WorldCON Day 4

Hugo Award circa 2005

Image via Wikipedia

 

Yesterday I got to listen to Sheila Williams, editor of Asimov’s Magazine, talk about her selection process for submissions.  I came into the panel late but it sounds like they accept binary submissions now.  She also said that she reads the story first, before the cover letter.  She likes happy endings (but doesn’t focus exclusively on that) and Asimov’s doesn’t lean as far toward hard-scifi as some other magazines do.

I also listened to an interesting and informative debate between George R. R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass about the changes that occur to an author’s work when it goes to screen.  Both seemed to agree…for the most part…on the necessity of certain changes when converting the written word to a visual medium.  However, George had a very large burr in his saddle about changes which remove the heart of the story, particularly when it is done for reasons which do not seem to focus on the quality of the end result.  Milinda’s primary reaction to George’s gripe was, “If you don’t want changes to your story, don’t sell it.”  The exchange seemed a little bit unfriendly, but I suspect that that part was more than a little bit staged for dramatic effect. 

This was my last day of my first experience with the World Science Fiction convention.  I came home this morning after spenting four days rubbing elbows with enthusiastic fans of science fiction, with icons in the genre mixed in with the crowd.  I come away with a totally different perspective of the genre, the fan base, and the system.  As I watched the Hugo award ceremony last night I saw some people whom I had stood very close to throughout the week walk up and receive the most prestigious award in science fiction, or present it.  I could not help but appreciate just how close the artists and the fans are tied together.  Few famous film actors were visible, though I did see a couple in my comings and goings.  The source of all things sci-fi seems to move and breathe unseen by the body of the general public who purchases it, but also seems to sprout invisibly from it.

As for the Hugo award itself, the designer of this year’s base (the part that holds the rocket) made it to look like the rocket has landed on the surface of an unknown world filled with various interesting forms of life.  In these days of uncertainty and change regarding the space program, this beautiful and poignant reminder of the Edwardian roots of science fiction moved me deeply.  I wish I had an image of it to show you.

On the way out I spoke briefly with Mary Robinette Kowal at the airport, congratulated her on her new Hugo, and told her that Hugo recipients sometimes end up quitting their day jobs.

For her that means puppetry though, which is definitely more fun than most day jobs…so maybe her Hugo won’t change her life so much after all.

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~ by Bill Housley on August 21, 2011.

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