Sunday, June 23, 2013

15: SciFi is Not for Sissies; Westercon 66: A Skeptic Comes Home

Wrap-around Program Cover by Russ Manning
“western tanagers yellow and black   red heads   scrabbling for spilled popcorn   their movements take milliseconds   followed by frozen moments two or three magnitudes longer   sometimes four or five magnitudes   thus a visual illusion of  instantaneous motion between one stillness and another   for each ecstatic instant   we must an anguish pay”  2312

“Our stories go on awhile, some genes and words persist; then we go away.  It was a hard thing to remember.”  2312

The first Witchcraft and Sorcery Convention in October, 1971 at the Los Angeles Hilton Hotel was monumental for Outlaw Fandom.  It was there that we met and/or, for Reality News, interviewed Ray Bradbury, Forrest J Ackerman, Jack Kirby, Robert Bloch, E Hoffman Price, and others.  Price was the shiniest, craziest diamond in this solid sack full, overflowing with stories and memories regarding his days writing for the pulps, and especially those days with his friend, HP Lovecraft.  Bjo Trimble, this year’s Westercon Costuming Special Guest (along with husband John), was in charge of the art show, and it was at this con that a séance was held to contact Bela Lugosi.  Unbelievably, we were actually embraced by a host of fans and guests; Price would become a life-long friend who we would stay in contact with and run into several times in the years to come.

It was also at this convention that OF stalwart Macho Marty was “seduced” by a fan predator who we nicknamed El Bastardo.  Bastardo was a sleazy pseudo-“fan” who evidently hung out at conventions preying on attractive young women.  He was pretty disgusting in his own right, but the fact that he was married only made it worse.  That first night, he brought us to his home in Newport Beach, where his utterly charming wife gave us our first taste of Jack Daniels, which she affectionately referred to as her Tennessee sippin’ whiskey.  This of course only endeared her to us, but while we were sippin’, El Bastardo was making his moves in another room.  MM, though pretty tough on many levels (hence her nickname), was no match for this privileged, deep pocketed lothario.  Things just got worse in the following days; needless to say, just before we left LA, unbeknownst to MM, El Bastardo endured some very deserved “unpleasantness”.

I have finished reading my third Hugo nominee, 2312.  It is without a doubt not only one of the best sci-fi books I think I’ve ever read, but just an outstanding achievement, well written, great pacing, fascinating characters, an “experimental” approach to story-telling – I know, I’m just repeating stuff I’ve said in previous posts, but I’m here to tell you it holds up extremely well through to the end.  I have not read any other Robinson, but that will change, and I would LOVE to enter this world he created again.  HIGHLY recommended.

And now it’s on to 2013 Hugo Nominee number four.

To Be Continued

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