…wherein I send Ayn Rand out the airlock. (C’mon, it’s only the right thing to do)—
…in which I answer some of the most burning questions on the topic of writing science fiction rather than sci-fi. Or Syfy. Or skiffy.
Just back from ICON 38 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which proved to be an incredible blast right from the start. The inimitable Jim C. HInes toasted the other attendees, turning us into the con equivalent of The Avengers. Editor Ellen Datlow was so chuffed to be cast as Nick Fury that she wanted her own eye-patch. Also on hand were author Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, who blew me away in reading a great short story that slid the ground right out from under me (and who’s collaborated with no less an icon than Robert Silverberg on When the Blue Shift Comes; longtime friend and workshopping pal Nancy Kress, who belted out a few showtunes (caught on video); even longer-time friend, Bill Johnson, who’s still taller than most Ionic columns; sagacious author Jack Skillingstead, whose Life on the Preservation I’m really looking forward to reading; and Joe and Gay Haldeman, who need no introduction, as they’re icons themselves.
This is the amazing “little convention that could” that kicks ass in the middle of the midwest every fall. Thanks to all the convention people (and other authors hidden in this mix), some of whom were friends before, and others who are now and ever after: Denny Lynch, Mike Miller, Mark Moore, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Catherine Schaff-Stump, Michelle Pendergrass, Steve Tait, Celtic band Wylde Nept, Dana Beatty, and the ever-demented Trans-Iowa Canal Company. More astonishing still was the silent film “festival” presented by Michael Zahs, containing magic lantern slides and films he has recovered going back as far as 1894, and which included five previously unseen George Méliès films. That was sheer bliss to behold.
I know I’m leaving out more people: the high school students we got to talk to; animator Paul Heunemann and writer Chris East, who came out to the book signing at Barnes & Noble; and whoever I’ve forgotten to name. Thanks for a great time, all.