Swanwick Resigns From Science Fiction. Not.

Michael Swanwick told Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow on April 22:

In my adopted hometown of Philadelphia there’s a move afoot to put up a plaque where Isaac Asimov lived while he was working (and writing seminal Foundation and Robot stories) at the Naval Yard during WWII. Asimov hated Philadelphia while he lived here but came back for the conventions year after year. He gave back. Now it’s time to Philadelphia to give back to him. The Change.com petition seems to have stalled at 364, 136 short of its goal. This despite the fact that you don’t have to be a citizen of Pennsylvania to sign it. I don’t want to be a part of a genre that can’t give Isaac five hundred signatures.

Swanwick’s plea must have worked. He was looking for 500 signers. The petition hit 3,000 signatures on April 25. Today it’s up to 3,223 on the way to a target of 5,000.

The mightiness of the internet has been verified once again with much pressing of the enter key.

Yet there’s still no plaque on Asimov’s old apartment building.

There never will be until somebody springs to have one made. The Pennsylvania Historical Marker Program isn’t going to pay for it even if they accept the application —

It is important that you consider the availability of funds in making this nomination. For your information, city-type markers cost approximately $1,400; roadside markers cost approximately $1,875. Final figures may vary slightly, and there are usually other costs incurred with the installation of markers and dedication ceremony.

Think Asimov needs plaque on his old apartment house? Buy one and go ask the landlord’s permission to glue it to the building. Come back and declare victory on the internet when it means something.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

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5 thoughts on “Swanwick Resigns From Science Fiction. Not.

  1. How about at 10 W. 66th St., Manhattan, where he lived for the last part of his life? Surely that’s a bit more important?

    Does anyone know where his father’s candy store was in Brooklyn, where as a youngster he read the stf magazines of the day very carefully so as to not break the spines because they still had to be sold?

  2. In the 1990s I introduced Glen Swanson, a space historian, to Dale Yeo, an SF fan in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and they teamed up to commemorate all-but-forgotten sounding-rocket research conducted in the Sixties. The Navy and NASA had launched rockets from the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula into the sky over Lake Superior.

    Dale made a trek through miles of weeds and brush to “Spaceport Michigan.” She found the remains of the abandoned concrete launch pad and rusted iron bits. She created a Web site devoted to the story. She tracked down retired participants in the launch campaigns. And she persuaded the fans of General Technics to donate funds to create a plaque for the site.

    So if Philadelphians, fans, and Asimophiles want a plaque enough, I am confident it can be done.

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