Thursday, January 03, 2008

Lloyd Penney, Etobicoke, ON, Canada

A nice, big slab of paper labeled Challenger 26 arrived about a week or so ago…I guess Canada Post had to sniff it good to make sure nothing bad was arriving before handing it on to me.

Great cover … I agree that there’s nothing as wonderful to see as deep space photos, usually courtesy of the Hubble telescope. We see the depth of creation, and our increasing understanding of what’s out there. And yes, we also see the depth of human beings, and how low some of them can go. There’s been times I’d happily change my species, for I’m quite fed up with my current one. Why did we call it common sense when it seems to be so uncommon? We’re just too eager to kill each other, too happy to massacre others because we’re angry or unhappy or frustrated, yet we consider life sacred. How hypocritical we are.

Arthur C. Clarke is someone I would like to meet. I know the deck is stacked against me, but still, it’s good to know that while aged, he is still doing well. I had hoped to see at least one of the Benford brothers at the International Space Development Conference in Dallas…perhaps the next one we go to, which will probably be in Orlando in 2009. Carl Sagan is someone I’d wanted to meet, too. Popular scientists like Bill Nye, and in Canada David Suzuki, make science fun, accessible and understandable. Sagan did that, too, but got little reward for his efforts.

I disagree about that, unless world fame and the opportunity not only to create Cosmos and Contact but the Pioneer and Voyager plaques are considered "little reward."

The feature on Astrid Bear reminds me of our own costuming days. Yvonne and I competed in Worldcon masquerades in the early to mid-80s. The Spirits of Fire, Young King Neptune and Pet, and our award-winning Royal Canadian Mounted StarFleet. We had a good time, but it soured quickly when some of the people we competed against forgot that the competition was supposed to be friendly. We left masquerade in the late 80s entirely because of backstabbing and people screaming in our faces, and all the fun was gone.

Tom Feller’s article on insurance in post-K NoLa is timely … I’ve so much footage of wide-spread flooding in England. There may be the opportunity to learn something here.

All award systems are flawed in that no matter when happens some measure of bias can creep in. They are inherently subjective. So, any complaints about the Hugos or FAAns or Auroras or any other award should be taken with a grain of salt. Fan programming is also subjective, but many Worldcons are almost unaware of what fan programming consists of. IIRC, Torcon 3 had almost no fan programming, and a fanzine lounge I didn’t find until the third day of the convention. There was some measure of fan programming at L.A.con IV, and Milt Stevens’ great fanzine lounge.

Speaking of whom …


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