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 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 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 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.
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.
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