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.
WORLD FANTASY CON, MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, 2002
Random pictures of some of my favorite authors:
Here is Joe Haldeman at a reading. In the first foto he's showing off a T-shirt a friend had given him because his latest novel - which came out Dec. 2002 [a month after these fotos were taken] - was originally called Listen to the Raven. But it was pointed out to him that this sounded like a fantasy novel, and besides, one-word-titles sell more books, so it's now called Guardian. He read a chunk of this novel - which was quite good. A woman and her son in Victorian times are on the run from the rich and powerful - and dangerous - father of the family. They are traveling by train and ship, but eventually will journey to other stars. Joe said that - in a part he didn't have time to read - it is explained that the woman has a scientific undergrad degree and part of the fun of the novel was portraying all these astronomical journeys through the eyes of Victorian-level science.
Another novel he read part of is a work-in-progress called Sea Change. It tells of a shapeshifter who comes to earth from a globular cluster. It has been thought that life cannot exist in globular clusters - those strange regions of space where stars are very, very closely packed together - as close as our sun is to Saturn, if not closer. And stars steal planets from other stars and then gobble them up. But Joe said that on the edges of such a cluster, life might exist. Inspired by an article in New Scientist, he envisioned a planet with a wildly eccentric orbit that was, at times, as close to its sun as Mercury is to ours, and then rapidly swung out as far as Pluto is from our sun, and then, just as quickly, back again. How could life adapt to such rapid changes in its environment? Only by rapidly changing itself, hence the shape-shifting abilities. When the shape-shifter lands on earth, it kills a surfer and then takes the surfer's form, perfectly matching his face and musculature, though it cannot speak and puts on its swimtrunks backwards. Joe also said that there would - later in the novel - be another shapeshifter, who had taken on various human forms throughout history. The shapeshifter had actually been St. Sebastian (the guy pierced by arrows). Joe reminded us that, contrary to popular opinion, St. Sebastian had not been killed by the arrows, but was nursed back to healthy by his girlfriend. Then, when the emperor found out, he was stoned. Or so it was thought, in Joe's story. When he explained to us that the shapeshifter could not be killed, someone in the audience shouted out that Joe should have made the shapeshifter Rasputin, and Joe seemed pretty tickled by that idea. That was great - to shape the novels of famous people as they are writing them. I love it.
Me (L) and the elusive Ted Chiang (R), who earlier this year won a Hugo award for his novelette "Hell is the Absence of God." Thus, I might add, he became the first Chinese person to win a Hugo. Ted is famously shy; he was at the convention where his Hugo was given out, but (he says) he didn't expect to win, so he was out to dinner at the time. Also, he hates to have his picture taken, which he reminded us just before I insisted that this foto be shot. We then teased him for being shy and withdrawn saying, "Hell is the absence of Ted Chiang" over and over until he made us stop.
James S. Dorr doing a reading and promoting his story collection Strange Mistresses. It was especially fun to finally meet this guy, as he was the author of the re-telling of the Cinderella myth called "Cindy," which instigated one of my most popular pieces. James said that he had printed it off the internet from my website and had it hanging on his wall. I was utterly touched.
Here I am with Robert Sheckley, only one of my favorite short story writers of all time. If you haven't read Sheckley's "Shape" or "Down the Digestive Tract and into the Cosmos with Mantra, Tantra and Specklebang" or the story he wrote with Harlan Ellison called "I See a Man Sitting on a Chair and the Chair is Biting His Leg"... then you haven't truly lived. Sheckley's story "The Seventh Victim" is the basis for the game Assassin. Anyway, it was a joy and pleasure to finally meet Robert after being touched so deeply by his stories, and I had a chance to call him "a national treasure."
Sheckley read for us part of a piece he's working on about an aged dragon hired by a town to stop a "rampant demonic underground railroad." It was very, very funny and all sort of made sense. Well, as much as any marvelously off-kilter Sheckley story can. He also made some interesting comments during the reading. At one point, he made a reference to "desert barbarians," and then said, "Note the clever way in which I don't say 'Moslems.'" He also noted after one particularly windy passage, "God what a sentence - this will be changed." Despite various computer glitches - the text was so new that he hadn't even printed it out yet - he was reading it off his laptop - he kept going, stopping periodically to say "No I don't want Norton Anti-Virus now," until the partial sentence "I could just---" and then it ended there. That's all he wrote.
Here we see James Van Pelt, checking out the booty of free books he got in his goodies bag after checking into the con. I had the wonderful opportunity to room with Jim and Patrick Swenson, editor of Talebones magazine.
Rebekah Jensen also sent me a bunch of fotos of folks at World Fantasy. Most of these people are from the Speculations magzine RumorMill, which is a newsgroup for writers (with some artist hangers-on like me). (Speculations is a perennial runner-up in Hugo award voting to Locus magazine - we must stop this madness and make sure Speculations gets its well-deserved Hugo!)
Much reading was done at World Fantasy, which amazed me since reading is a solitary activity, and the whole point of cons is to gather people together. Nonetheless, here are Lenora Rose and Lori Ann White snuggled under blankies reading on a cold November day in Minnesota. What could be better than that, reading under a big, thick, soft blanky?
Here's Lenora again with Carol Ullman. Lenora, btw, brought with her some marvelous pottery that she had made, carted all the way here from Canada. There was a bowl with a ring of dragons on the inside, and a mug with Celtic interlacing. All very cool. She also doesn't use her last name that much (psst, it's a secret - Heikkinen - don't tell anyone).
Carol has (what she calls) "some minor publications and other achievements under my belt" (whatever that means), and works full-time. So she's still looking (as are we all) for that golden nugget to fall from the sky and free her up to write more. Carol came with her mom Terry, who, unlike most moms, also hangs out at the RumorMill.
Here's Alea Henle, whom I'm sure has cool stories associated with her, though I didn't get the privilege of hearing them. There were just too many people - catch you on the flip side, Alea!
Much, much Scrabble was played at WFC, which was a con in which most of the attendees were writers, with a few artists and editors thrown into the mix. Here I am playing Helen Thompson, making two words with the X on a double letter, thus scoring 2 x 2 x 8 or 32 points for that one letter alone. That turned out to be most of the margin of victory, in one of five games I won, each time beating someone who's a writer. At a word game. But I'll stop gloating now.
As we played, Jason Wittman, S.N.Arly and Lori Ann White look on. Jason worked on Tile Chess (available from Steve Jackson Games) and has a story ("On Bookstores, Burners, and Origami") coming out on SciFi.com.
S.N.Arly - who is the nicest person in the world - explained where her nickname (which we were all envious of) came from. When she was little she would sit at a typewriter and write stuff. Her brother would come up from behind and want to read it, but she would cover up the paper with her hands, protesting. So he would rub the top of her head and say, "Snarly, Snarly, Snarly." The name stuck.
Helen Thompson is primarily a newspaper writer in Philadelphia, but she is also starting to write some slipstream science fiction. She aims to write two stories a year; good for her. Helen also posed for me for an illo for the story "Glass" for the Jay Lake story collection. Lori I've written a lot about, but I may not have mentioned that she recently had a story ("Target Audience") in Asimov's. I should also add that it was especially lovely seeing Helen again. We had met at PhilCon (WorldCon 01), and hadn't seen each other since. And, curiously, just an hour before we ran into each other, I had gotten a fortune cookie saying that I would meet up with an old friend. Imagine that.
JONATHAN RICHMAN CONCERT, SACRAMENTO, CA., 1/29/03
It was my friend Lisa Bartsch who originally turned me on to Jonathan, and it was a happy day when I found out that Sean Klein and his wife were also fans. For those of you who don't know, Jonathan wrote the "Pablo Picasso" song, which was remade for the Repo Man movie, and he also appeared in several scenes in There's Something About Mary. He's a wacky, happy, totally funny and fun singer. [For those of you who are wondering what a singer is doing on my page of sci-fi luminaries, I could argue that he could be included by virtue of writing songs like "Here Come the Martian Martians" and "Abominable Snowman in the Market."]
This was my first chance to see him, but Lisa had seen him three or four times before. He was playing at Old Ironsides, a Sacramento bar, and it was tiny and absolutely packed. As Sean noted about an earlier concert there, you'd need a crowbar to get more people in. As it were, Jonathan fans are nice and let Lisa up in front since she's short, and I tagged along. So there we were, right in the front, a foot away from him, our feet on the edge of the stage. It was by far the best small-venue concert I've ever attended.
We got there early enough to see him doing his sound check:
And when he was done, I told him how his Modern Lovers 88 is one of my favorite albums; I listen to that every two or three days, maybe more. One of the songs on that disc, "I Have Come Out to Play", recounts the joys of childhood, and Jonathan sings "And I've got the purple squirtgun here in my hand." So I brought a purple squirtgun and had him autograph it for me:
Thank you, Jonathan!
REBEKAH JENSEN'S HOW TO HOST A MURDER
Rebekah hosted a How to Host a Murder dinner party, and it was a real blast. She had prepared a sumptuous multi-course menu with wonderful soup and lamb and chocolate mousse. I lent her a (plastic) human skull and some ancient relics for decorations. The gist of the storyline was that there was a mysterious early human fossil found at a site on the Tigris river in 1895. Many of us are archaeologists, one an actor, one a home-wrecker, but all are suspects. Of course, I won't tell you who did it - but I will note the interesting fact that the person who wound up being the assassin was also (by coincidence?) the assassin the previous game that person played!
Les and Terra are William and Cindi Pierce; Missy and Con are Rebekah and Jeff Jensen; the Major General and Ashley are Gary Shockley and Lori Ann White; S. Kul Duggery is me (Frank Wu), and Anne is Lisa Bartsch; Hamilton MacTorr is Jim Terman.
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.