Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Chris Garcia

Susan Russell’s piece on the cover is a big switch from Taral’s cover for the last issue. Each works wonderfully in totally opposite areas. It’s a great cover and one that stuck with me. It reminded me, probably intentionally, of the drawings from the 16th Century that ships would bring back of things they saw … or thought they saw. A beast with a man’s head would fit right in on that scene.

One of the first books my Dad let me destroy from over-reading when I was a kid was the image books from Pioneer Saturn and Venus. There were some many impressive photos, and since my dad was 14 years, 11 months to the dad when Man came to the Moon, he was always a giant space buff. I read those books over and over, and on Space Mountain in Disneyland, I’d always stay behind because on the way out there were photos from those books on the wall and I’d just stare at them over and over. I’ve never managed to see much in the skies myself, but I love being areas where I actually can see a blanket of stars. It’s one of the reasons I like driving to and from Vegas in the dark hours of the morning.

There’s a strange collision of my worlds that has recently raised its head. A fannish friend of mine’s being railroaded for a crime he didn’t commit by a DA who is a friend of mine from a Film Festival I work with. It’s rough, especially since I know he’s innocent of the crimes because he was at a Con, but no amount of evidence seems to be enough. He’s been sitting in jail, waiting for his trial for almost five months now.

I must know details.

I had to explain Virginia Tech to The Little One, who was just in preparation for her 8th Birthday Party. Not an easy task for a girl who knows almost nothing of human death yet. It wasn’t easy, but I got her to the point of understanding that I suspect she’ll try and find out more as she grows. She also recently asked about the IRA and I had to explain that to her. That was harder. It’s easy for a kid to understand a single gunman full of rage shooting people than to grasp the political fortunes of two countries and their people.

That’s a great illustration with the Benford piece. I love stuff like that! It sounds like a wonderful visit and it’s another thing I’m fairly certain I’ll never get to do. I’m not a good flyer and even something as simple as getting to St. Louis by air, which I’ll be doing in a couple of months, requires a lot of mental prep. I gotta agree with ACC about one thing: We should be building a space elevator instead of fighting with each other.

Well put. As you know from reading The Antipodal Route, my DUFF report, I too am a lousy air traveler, and look forward to hearing how you handle transatlantic travel after you win TAFF.

Mike Resnick talks about something that I know a lot about: comedians. Mort Sahl was hilarious and a deep wit, but it’s comedy that has aged poorly. Lenny Bruce still holds up. Far better than anyone else on the list with the possible exception of Tom Lehrer. A few folks at my college wrote a musical using various Lehrer songs and Tom blessed it. I’ve never gotten to meet him despite his nearness to me both when I was living in Boston and out here in the BArea. I never had much use for Mike Nichols or Elaine May. Ernie Kovacs and Sid Caeser were OK, but both were ground-breaking TV. Jonathan Winters changed comedy forever. Without him, there’s no Robin Williams and most likely no Steve Wright or Mitch Hedberg, both of whom are modern geniuses. Woody Allen was a great stand-up and there’s a recording of his time at the hungry i out there that’s fantastic. Sadly, Mike leaves out my three faves of the 1950/60s: Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby and Freddy Roman. They wrote their own jokes and can still knock a guy on his ass on CD. I did a little stand-up and some improv in my day, but I always liked the idea of the Algonquin Round Table: be funny when you’re with your friends. Laughter around a dinner table is equal to all the performances you could ever give. There are still great comics. Mitch was one, and Steven Lynch, a musician and comic, is another. If you’ve never seen Dan Lustrum you’re missing out as he’s one of the greatest political wits ever. Plus you’ve got Louis Black and Maria Bamford too.

I must figure out how to get Julia Morgan-Scott to do some art for me. That piece with “Salad for Breakfast” is brilliant. Eve’s article is really great too. I’ve always wanted to go to Israel, but again that whole flying thing. It’s nothing but trouble, I tell you. I really keep kosher, though once in a while I make it a week or two, but my Grandparents have in the past forced it on us for various periods of time. These things happen.

I’ve only met Astrid Anderson Bear a few times. Nice woman. I’ve got one of her old fanzines in my traveling collection. The illo of the Bat and the Bitten was a great one too. I’ve seen the photo of it so often, but that’s a much better interpretation. [All hail Charlie Williams.]

Also a shoutout to the Little Men. We’re having the first Little Men meeting in years at Westercon in a few weeks.

It’s not easy being a guy who has never been able to fully appreciate Bobby Heinlein. I don’t know why, but I can’t get into him.

Carl Sagan was an important figure for making science that was honestly beyond most people seem like something everyday and understandable. Greene is the closest thing we have today. Nova is still on PBS, promoting science as a popular distraction and sometimes succeeding. There is a need for a new scientist to come forward and try and make particular areas of science interesting. For a large portion of Sagan’s life, he had Dr. Asimov also speaking and publishing popular science-type books. Wolfram was doing the same for math, Ted Nelson for computers. There was a backbone of popular science types and now there are few. We’re cutting the chances of another great pure scientist coming up by not having enough of the Big Name Scientists around.

I’m not the kind of guy who could keep his head on straight in a situation like being kidnapped in Peru. I could barely keep my head on when there’s a traffic jam in Mountain View. That was also a great illo from Kurt. I’ve been lucky enough to get a few pieces from Mr. Erichsen and he’s on my list for every major award for next year. It’s weird that every year a long-standing fan artist seems to change slightly and makes a solid impact. Last year was Brad Foster and this year it seems to be Kurt. I’m not sure how, I’d have a hard time pinpointing it, but it really seems like his stuff is different of late and we’re all the better for it!

So let’s get him – and Alan White, and Marc Schirmeister, and Charlie Williams, and Randy Cleary, and and and – a Hugo nomination next year!

The best hotel I’ve ever stayed at is the Hollywood Roosevelt. I’ve stayed at the Beverly Hills hotels of every stripe, mostly in suites (they put you up in them, four or five to a room, when you’re working on movies) the Presidential at the Four Seasons, St. Francis and Palace in SF and the Millennium Broadway and Caeser’s Private floor in Vegas, and nowhere comes close to the Roosevelt. I absolutely fell in love with the place. I stay there whenever I can.

Again another amazing illo for a great article. People’s Park is still there. Now it’s the hangout for drug dealers and has been a favorite place for sex pushers of all stripes. It’s a shame, but everytime any agency tries to clean the place up, the aging hippy community that has claimed “spiritual ownership” of the park rises up and thwarts it. They let it get as bad as it’s gotten.

Great issue, Guy! I can’t wait for the next one!

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