Saturday, January 05, 2008

Reece Morehead

I just finished reading your interview with Alfred Bester in Challenger 25. I'm envious. I got to meet him at MidAmeriCon, too, for the first and only time. Alas, my experience was not a happy one. After hearing him at a panel discussion, I went up and asked if he would autograph my program book.

His response devastated me. He did sign it for me, so I supposed I can't really kick – unfortunately, he was so unpleasant that I was very taken aback. I was as polite to him as I was to any author/pro whose autograph I wanted; he acted as if I had just ordered him to give me a blow job there in front of hundreds of people. After he signed my book, I thanked him, then got away from him as fast as possible. I'm completely mystified three decades later as to why he behaved that way. He had been one of my most respected sf writers. I can't fathom his reaction to my request.

It was even worse than the time at the 1996 Dragoncon when I asked my favorite writer, Robert Anton Wilson, to autograph some of his books for me. I had gone to the convention specifically to see and hear him and get one or more of his books autographed by him. When I spoke to him outside an elevator, he flatly refused. My wife, Susie, was so upset that she berated him for not autographing any of his books I had so lovingly brought with me. He still wouldn't.

C'est la vie. She badmouthed him for the rest of her life and practically spat his name every time I mentioned him. Most exceedingly strange, both times.

Bester was charming in his public appearances at MAC and polite to me. No way to know why he seemed offended when you saw him; perhaps it was nothing more than a bad moment. In any event. I hope talking/writing about this incident releases some of your confusion and hurt.

As for Wilson, I don't know him, so am not qualified to comment on the seeming childishness and arrogance of his attitude. Whatever reason he had for denying you an autograph, he certainly owed you an explanation for refusing such a simple, harmless, and complimentary favor. Any SF writer who accepts the hospitality of a convention and then refuses to interact with fans should quit the arena.

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