More pictures of me (Frank Wu) and assorted important and upcoming sci-fi and fantasy writers, editors and artists, whom I have had the pleasure of consorting with.
NORWESCON, EASTER WEEKEND 2002The big professional news from this con was that my friend Ken Wharton won a special citation for the Philip K. Dick award and Richard Paul Russo won first place. This award was being given for the best science fiction or fantasy paperback published in the U.S. in 2001.
Ken Wharton, his special citation, and his novel Divine Intervention.
Ken's win, though, meant that he had to dance with Linz (Lindsey Johnson) and me. On the dance floor. With a whole bunch of people. To the B-52's. (And, as requested, we had also danced, the previous night, to "Time Warp" for Lori Ann White in absentia.) A really good con for me professionally, too. I got to stand in for Julie Czerneda, another PKD award nominee, because she was then at Madicon in Harrisburg, VA. The Madicon folks had asked her to be Author GOH before she found out that she was a nominee for the PKD. Julie and I had been, respectively, Writer GOH and Artist GOH at WillyCon (a small sci-fi con in Nebraska about a year ago), and it was the first GOH stints for both of us - so in a way we were freshmen together. So I was deeply honored and privileged and stand in Julie's place at the award ceremony. I did her reading, and when I went to the podium, I had an approx. two-foot wide cardboard cut-out of Julie's face with me. That got a good laugh. I can only hope a picture of that makes it into Locus.
Julie Czerneda (sort of), me, Ray Vukcevich, and Ray's book.
Other big laughs came when Ray Vukcevich read fragments of the marvelously left-field little stories from his collection Meet Me in the Moon Room (samples: "She'd have to clip his nose hairs, and his nostrils were as big as her thumbs." "...the monster had grown fruit overnight." "Johnson and his wife had spent a lot of money fixing the place up ... but it hadn't taken long to discover that a missile silo was an awful place to raise a family.")
As for me, the con was really great professionally. I won a small award
- Best Fantasy - Pro Choice Award, for my image of the evil fairy
godmother sunning herself and smoking a cigar.
I also sold a few prints after a dry spell of not selling anything at
several cons in a row, which was frustrating. Perhaps the economy is
picking up after all. Also had a chance to show some new original acrylic
paintings, which was really fun.
I also got to hang out with (in no particular order) Ken and his wife Kate, Patrick and Honna Swenson of Talebones, Derryl Murphy of On Spec, the mighty Gordon Van Gelder and the PKD first place winner Richard Paul Russo, Tangent Online reviewer Jay Lake, artists Fiona McAuliffe (who's discovered some alternative avenues for making money doing [non-sci-fi] art [like working for the Oregon parks department!]) and April Lee (who's done a ton of stuff for collectible card games like Legend of the Five Rings, Magic and Shadowfist) and Dave Mullins (who does military SF illos and just won a quarterly prize in the Illustrators of the Future contest) and RK Post (whose work I adore - and who rightfully won the Best Body of Work award in the art show), Writer of the Future winner Eric Witchey, Deborah Layne of Wheatland Press (whose Polyphony anthology will debut this fall at the World Fantasy con), writers Jerry and Kathy Oltion (Jerry and Jay, perhaps against their better judgment, allowed me to connive them into posing for some reference fotos for a painting inspired by Dylan's "Knocking on Heaven's Door," said painting involving weeping and gnashing of teeth, writhing on the floor in Rodin-esque remorse and agony), and Linz and her friends JoAnne and Lara and Jim Terman. ... All very fun.
Jay Lake, Eric Witchey, Fiona McAuliffe, me, Ray Vukcevich, Jerry Oltion, and Kathy Oltion, pretending to be the Temptations
Linz and plush Cthulu.
Random stories: Jay told me about this stone turtle in Mongolia, the only remaining thing standing in the rubble of what was once Genghis Khan's capital city. The only monument as far as the eye can see, in a sea of little bumps and ruins and scrubgrass, left alone because it was sacred to all three armies that fought there and destroyed the city. ... Derryl was pleased with himself that his home town in Canada was, to paraphrase "O Brother Where Art Thou," a geographic oddity, eight hours from everywhere. ... Patrick was taking bets on when Honna would deliver. Honna was not all to pleased when I said "May 8, 2 am," which is over two weeks after their due date (because, I thought, first babies are often late). She also said many people in the baby pool had picked weird times like 2 am or 4 am. Patrick also ran a "Talebones Live" reading power-session with Ray Vukcevich and others (which I, unfortunately, couldn't attend because two (!) of my six (!!!) panels overlapped that). ... Uber-Editor Gordon Van Gelder told a funny story about a submission with a bizarre kid's paper clip (the author explained that that was all she could find). He, alas, rejected the story and returned the clip, but I suspect that he was secretly asking to be deluged by all manner of strange or funky paper clip known to mankind. By the way, the SF Museum of Modern Art sells cool nautilus-shaped paper clips, and Gordon said that he hadn't seen those yet, but would probably be amused. (Of course, he would probably be even more amused by a really good story, alas). ... I hung out at a lot of parties, and one of them featured entertainment from Jessie McKenna (daughter of Marti McKenna of Sierra Online, Electronic Arts, ImagiNation Network, etc.):
I was a little disappointed I didn't get to talk much one on one with Brom, the artist GOH, but he did say something terribly funny. Brom's work, if you haven't seen it, is very dark and sometimes morbidly funny. He was showing a slide of an emaciated, deathly pale woman holding a dead man's head on a platter and he said, totally deadpan, "This is a happy painting." ... Another good quotation, from the audience, at a panel with Ken Wharton and others on what sort of technology we might see in the future: "Expect Weird."
Mark Tiedemann (who was also up for the PKD), David Alexander, the ubiquitous Ken Wharton, Jerry Oltion. "Expect weird."
... Jim Terman was also on several
panels, including a couple physics and future-weather related ones, but
curiously seemed to have the most to say on the "Sex with
Aliens" panel, though he protested that he had not never actually
had sex with aliens (to the best of his knowledge).
I also was on a panel about caricatures, which is odd, since I don't do caricatures. But, luckily, Larry Lewis was there, and he does. He had us all drawn him, and then a lovely female volunteer. He said my drawing of her made her look "regal," but, alas, I can't show you since I gave it to her. I did get Larry to do a caricature of me:
All in all, a really fun con...
WONDERCON, APRIL 2002
This was another fun one, this time a comics con in Oakland. I got to hang out with Rob Hole, Jr., whom I haven't seen since September. Rob (who says that he doesn't appear on film) is a wildlife artist who's shown his work at various sci-fi conventions. Rob's going to be teaching a couple one-session classes on California wildlife birds, reptiles, stuff like that. In light of the new insect order found, we had an interesting discussion about the insects and the classifications thereof and the possibility of finding new orders (or possibly even a new phylum) in the middle ocean. Also Rob has seen with his own eyes 400+ of the 1400+ bird species in North America. Pretty impressive.
WonderCon itself seemed like it was a fun con Erin Gray (formerly Wilma Deering of Buck Rogers) was there, signing autographs, and she looked pretty good, though I didn't get to meet her personally. There was also a Playboy playmate there, which didn't seem to fit in with the comics theme at all, but none of the (almost entirely male) audience seemed to be complaining. She was also sitting there at the table behind huge piles of (almost completely naked) pictures of herself, and not self-conscious at all. I think that would be a bit too out-there for me.
I said WonderCon seemed like it was fun but I couldn't really tell you, since I spent almost the entire time in the artist alley, selling prints (thank you, Lord). Really re-established my self-confidence (that in addition to the Hugo nomination for best fan artist) since not much of my stuff has sold lately on account of the economy. Also gave one print to Rob Hole (along with a Writers of the Future book) for helping me out at the table. Also traded a print with a woman who works in a prison ministry. In exchange, she gave me some copies of intense artwork done by inmates on deathrow. Complex, scary pieces dense with images (I guess they had lots of time to work on them), full of crosses, skulls, hands reaching out, weird symbols, pleas for help. Really intense, intense work. The print I gave her was of "The Tower of Babel," which she hoped to use as a basis for a story. Cool beans.
I also used my piece "Build Me" to lure people in. It's the weirdest, creepiest thing I've ever done, and it really stopped people dead in their tracks as they were walking by. Some of the people's faces were so shocked and puzzled and distressed that I had to take their pictures. Reactions were things like "Freaky" "Interesting" "Scary" "Weird" "Different" and "Disturbing."
I got a special treat because the artist sitting next to me was Russ Heath. When I was about ten, a neighbor gave me a Our Army at War/Sgt. Rock comic book. For those who don't know, Sgt. Rock was a tough but sensitive soldier wandering the theaters of World War II. In this one adventure, he wound up on a raft, lost at sea with a Japanese soldier. Though enemies, they vowed to keep a temporary truce, because they needed each other to survive (Cf. Enemy Mine, Hell in the Pacific, etc.). Then they see a boat in the distance. Is it yours, the Japanese soldier asks if so, then he will have to commit suicide, because he cannot allow himself to be taken prisoner. If it's a Japanese boat, then Sgt. Rock will become a POW. It turns out to be an American boat, so the Japanese man pulls out a gun to shoot himself. Sgt. Rock tries to stop him, but the Japanese guy still shoots himself. Then, as the American ship approaches, it turns out to be abandoned. The Japanese guy didn't have to shoot himself at all. All these plot twists and more - in a five or six pages of cartoon. Wow. This made a big impression on me as a kid, and I'm sure there is some Sgt. Rock in my artwork somewhere. So it was cool to meet Russ Heath, who had draw the thing that impressed me so as a kid. (A checklist of his work is here).
Russ Heath and me and "Our Army At War" issue 258.
And Russ also said that on the first page of the comic, there's a map of the world showing Rock's travels, and Russ always says, "Can you find me in the picture?"
There is no little self-portrait of Russ Heath in there. Nor
his name spelled out anywhere. Rather,
in the map, there is a tiny tiny arrow pointing to Chicago, where Russ was
living at the time, and in even tinier letters, the word "ME."
So that was Wondercon. A pretty cool and successful con.
Indexed list of fotos of me and luminaries (number indicates the page they're on):
Forrest J. Ackerman 1, Daniel Abraham 5, Carlo Arellano 2, Art car artists 3, Kage Baker 3, Greg Bear 10, Gregory Benford 5, Terry Bisson 9, Diana Blackmom 8, Ken Brady 8, Kent Brewster 2, (I'm Just a) Bill 3, Jae Brim 2 5, David Brin 7, Charles N. Brown 9, William Brown 1, Tobias Buckell 5, Jim Burns 8, John Burridge 8, Erwin Bush 2, Chris Butler 3, Ted Chiang 6, Eric Choi 7, Andy Clarkson 2, Hal Clement 5, Julie Czerneda 1 (big head Julie) 4 7, Ellen Datlow 5, John DeChancie 3, Kim DeMulder 7, Vincent DiFate 1, Cory Doctorow 5, James S. Dorr 6, Denise Duff 2, Bob Eggleton's hair 5 10, Harlan Ellison 7, Marina Fitch 2, Frank Kelly Freas 1 3 5, Esther Friesner 7, Susan Fry 5, Chris Garcia 10, Michelle Garrison 8, Lisa Goldstein 9, Kirsten Gong-Wong 9, Kelly Green 10, Joe Haldeman 6, Jennifer Hall 9, Russ Heath 4, Barb and JC Hendee 8, Alea Henle 6, Jay Arr Henderson 1, Raechel "Roach" Henderson and Matt Moon 5, Howard Hendrix 10, Nina Kiriki Hoffman 1 8, Rob Hole Jr. 10, iguana 5, Rebecca Inch-Partridge 1 5 10, Alex Irvine 5, Jaws 5 10, Rebekah Jensen 1 5 10, Lindsey Johnson 1 4 5 8 10, Tim Johnston 2, Mark R. Kelly 5, David Kile 7, James Killus 3, Jay Lake 4 8, Geoffrey Landis 8, Warren Lapine's hair 5, Deb Layne 8, Lenora Rose 6, Aurora Lemieux 8, Natasha Levitan 10, Val Lakey Lindahn and Ron Lindahn 1, Samantha Ling 9, David Marusek 5, Fiona McAuliffe 4, Tiffanie McCoy 5, Terry McGarry 8, Jessie McKenna 4, Besty Mitchell 8, Syne Mitchell 8, Mary Anne Mohanraj 2, Mike Moscoe 8, Derryl Murphy 2, G. David Nordley 9, Jerry Oltion 4, Kathy Oltion 4, Diana Paxson 10, Karen Perry 2, Bill Pierce 5 10, Tim Powers 1 2, Sergey Poyarkov 2, Ken Rand 8, Jonathan Richman 6, Kim Stanley Robinson 9, Dianna Rodgers 8, Rhea Rose 8, Deborah J. Ross 10, Rowena 7, Robert J. Sawyer 7, Ken Scholes 8, Liz Shannon 8, Heather Shaw 9, Robert Sheckley 6, Gary Shockley 5 9, Robert Silverberg 7, S.N.Arly 6, Wen Spencer 5, Ted Stetson 8, Carel Struyken 7, Patrick and Honna Swenson 2 8, Isaac Szpindel 7, Jason Taniguchi 7, Bruce Taylor 8, Jim Terman 1 5 9 10, Helen Thompson 6, Mark Tiedeman 4, Bjo Trimble 5, Jeffrey Turner 8, Carol Ullman 6, James Van Pelt 6, Carrie Vaughn 10, Vernor Vinge 5, Ray Vukcevich 1 4, Lara Wells 5, Ken Wharton 1 3 4 5, Leslie What 8, Michael Whelan 8, Lori Ann White 1 2 3 5 6 8 10, Connie Willis 5 9, Eric Witchey 2 4, Jason Wittman 6, Gary K. Wolfe 9, William F. Wu 3, Susan Yi 5, Melissa Yuan-Innes 1.
If you are looking for more fotos from various conventions, check out Mid-American Fan Foto Archive.