I had a fantastic weekend at Capclave, hanging out with my friends. Below are a scattering of things that were said then. I apologize for how many of them are my own quips and comments, but I didn't think to take notes.
And then I heard . . .
I ran into George R. R. Martin and mentioned that I got a kick every time his fame broke into a new category. "I never in my life dreamed there would be bobbleheads," he replied.
To my surprise, George hadn't yet heard that there were two porn parodies of Game of Thrones in production. When I told him that, he said, "Maybe I should try out for a role."
George's wife Parris, a long-time friend, recommended A Feast of Ice and Fire, the companion cookbook to the series, saying, "It's not just a good book, the recipes are delicious."
Michael Dirda and I chatted for a while on the virtues of James Meeks' terrific novel The People's Act of Love, which I read on his recommendation. I told him that when when I was in Ekaterinburg and said that at Englishman had written a great novel about the Russian Revolution, they denied the possibility and wouldn't even allow me to tell them its name or the the name of the author.
Anatoly Belilovsky and I chatted about Pavel Amnuel's story, "White Curtain," which Anatoly translated into English and which Gordon Van Gelder is going to publish in F&SF. "Amnuel is at the top of the second rank of Russian science fiction authors, just below Yefremov and the Strugatskys," he told me. "But this is going to be his first English-language publication."
I ran into Charles E. Gannon, who showed me his latest book, Fire With Fire. "The second book in the series will have a very different cover," he said. "I like it, but worry that readers will want a series with a uniform look." To which I replied, "Remember Heinlein's covers back in the Sixties?"
There was a panel on writers who used primitive technology, where Howard Waldrop, who was the poster boy because he doesn't use email, absolutely destroyed the basic premise of the panel. He was asked how he managed to find carbon paper and replied, "I used to buy it at yard sales. But now I just use a copier."
David Hartwell told me that the second and final volume of William H. Patterson's biography of Robert A. Heinlein will be out next year. "I never realized it before reading this," he said, "but Heinlein was a bit of a con man."
I spoke with Ian Strock about his Fantastic Books print-on-demand company which is publishing an interesting mix of old and new books. He looked genuinely happy over how well it was doing. "I'm able to sell works in the public domain for two dollars less than than books where I have to pay the author," he said.
"It's traditional for you to buy a magazine from me," Darrell Schweitzer pointed out, so of course I did. I am a slave to tradition. But I can't seem to remember how this specific one ever began.
My own personal best moment came when, on one panel, cartoonist Steve Stiles said, "I hate fucking unicorns." To which I replied, "Then STOP DOING IT!"
On the George and Howard and Gardner panel, Gardner Dozois reminisced about the infamous Barbara Marx Hubbard Nebula banquet speech: "Evolution was bunk, she said. We were were all beamed down from outer space, whole and perfect. At which point, Michael Swanwick leaned over to me and said, 'Then why do I have an appendix?'"
At the same panel, Gardner described the presentation Howard had once done at a Worldcon of all the science fiction movies ever made, the peak moment of which was when he had everybody don 3-D glasses and then threw wadded-up sheets of paper into the audience, shouting "Meteor storm!" For years after, convention planners begged him to do it again, but he never did and swears he never will. "Howard is as stubborn as a mule," George said.
However, at my final panel, I took a snapshot (above) of Howard summarizing the plot of The Invisible Man. So never say never again.