Wednesday, July 3, 2013

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

(At left)  Tough guy Spencer “Bubonicon” (notice the shirt) Sparrow berates Happy Jack as members of Outlaw Fandom leave a Santa Barbara Emergency Room on the last day of Westercon, 1974.  Rumor has it that HJ, engaged in a Man from U.N.C.L.E. LARP, tripped while leaping over a tall fence, fell prostrate, and was brutally attacked by unknown THRUSH fan assailants, resulting in his broken arm.

When discussing SASSAFRASS and Outlaw Fandom in these posts, I have tried to be as factual as possible, but many of the actual events as they occurred remain murky.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who tried to help clarify matters.  Since this is my last post (at least for the time being), many episodes will remain unexplored for now: the terror drive home from Santa Barbara after Westercon 27; the pitiful attempt to run out on the Los Angeles Airport Marriott bill after Equicon when OF realized it had no money left (Johnny Law eventually reared his ugly head and all accounts were settled); the encounter at Equicon with a drunken George Takei groggily exiting an elevator; a sublime visit to the Ackermansion in the early eighties,
where Forry invited us in to his actual house, showing us usually unseen art and other treasures; Ozzie playing the 34th Westercon in Sacramento.  Here’s to all the incredible written words and authors who wrote them, especially Ray Bradbury and E Hoffman Price, two of the finest people we met. 

And now, on to the putative reason for these posts. 

The 2013 Hugo nominees that I read, rated (A to F, just like in school) and with very brief comments, all started and completed within the last 30 days:

Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed: B; recommended if you like sword and sorcery and a swashbuckling good time, especially if you’re a fantasy fan.
Redshirts by John Scalzi: B; recommended if you like sci fi, a hilarious premise, wacko characters, meta-fiction and/or are a fan. 
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson: A; recommended if you are alive and have the ability to read.  A wonderful book that deserves as much recognition as possible.  Beautifully written and realized.
Feed (instead of Blackout) by Mira Grant (NOT a nominee this year; see previous posts for “explanation”): C+; recommended if you like “thrillers” and/or want a compelling “beach” read.  It’s a new (to me at least) approach to the zombie story with some compelling twists along the way.
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold: Not Read.

Thanks to any and all who may have joined me, even for a bit, on this journey.  Perhaps we’ll chat at Westercon?

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