the new M. Night Shyamalan movie coming in July.

This summer, visionary filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan unveils a chilling, mysterious new thriller about a family on a tropical holiday who discover that the secluded beach where they are relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly … reducing their entire lives into a single day.

(11) A SLICE OF TIME. “Polychrome Pulps: 1942” is the painstakingly colorized version of this original photo of a newsrack filled with 1942 pulp magazines from Shorpy – The 100-Year-Old Photo Blog. Submitted by user “tedturner” who explains:

“I used a number of sources within the vintage magazine collecting community online to find color images of all of the covers included. All covers are colored accurately with the exception of ‘Super Sports’ which I could not find. I was able to find a number of other issues of ‘Super Sports’ but not the one featured in the picture. I used those as references in an effort to guess at the colors as accurately as possible.”

(12) HOME IS WHERE YOU HANG YOUR HAT. “’Darth Vader House’ hits the market for $4.3 million”CNN has the story, and the photo.

The dream home for Star Wars fans is now on the market in Texas. But the path to the dark side is not cheap.

Known as “The Darth Vader House,” the 7,000 square-foot home in Houston’s West University Place subdivision has a listing price of $4,300,000. The nickname comes from the exterior’s resemblance to the helmet of the famed Star Wars villain….

(13) VIDEO OF THE DAY. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is a 1991 A&E documentary, written by and starring Leonard Maltin, about the cartoons of the Fleischer studio, from the early silent films to obscure, but great, late cartoons including “Raggedy Ann and Andy” and “Dancing on The Moon.”  It’s a good overview and Maltin is of course very knowledgeable.  But after the first 20 minutes commercials are included so be prepared to fast-forward several times.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, Alan Baumler, Chris Barkley, Cat Eldridge, John Hertz, Mike Kennedy, Andrew Porter, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to contributing editor of the day Tom Becker.]

46 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/30/21 And Miglauble Of The Seven Seventy Eyes

  1. 1) I’ve never been as entranced as some by the strange performance art piece which is “Chuck Tingle”; but the dinosaur buttsex guy is right in his posts!

  2. 8) And, from what I remember when he used to appear at Lunacon, Harry Stubbs (Hal Clement) was a great guy. Meeting him did not damage my appreciation of his work. (contra (3)).

  3. (11) A SLICE OF TIME.

    Very, very impressive. Nice job of colorisation. Though I appreciate the link to the original photo.

    I remember a time some decades when a local newsshop carried a fairly impressive range of SF, Detective, Western and shall I say more salacious zines. That newsshop had all of the then existent genre publications which was very nice as I made it convenient to check out what was being offered for fiction currently. They also carried the likes of Starlog.

  4. (12) I haven’t clicked through, but from the outside, that doesn’t look like a house that was designed to be lived in.

    (1) Chuck Tingle very often seems to on the side of an extremely caffeinated reality.

    (3) There are writers I’ve met and lost my taste for their books (I’m sorry, there was something just wrong about MZB, before I learned about the Breendoggle), and others whom meeting them led to years of enjoyment of books I might never otherwise have read. Jeffrey Carver. Sharon Lee & Steve Miller. Ursula Vernon. Others, too.

    Tanith Lee. Met her at the same convention at which I met MZB. Entirely different impression, and started reading her books. Had a hole to fill, after all. 😉

  5. (8) In the words of Baslim the Cripple during the slave auction, “No, no, no, no, no!” The film 2010 (as I have surely written before in this space) is not subtitled The Year We Make Contact, as seen on publicity materials, unless someone went and added it to all the home video versions after the fact. (Which may have happened, I admit. I never once had the urge to see it again after its theatrical release – it was fine for what it was, but curiously unmemorable.)

    Also, Michael Piller’s Dead Zone series ran for 5 years and 80 episodes, so I don’t think it’s accurate to call it short-lived. Piller’s “Fade In,” about the failings of his work on Star Trek: Insurrection, is quite incisive and detailed, and should not be difficult to find online.

  6. gottacook says In the words of Baslim the Cripple during the slave auction, “No, no, no, no, no!” The film 2010 (as I have surely written before in this space) is not subtitled The Year We Make Contact, as seen on publicity materials, unless someone went and added it to all the home video versions after the fact. (Which may have happened, I admit. I never once had the urge to see it again after its theatrical release – it was fine for what it was, but curiously unmemorable.)

    According to Wiki, it is indeed subtitled that way now though not in the original film. Like you, I saw it once at the theater at least I think I did but the damn film was so unmemorable that I cannot say for sure.

  7. 3) I bought Ada Palmer’s first book after meeting her and have had pleasant experiences with all other authors except GRRM, probably because 1) it was the Balticon where he was GOH and I was in a long signing line and 2) I brought Armageddon Rag to sign, not knowing his checkered history with the book. But it doesn’t affect me since I never cared for the GOT novels and it looks like he’ll be tied up with that for a long time.

  8. (8) Mike W. Barr was responsible for the DC Star Trek comic in the 1980s. Many of us thought that was the gold standard for Star Trek comics. At Florida Supercon, Barr said he got a nice letter from Harve Bennett, Executive Producer of Star Trek II-V. The letter Barr for the comic since it help maintain interest in the film series in the years between films.

  9. (1) Just direct the devils to the various panels where Morpheus appears as African.

    (8) It was Mel Blanc’s birthday (b. 1908) He provided the voice of the Raven in a Night Gallery short. Makes you wonder how many talking birds he did over the years. He must have been the go-to guy whenever a script called for a talking parrot.

    Also it’s Kevin Eastman’s birthday (b. 1962) Famous for being half of the creative team behind the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Also did Tundra and later bought and ran Heavy Metal magazine.

    Teenage Mutant Fannish Pixels – Heroes on the file scroll

  10. FWIW, my mother and I once drove Frederick Pohl from the airport to a signing, and he was an incredibly gracious gentleman. My mother, who wasn’t at all into SF, ended up buying his books.

    Of course FWIW, my mother also met Sergio Aragonez a couple times, and was very impressed north by his comics and his person. I think she developed something of a crush on him

  11. 8) Mark Sheppard is excellent as Crowley, King Of Hell, in Supernatural. ‘Ello boys!

  12. (8) Hal was a great person to meet. I have a photo of him and my (then-three-year-old) son taken at a children’s science program event at a con in the early 2000s.

  13. 11: I’m not as impressed by this as others; the artist has apparently not taken into account that most of the images used for reference are images and scans taken of collector and archival materials, all of which have faded with time, to varying degrees.
    Pulps on the news stand were vibrant, brilliant and designed to catch the eye from a distance. They used pigments that are banned for inks now because of their toxicity or carcinogenic (or both) properties.
    Even a quick comparison between the supplied image and the cover for Super Science Stories a the pulp cover archive will amply illustrate this.

  14. Meredith moment: Black God’s Kiss, the 2007 Paizo Press collection by C.L. Moore is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine.

  15. Steve Davidson: I had wondered a bit at the faded look of some of them, but it’s still a highly impressive bit of colourization.

    3) This advice only applies across the board if you are not prepared for authors to be people. There are most definitely individual cases of authors who will put you off their books if you meet them, but there are others who are pleasant, or interesting, or strange in a good way. Certainly the stories above of meeting an author THEN deciding you really want to pick up their books are fairly common.

  16. Meredith Moment: The ebook collection of Greg Bear’s Eon series is available for $2.99 from Amazon and Apple Books.

  17. Lenora Rose: There are most definitely individual cases of authors who will put you off their books if you meet them, but there are others who are pleasant, or interesting, or strange in a good way.

    I sat and had a fantastic conversation with Ann Leckie in the MidAmeriCon II “park” at her bench sponsored by the Imperial Radch. I loved her books already, but she was just such an absolutely authentic, wonderful person, that I’d probably have loved her books even if they hadn’t been absolutely amazing (even though they are).

    Martha Wells is another who reminds me of that Chris Pine quote:
    … think about every day you worked at that restaurant and every day you worked as a delivery man for Domino’s, every day you were a host, every day you were a bartender and worked until 4 a.m. And then just be very grateful

    She is just so gracious to fans, and I think that she’s just really appreciative that she’s finally gotten the sort of raves that her many fantastic novels over the years deserve, and she doesn’t seem to take that for granted or feel that she’s above talking to fans.

    And I’ve actually had occasion a few times to ask Juliette Wade for Japanese translations or other information, and again, she’s so gracious that I will tell anyone for any reason what a wonderful person she is.

    And Cat Rambo… I really cannot speak highly enough of her. She did so much as President of SFWA to make that organization and its operations accessible not just to authors, but to SFF fans, and she has been so consistently kind and gracious under the most trying circumstances.

    I’ve previously said, because of some authors’ behavior, that I longed for the days when all I knew about some authors was that their names appeared on the covers of books that I loved. But some authors do have the ability to make us “insignificant” fans feel as though we are important and special and that they value our appreciation, so I really hate to discourage fans from approaching a favorite author and telling them what their work has meant to them.

  18. JohnC notes that “The Little Black Bag” was also a “Night Gallery” segment.

    It was also an episode of Out of The Unknown, a British SF anthology series, in 1969. Popular story that.

  19. 1.) This world would be much diminished without Chuck Tingle in it.
    3.) Considering the source…nope, I still like meeting my favorite authors. Someone who’s likely to turn me off in person has probably already ticked me off on social media.
    6.) That sounds like the typical writer’s pitch conference to me.

  20. Sometimes encounters with writers provide glimpses behind the curtain that add to the puzzlement–though I don’t recall finding anything that inverted my opinion of the work itself. And a single person can generate a surprising range of works, as though multiple personalities were operating out of the same mental office space. (This not even taking into account the changes wrought by any lifetime.)

    One writer I got to observe (but not meet directly) produced solid, rational non-fiction alongside politically and artistically sketchy fiction, while behaving incredibly boorishly in public. Those vectors pointed back to an interestingly complex and probably painful real person. (Alcohol was involved–think of the two faces of binge-drunk Johnny Mercer.)

    I remain surprised at how often flawed or even awful people can produce good art. And it’s the art that has to speak for itself.

  21. I did once discover at a panel that a fringe idea that an author used in one of his novels was something the author apparently really believed (not an offensive notion – just an idea i think is terribly unlikely).

  22. Another Meredith Moment: The electronic versions of the following Pamela Sargent books are available for $1.99 each at the Usual Suspects: Behind The Eyes Of Strangers, The Mountain Cage, The Golden Space, Eye Of Flame, and Watchstar.

  23. Re 3: I think if I had a very unpleasent encounter with a writer, it could happen that I like his fiction afterwards less(somethink like that happened, but since I tried to read the first fiction of this person later, bouncing of is not a prove, exspecially it was in part of the genere that I dislike), where if I like a writer as a person doesn’t influence my enjoyment of their work that much (perhaps I asume by default that a person that I know nothink of is not bad persons until I have reason to think otherwise).
    More knowledge of the writer/work does chance how we see it. Case in point: Narnia (as a child even as a catholic child I didn’t see the religios background).
    So if the point is relevant it could chance our reading.

  24. My main interactions with authors have been at WorldCon KaffeeKlatsches and my experiences have been good (Bryan Talbot, Alistair Reynolds and -most recently P C Hodgell). Bryan Talbot brought pages from his (then) upcoming work Alice in Sunderland (and if I hadn’t been there I might never have realised how wonderful it would be).

  25. 1) It’s a rare day that Chuck Tingle doesn’t make me smile or think or both.

    3) I once had “author wrangling” as part of my job description and it was a uniquely valuable experience. While I never was turned off the writing by the writer (they’re mostly shy, quirky, interesting people), I was definitely compelled to read more and more widely of the loveliest of them. In genre, Charles de Lint and Elizabeth Hand were particularly and memorably wonderful.

    Also, I have some good stories (Marge Piercy standing on a table singing The Internationale, for instance).

  26. If not for the misbehaving puppies, we would not know about Chuck Tingle and my life would be the poorer for it.

    How does that quote go again? “Oft evil will shall evil mar”

  27. Re (3): Many writers were fans first. Martha Wells chaired an AggieCon when she was in college. Charlie Stross was a regular at British conventions for years before his SF pro career. Other writers such as Iain M. Banks and Pat Murphy discovered fandom as pros and dived in. They get it. In many ways a convention is the worst place to hang out with writers, because it can be a super busy and stressful time for them. But to their credit, I have had many great experiences with writers who were friendly and generous with their time. I think it has helped me become a more acute reader with a better understanding of the writing process. I am not just enjoying their books more, but I am motivated to read them more carefully and deeply. And there are so many writers that I found out about only because of fandom. So yes, knowing more about the authors has changed my opinions of books, but in a good way.

    Negative experiences? A few writers I really liked in person were taken by the Brain Eater. But it showed up in their writing. So writing has changed my opinions of books, and in some cases change my opinions of the author.

  28. Meredith moment: Tanya Huff’s 1989 splendid urban fantasy Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light is available from the usual suspects for a buck ninety nine. Charles de Lint thinks it’ll please the most jaded of fantasy readers.

  29. The only reason I can think of that someone might require Death to be white is the Asian tradition of associating the color white with death because it is the color of bones. I don’t think anybody involved in this discussion is of Asian origin, so it is kind of a moot point.

    One of the writers whose work I love and admire most was such an insufferable person that his family would get up and leave the dinner table rather than put up with his manner. The crux there is that many, many writers would prefer not to have their personal lives associated with their work. They want their work to stand alone.

    It is really easy, from the other end, for readers to look at a story or character and infer that it represents the author.

    I remember Sir Ralph Richardson being interviewed in the press when he played a homosexual, back in the 50s. They demanded to know if he was really a homosexual. His reply was: “Do you know how many times I have played Richard III? Why have you never asked how many princes I have murdered?”

    Most of the details of the lives of great writers have vanished. Their books have not.

  30. 3) I’ve had almost uniformly positive experiences in meeting authors. In each case, I was a fan of their work first. And I was prepared for them to say something that might not match my perspectives. We are all people with different perspectives.

    Seeing John Scalzi in person was great fun.

    Regards,
    Dann
    I do not fear computers. I fear the lack of them. – Isaac Asimov

  31. 8) The only thing I can distinctly recall about 2010 was the Russian astronaut’s reversal of the pastries in the American expressions “easy as pie” and “piece of cake.” IMDB tells me it was the actor Elya Baskin playing “Maxim Brajlovsky.”

  32. @Dann665, I’ve had an almost uniformly positive experience with meeting authors. The single exception was Jerry Pournelle, who backed me into a corner in the Green Room at Chicon IV and shouted at me about how badly he was being treated by the convention and Didn’t They Know Who He Was? (They made him check his bag at the Art Show, apparently, just like everyone else. I later found out from the person who was bag-checking that Art Show that A. Bertram Chandler, the actual Guest of Honor, surrendered his bag with a smile and an “of course”, when asked to do so….) Pournelle ranted at me for what was probably five or ten minutes but felt subjectively like hours about what a Big Name he was and how he wouldn’t put up with that kind of treatment. He strongly hinted that he was carrying a concealed weapon (which was illegal in Chicago).

    I was eighteen years old, a skinny awkward geek girl who was broke and working the convention for the badge, and I was, frankly, terrified. My job in the Green Room was just to make sure that the guests had what they needed before they went on panels (soda, snacks, whatever). I did not sign up to be a verbal punching bag for the convention, but I lacked the self-assurance (eighteen, remember?) to do or say anything to get away.

    I’d loved his books before that incident. I never read another Pournelle book again.

  33. Cassy B. says I’d loved his books before that incident. I never read another Pournelle book again.

    Given his literary career after that, you didn’t miss anything. The Mote in God’s Eye with Niven was easily the best thing he wrote and that was much earlier. And he sounds like he was a complete rat bastard.

  34. I should add that I’ve had LOVELY conversations with many authors and artists since then; they are almost always wonderful people (often with severe imposter’s syndrome! The very opposite of Pournelle…) who just want to enjoy the conventions like everyone else. I’ve had breakfast at the adjoining table to Steve Butcher and got into a long and interesting conversation with him. I’ve had dinner with Seanan McGuire at a pre-con banquet. I’ve chatted with Oor Wombat and her husband (and he graciously did the Reverend Mord voice for me when I asked); Phil Foglio came to Thanksgiving dinner one year… but that was because he was dating a sister of mine at the time. <grin>

    Pournelle was an outlier. Perhaps he was having a bad day that day? I have no way to know. But he (verbally) bullied a teenager because he thought that the convention should treat him better than everyone else, since he was a Guest. (Not a Guest of Honor, mind you; just a Guest like several other high-profile authors.) And though he never touched me, I honestly was scared.

    As a counter-example, at the very same convention, Larry Niven helped me carry several dozen donuts from the donut shop down the block that were intended for the Green Room. (Several boxes of donuts aren’t heavy, but they are awkward to manage.) So, even at the time, I knew that not all high-profile authors were entitled assholes.

  35. The very first time I ran program for Boskone, Larry Niven walked into the green room (he was a life member, I believe as a former guest but I’m not checking my memory right now, and hadn’t let us know he was coming), and asked what panels he was on. Near-simultaneously, a person of no particular note came in with the same question, except it was more of a demand. The no particular note person was female, and I made a strategic decision: handed her off to an experienced male member of the staff, and smiled up at the clearly intoxicated but very polite Niven.

    Niven was the Big Name, and he just wanted to know where Boskone wanted to use him on program, and we looked over the program and found several items where he’d be a real asset without having to run between our two hotels (we were in Springfield at the time), and without making it hard for him to get dinner.

    Despite being intimidated at first by this Very Big Name who wasn’t a regular at Boskone, and having serious negative experiences with people who drink to intoxication, Niven was courteous and classy and just wanted to contribute to the con, and it was a remarkably positive experience. Meanwhile, the other staff member was far more effective than I would have been at calming the agitated mini-pro and arriving at a satisfactory resolution.

  36. (8) Though I had definitely seen Mark Sheppard in other things before, the character that first made me really take notice of him was Manservant Neville in The Middleman. He stood out enough in those two episodes for me to look out for him in other things.

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