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Dept. of Peeking Out


It's the middle of a work day, and I should be, you know, working. But it's also the first time since I arrived home that I've had the emotional energy to post more than anonymous comments on [community profile] fandomsecrets and therefore, I shall take advantage of the unexpected spoon or two that are sitting there, looking at me expectantly as they wait for me to use them.

Goodness, that was an attenuated and badly constructed sentence; far too full of poorly knit together imagery. Go back to your typewriter! I am tempted to say to myself. But I shan't.

First things first: to all of you who have been having frustrating times, hard times, worries and sorrows; I have been keeping up as best I can, and believe it or not, a number of you have been in my thoughts every day. Hurts and worries suck, to put it ineloquently, and I wish you all quick surcease from them. To a particular Louisville Lovely - hugs and thoughts and much, much more.

Second: I've been watching the deterioration of Syria for close to two years now, and am not much looking forward to what may well be an escalation of it. I have to add my full-fledged cheer to this suggestion, from Charlie Stross, which I read courtesy of [personal profile] supergee . If this does not happen in its entirety, and it won't, I urge us all to send money to the groups who work to save lives on the ground in Syria, whether it be Doctors Without Borders, the Red Crescent or any other group.

Thirdly, and again thanks to
[personal profile] supergee I link to this interesting meditation on traditional science fiction fandom, the Ur-Fandom for all modern fandoms in which I partake, and some thoughts on the manner of its' aging. I've always felt that when online friends and acquaintances talk about being in this or that fandom, that they don't realize they're already part of a much larger fandom. Sadly, many of them know nothing about it, for any number of reasons. Even more unhappily, too many of them may have heard about traditional SF fandom and have had cold or unpleasant experiences trying to get involved. To them I say, don't stop trying. Even as gafiated as I am right now (ask me about that term, youngsters! Heh ...) I can honestly say that SF fandom saved my life and continues to be a central part of how I identify myself.

And finally, Fred Pohl has died. He was, as Neil Gaiman says,  a whip-smart science fiction editor, a brilliant writer of thoughtful, unblinking, funny and frightening speculative fiction, who imbued all those unblinking, funny and frightening tales with a great deal of heart. And he was a fan. Even before you take a look at his fiction writing, (either by himself or with C.M. Kornbluth) I'd direct you to his autobiographical book "The Way the Future Was", to learn about the early years of SF fandom. Along the way, there's a good chance you might fall in love with him.

I got to meet him when I attended Seacon, the 1979 World Science Fiction Convention held in Brighton ("Brighton is Fine in '79", the slogan went, and so it was) and he graciously let someone photograph us together.

 photo 382dc272-3153-4671-b38e-49a60c205e76_zps1f08b941.jpg

I have no doubt that this took place hundreds of times in his life. But he acquiesced with grace and a beautiful smile, thrilling a young fan beyond all measure with his kindness and gentle politesse. As a human, he never stopped being a writer. As a writer, he never stopped being a fan (he won a Hugo for best fanwriter back in 2010, in fact.)  And as a fan and a writer, he was a remarkable human.

He is the kind of fan, and the kind of writer, that makes traditional SF fandom ultimately worth getting past the unwelcoming chill that occasionally emanates from it.

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/268685.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 4th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
Awesome pic of you with Pohl! Back in the 80s, I read an interview with him in Xignals before I ever read any of his books and he struck me as a great guy.
Sep. 4th, 2013 11:52 pm (UTC)
He really was, I think. He is the kind of people cynics secretly wish they could be; someone who is far from naive, and occasionally prepared to do or deal with tough or sometimes brutal things - but who still has hope for the world. At least that's how he seemed to me to be, from his autobiography, and from his fiction.
Sep. 5th, 2013 01:27 am (UTC)
Ooooh, you met Fred Pohl!! (Also I think I had those same glasses in 1979. :) ) I was so sad to hear about him dying - I love his books.

*hugs* to you
Sep. 5th, 2013 01:43 am (UTC)
Also I think I had those same glasses in 1979.

They were practically the only fashionable thing I wore at the time, and I wore them long after they became unfashionable. At least until I understood that wearing eyeglasses that huge with Really Heavy Actual Glass lenses was starting to put permanent red marks on my nose and cheeks. Heh.

And I can tell you that I kept the smile I had on my face in that picture for hours and hours after it was snapped. It's one of my favorite shots from that long-ago convention, because he was just that awesome.
Sep. 5th, 2013 04:27 pm (UTC)
I hope you get a whole drawerful of spoons soon. ♥

(And, aw, the photo is great!)
Sep. 6th, 2013 05:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'd love more spoons; I'd be glad to send loads of them to you as well!

And thanks for the kind words about the picture. It was long ago and far away (really; more than 30 years and across the Atlantic), but very, very close to my heart.
Sep. 7th, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
Aww. And don't worry, Sylvester McCoy is going to give everybody spoons; he says it will end all wars. (I think he means for us all to play them instead of fighting, rather than metaphorical spoons, but it made me smile when I read it somewhere.)

Sep. 9th, 2013 04:55 am (UTC)
Awwww, this makes me even more determined to see some Seven. What a sweetie.

Although I'm not sure I could play spoons very well ....
Sep. 9th, 2013 03:38 pm (UTC)

And, yes. I think I'm lucky - when I was eleven or so, I had Seven and Ace as my heroes, especially Ace (I was definitely going to grow up to be her). And now I'm much older, I don't get disillusioned by inconventient rl facts - Sophie and Sylvester seem to both be very nice, very enthusiastic about Doctor Who and are huge friends in rl. And, yes, Sylvester always sounds very quirky, a little mad, very sweet and kind - and still happy to be the Doctor and save children from being afraid of Daleks at signings! And he's totally going to give us all spoons. ;-D
Sep. 6th, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
Ohhh, bless...I am sorry to hear of Mr Pohl's passing. I remember you mentioning him when I visited. I'm sad that I'll never get a chance to meet him.

Ohh, honey...I'm getting help. Mr Jay has made contact through a friend, I am getting new wifi and phone set up, friends have come to my rescue through PayPal...I am truly blessed. And overwhelmed with 'O_o?!' and blessed.

All my love to those who may be struggling. And some extra for you, BB and FB and the Babies. Miss you guise...you have NO idea.

*hugs you hard*
Sep. 6th, 2013 05:04 pm (UTC)
I'm so very glad to hear that people are helping you get through this. I've been through years of the kind of "fun" you are dealing with, and have dealt with, especially through the last couple of years, and it was friends and loved ones who got me through. I can't think of anyone more deserving of help and love than you.
Sep. 9th, 2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
*hugs you wordlessly* Thank you, sweetie. Your kind words have made my month!! And my lovely friends *nudges you* have made my decade!

Sep. 7th, 2013 01:50 am (UTC)
Fred was my example of It's a Good Thing He's so Nice or We'd Have to Kill Him.
At one point, there wasn't room to display everything, so up on a closet shelf were about 8 Hugos and 4 Nebulas . . .
Sep. 7th, 2013 04:31 pm (UTC)
It's a Good Thing He's so Nice or We'd Have to Kill Him.

Absolutely, and yet you could see and understand that he could be as tough as nails when needed.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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