Sunday, April 27, 2008

Nebula Awards -- general recap

Here is my brief recap of Nebula Awards, which were in Austin last weekend. I could not pass up a chance to go, although there wasn't much for fans to do. It's a pro event, after all. The only fannish opportunities were to mingle with the pros at the autographing session on Friday and to watch the Nebula awards ceremony on Saturday. So I did both.

Missed a chance I would have killed for 20 years ago

The only autograph I got at the autographing session was Connie Willis', since none of my favorite writers were there, and neither was anyone so famous that I would want their autograph no matter what. Before getting Connie to sign a book, I got to eavesdrop to her amusing rant on Bush, in which she supplied some factoids about Bush I never heard before. Later at home I reviewed the pictures I took Friday night, and googled some of the names on the name tags, just being curious who those people were. The guy sitting next to Connie Willis was called Barry Longyear. Teh Intarwebs told me he was the author of "Enemy Mine", a story (and later a cycle of novels) on which a movie by the same name was based. That movie was my fondest remembered SF movie of the 80s. It pushed all the right emotional buttons for me. But I was no more than 18 when I saw it. If I had known that almost two decades later I'll encounter its creator! I probably would have prepared a speech and carried it in my memory for years to come, agonizing about the necessity to wait longer than I had been alive until I meet this person. :-)

Connie Willis, Barry and Regina Longyear at the Nebula Awards 2008 Connie Willis, Barry and Regina Longyear. More pictures from the Nebula Awards 2008 can be found in my photo gallery.

As it were, I briefly regretted not knowing who this guy was, and then realized that even if I had known him, I wouldn't have had much to say. I'm not under the spell anymore, and haven't been in a long time. Though I still remember what the spell felt like, and that's good.

Broken camera and photogenic faces

On Saturday, as I was driving to the award ceremony, my camera stopped working. No, it does not mean I take pictures while driving. :-) The camera was hanging on my neck, and it turned on by itself. It does that occasionally, I don't know why. Even a little jostling can cause it to turn on. But when I tried to turn it back off, it did not -- it got stuck in a halfway state with its lens partially extended. I tried to troubleshoot it the only way I knew -- by changing the battery. :-) It didn't work. I'll take it to a camera shop to see if they know of a quick fix. If not, I'll root through drawers for an extended warranty, on the off chance I bought one for this camera.

So it sucked not to be able to photograph the Nebula awards ceremony with equipment any more decent than my cell phone camera, which produces postage stamp-sized pictures so blurry your own mother wouldn't recognize you. And that's a shame, because there were some faces that begged for crystal-clear pictures. I'm talking, of course, of Michael Chabon, the winner of this year's Nebula for best novel ("The Yiddish Policemen's Union"). I remember when Chabon's wife, Ayelet Waldman, wrote that famous column for New York Times where she said she loved her husband more than her children. She said she could survive a death of any of their 4 kids, as horrible as such event would be, but if anything happened to her husband, she would see no reason to go on. Oh, what a shitstorm this column set off in the blogosphere! How horrified all the sanctimommies were that any woman would admit such feelings! So what I'm saying is, after I laid my eyes on Michael Chabon, I could kind of see how she might feel this way. :-) Even though my taste in men does not run towards delicate Elvish features combined with boyish charm, but... a face like that made me wish I had a good camera to immortalize it. I'm just sayin'. :-)

I'll write more about the highlight of the award ceremony -- Joe Lansdale's speech. I made sure to write down the stories he told before I forgot them. Some were funny; some were way too rambling for my taste. If I post them, I'll make sure to trim down the word fat (fortunately, I already forgot the details I consider irrelevant :-)) ... But what do I know -- maybe the rambliness is why people adore Lansdale?

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