Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Rocky Road to Westercon 66: Sci Fi is Not for Sissies, Part 1

by William Fuller

Because of some troubling emotional problems related to science fiction, I started seeing Dr. Ackrabu about a year ago.  He is one of only a handful of counselors who specialize in sci-fi related disorders.  I didn’t expect to have that many sessions with him, but due to the nature of my issues, I ended up seeing him several times a week through last January; it has now tapered off to once a week.  His methods, admittedly, tend to the arcane, but it feels like progress is being made.  At first I bristled at his “Absinthe Protocol” and “Mote in God’s Eye Gambit”, but I must admit my “troubles” are less than they were a year ago.

At my session last week, besides my more serious issues, I told him I was afraid of the upcoming Western Regional Science Fiction Convention, that I hadn’t been to a convention in 30 years, knew virtually nothing about the current literary “scene”, and that I couldn’t face what I felt would be a humiliating and debilitating experience.  He listened intently, stroking his strong, attractive chin and rubbing his protrusive, shaved head.  After what must have seemed like a huge whine-fest, he sat silently for a few moments.  And then he spoke.

“There is only one way to deal with this.  It will not be easy, but it is imperative that you follow my instructions.  If you are successful, in addition to this specific issue, it may have a far reaching positive impact on your other problems.  Of course you WILL attend the convention.  And you MUST read all five 2013 Hugo nominees before July 4.  I know you haven’t read any so far because you say you no longer read science fiction.  But this is what must be done.  Do you understand?”

I was incredulous.  “Five books in one month?  I can barely read one or two!  How am I going to do that?  I don’t have any idea what those books even are!  I’ve probably never heard of the authors!  I barely even like science fiction anymore!  How will I find the time…”

He raised a hand and shushed me. “Do your research.  Get the books.  Do the reading.”

He rose from his plush chair.  My appointment, evidently, was over early.

“Man up, Mr. Fuller.  You have a little over a month.  Sci Fi is not for sissies.”   

To Be Continued  

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