Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Winter 2004/5

 

Mike Resnick's Noreascon IV Diary

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday
August 31
Wednesday
September 1
Thursday
September 2
Friday
September 3
Saturday
September 4
Sunday
September 5
Monday
September 6
Tuesday
September 7

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Saturday, September 4: I dragged myself down to the coffee shop at (yucch!) 10:30 AM, where I met my editor from the Science Fiction Book Club, Ellen Asher, who wasn't a hell of a lot happier to be up in the morning than I was, but it was the only free hour we both had. She had purchased Down These Dark Spaceways, an original anthology of six futuristic hard-boiled mystery novellas, from me, an assignment I'd gotten at Torcon 3. I delivered the book during the summer, and hit her with some more proposals. There's one she claims to be anxious to do, but I gather we're going to wait to see the initial orders on Down These Dark Spaceways_ before we talk price. Just as well; I'm too busy to do much on it right now anyway. After that, we spent the rest of the meal talking horses. She's the ride-em-and-love-em type, like Judy Tarr and Beth Meacham; I'm the I-love-to-watch-them-race-but-they're-the-dumbest-critters-God-made type, like Josepha Sherman and Barry Malzberg. We found a common ground at 11:29 and had to leave at 11:30.

At noon I was on yet another African panel, made more satisfying by the fact that it was (I think) the first time I've ever been on a panel with Laura, who has brought me fame if not fortune as Laura Resnick's Father. Other than that, there wasn't anything said that hasn't been said at the last thirty such panels. This one was limited to Africa; usually it's about the Third World and is the one place I can count on meeting Lucius Shepard in the course of a Worldcon.

The second it was over I raced a couple of (indoor) blocks through the enclosed mall to the Marriott, where I spent half an hour visiting with Marty Greenberg. I had given him eight or ten anthology ideas to pitch, and as I write this the results aren't known yet. (They vary wildly; our best year we sold 5, in 2001 we sold 4, a couple of times - including last year - we sold none.) Toby Buckell joined us after a few minutes, and he and I went back to the Hynes at 1:45.

At 2:00 I had my kaffeeklatsch. This year Boston decided to have kaffeeklatches for the teetotalers among us, and literary beers for the drinkers. I hope the beer folks got a little something to drink; I never saw any coffee until I asked a thoughtful committee member to find some for me. (Now that I come to think of it, this was probably the sixth time in the past eight years that the kaffeeklatch neglected to provide kaffee.) As always, I came equipped with giveaways - autographed covers, autographed matte paintings from one of the early and never-made versions of Santiago, autographed trading cards from Chicon VI (leaving me only another 300 to give away over the next quarter century before I run out of them).

At 3:00 I had lunch with Scott Pendergrast of Fictionwise.com. He mentioned a project he and his brother Steve had wanted me to do back in 2001, before we all got too busy, so we're going to take another crack at it this winter or next spring.

From 4:00 to 5:00 I finally got up to the art show on the third floor of the Hynes. It was magnificent. The regular show had some fine work by Michael Whelan, Bob Eggleton, Donato Giancola, Don Maitz, and others -- the usual superstars - plus some excellent upcoming artists ... but the highlight was the Retrospective Art Show, with magazine and book covers and paintings from the 1950s and earlier by Kelly Freas, Ed Emshwiller, Virgil Finlay (my all-time favorite), Alex Schomburg, and more. Great show, second only to the Alex Eisenstein collection at Chicon VI.

At 5:00 I moderated the best-attended panel of the con. It was devoted to Jack Williamson, and featured his friends, his collaborators, his agent - a stellar line-up that included Fred Pohl, Dave Hartwell, Eleanor Wood, Scott Edelman, Connie Willis, Melinda Snodgrass, Stanley Schmidt, Larry Niven, Jack Chalker, Michael Swanwick, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple. What made it unique was not just the line-up, but the fact that Jack was tied in by phone from Portales, New Mexico - at 96 he doesn't travel to Worldcons any more - and his comments were fed into the speaker system so everyone in the huge room could hear. I think it was a great idea; why wait until one of our giants dies before we pay tribute to him?

Carol had spent the afternoon on a trolly tour with Laura. She took the trolly back to the hotel, while Laura opted to walk. She joined Eleanor Wood (my agent) and me and we went over to the Hugo reception, while Laura showed up there maybe an hour later. Tony Lewis had made an offer on NESFA Press's behalf for the collected Resnick/Malzberg Dialogues that run in every issue of the SFWA Bulletin. I ran the figures and told him that we'd need a little more front money before we'd sign. Then Catherine Asaro, the president of SFWA, saw me and mentioned that SFWA would like to publish it, but probably couldn't come up with the advance we'd need. So I found an empty couch, sat Tony and Catherine down together, and told them not to get up until they'd worked out a co-publishing deal. They eventually got up, so I guess they managed; at least Tony tells me they did, and they'll work out the details in the next couple of months. (And do you begin to notice how every deal will be done in the next couple of months rather than the next couple of days? That's why writers get so grouchy at bill-paying time.)

Next we went to the ceremony itself. The reason Connie Willis and I have toastmastered one Worldcon each and Gardner Dozois has never been a toastmaster, despite the fact that we're acknowledged to be among the most entertaining speakers in science fiction, is that we're always up for Hugos, and it's considered gauche for the Toastmaster to give himself a Hugo or announce that he's just lost one. So why did they pick Neil Gaiman, whose short story had won a bunch of polls in the spring and summer and was a lock to make the ballot, as this year's Toastmaster? (Mind you, I'm not complaining about the job he did; he was funny and fine and everything a Toastmaster should be. I'm merely suggesting that if the Toastmaster isn't supposed to be a nominee, someone messed up - and as the ceremony went on, someone messed up even worse.)

Bob Silverberg gave a very amusing and informative speech about the first fifty Hugo ceremonies - he's the only person to have attended all of them. Then came the plethora of lesser awards, and finally the Hugos - which were seriously marred by the fact that the idiot running the slide projector managed to flash the name of the Hugo winner before Neil announced it, and did it with more than one award.

The results are common knowledge by now, so I won't repeat them here, except to mention that I lost yet another one, this time with "Robots Don't Cry". When I saw the tallies later in the evening, I was surprised to see that I'd come in eighth among editors, though I only had four anthologies out (and the major one, STARS, was co-edited with Janis Ian), and I even got a handful of votes for best fan writer, which at least shows that someone reads these diaries.

After the Hugos Eleanor took us out to dinner, and for the second year in a row I signed some book contracts at a Worldcon meal (after 39 years of not signing any). These were contracts for the Pyr novel, to be called Starship: Volume 1 - Mutiny, and the Pyr collection, to be titled at a later date.

Then it was off to the parties, and I was having such a good time at them that I never remembered to hit the Hugo Losers party. I made it to SFWA, Baen, ASFA, half a dozen fannish parties, and wound up (of course) at the CFG suite, where I visited with Bob Faw until maybe an hour before dawn.

 

On to Sunday, September 5...

 

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