Saturday, May 06, 2006

My (Brief) Adventure at the Nebula Awards Weekend

The 2006 Nebula Awards Weekend is being held in Tempe, Arizona, a virtual stones throw away from where I live. While I wasn’t going to pony up for registration or anything, there was a big autograph session on Friday night that was open to the general public. I’d read about this far enough in advance to get a few books to have signed.

I showed up about 40 minutes before the scheduled beginning of the session and wait outside the room – the previous session is still in progress. There is a large table for purchasing books and quite a few people waiting – mostly people registered for the weekend, with only a couple local ‘geeks’ like me.

The previous session lets out, and everybody pours from the room (I get some brief amusement at the dress of people not used to Arizona’s climate). An old man comes out, kindly asks the woman sitting in a chair next to me near the door if he can use it to get a jump on signing books – this would be Harlan Ellison. He goes on to tell us that he’s signing with a $2000 dollar pen and the story of how he came to buy it. Anyway, he was clearly enjoying himself and I’m almost certain that the ink from his $2000 pen is worth more than the worn book club edition of Again Dangerous Visions that I had him sign – Mr. Ellison was kind enough point out that it is a book club edition. So, I was off to a great start being at the de facto front of the line for Harlan Ellison and he wasn’t running around naked or anything like some of the stories of I’ve read about him led me to believe was a possibility.

The previous session was a bit late in getting out (of course) so it was a bit disorganized setting the room up. Slowly table got in place with place names for the various authors attending; and the bar was brought in (always important). So I proceeded to have my various books signed by various authors. As I’ve come to expect, the authors were quite friendly and genuinely glad to be participating. Though I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for those that are a bit more obscure who had virtually nobody asking them for autographs, while people who were sometimes sitting right next to them had several people in line, sometimes carting (literally) boxes full of books to sign.

Books I had signed include Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link, Black Juice by Margo Lanagan (my review), The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (my review), Dreams of the Compass Rose by Vera Nazarian (my review), The Folly of Assumption by Lee Martindale (my review), The Labyrinth Key by Howard Hendrix, From the Files of the Time Rangers by Richard Bowes, Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright, Inventing Memory by Anne Harris, Tumbling After by Paul Witcover, and the first two books of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

As I’ve said everyone was very nice to speak with, though I’m not of a personality to speak overly long with ‘strangers’ in such a setting. Joe Haldeman was engaged in the sort of political discussion you’d anticipate with an old Vietnam Vet with a box of books to sign when I got there – I didn’t interrupt. John C. Wright happily informed me not to worry that Orphans of Chaos is a trilogy because he just sent off the final book in the trilogy, so I shouldn’t worry that he’d die leaving an unfinished work. Diana Gabaldon was exposing enough cleavage to the world that you’d expect a Harlequin Romance cover on her books. Of course she was very nice and who am I to criticize one’s dress (trust me). Howard Hendrix was extremely personable and happily told me about all his books. While I didn’t have a book to be signed by David Weber, he is one of the amusing people who can dominate a room and conversation.

Well, that’s about it – nothing earth shattering and no actual information about who won the awards, just my little adventure.


Danae said...

Sounds like fun.

And don't Diana Gabaldon's plots kinda revolve around love anyway? I mean, tis a significant amount of plottage, I'd gathered.

Anyway, glad you had fun, sorry you didn't see anyone naked.

Neth said...

Bah - that's not a crowd anyone would likely want to see naked (very few are IMO).

Race said...

Sounds like a good time.
Harlan was here in Minneapolis last month and did a signing. Very entertaining fellow. He certainly loves the sound of his own voice.

Joe said...

Oh, that sounded like good fun. I had good fun at Eastercon in the UK this year, but would love to have met Harlan. And Margo Lanagan as well. I've interviewed her for my work blog at FPI, but never actually met her, so I'm jealous! Black Juice is such a gorgeous collection, I've been passing it round folk in my book group.

BTW, on the Harlan front, if you feel like reading a graphic novel any time check out Paul Chadwick's Concrete which Dark Horse are now reprinting in order - Harlan said of it that it was the best comic work he'd ever seen adn he doesn't hand out endorsements like that willy-nilly. I missed them first time round and am loving these new editions (and wondering why I didn't tread them when they first came out?).

Neth said...


It was a fun time - I've never been to a true con, but I enjoyed this brief introduction fairly well. It was interesting to meet Harlan - quite a character. Margo Lanagan was as nice as you'd imagine her to be. Good interview with her BTW.

I've never been much of a comics guy, but I'll keep my eye out for it.


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