Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I went to Diversacon this past weekend. It's a small con. It peaked as 200 members a number of years ago and now is somewhere under a 100. Very quiet, but for me very pleasant. The guests this year were Bill Wu and Rob Chilson, whom I had not seen for more than 20 years. They are sf and fantasy writers much like me. We've been around a long time. We've never hit it big. We keep trucking.

Mark Rich, Mike Levy and Sandy Lindow were there from Wisconsin. Mark is a science fiction writer, poet and author of a biography of Cyril Kornbluth which is apparently excellent. I am going to buy it, though it costs $40. Sandy is a poet. Mike is a scholar and reviewer for Publisher's Weekly, among other publications.

I could keep going. The con was full of people I've known for decades... Grey Johnson, who reviews for New York Review of Science Fiction and SF Site; Dave Lenander, who founded the Rivendell fantasy discussion group 30+ years ago and has been active in the Mythopoeic Society for an equally long period; Phyllis Anne Karr, a fantasy writer from Wisconsin; Martha Hood, a writer from California, who comes every year. She has published in Tales of the Unanticipated, a local Twin Cities sf magazine... Greg said he needed to get a copy of Mammoths of the Great Plains, a chapbook of my work published in May of this year. So I gave him a copy, and maybe he will review it.

Over the years I have become friends with a number of people who do reviews and scholarly essays. These are all honorable people. They won't say kind words about my work because they like me. But they are likely to look at a book with my name on it; and if they like it, they will review it.

These kinds of friendships do not sell books or make one famous, but I like the regard of people I respect, and I like positive reviews.

One thing about reviewers who are friends. If they don't like something I have written, they simply don't review it. They don't write, "This is the worst garbage it has been my misfortune to read..."

I was commuting to the con from my apartment, so I did not attend parties. The high points for me were the panels on current adult science fiction and fantasy and current YA science fiction and fantasy. Mike and Greg were on the first panel. Mike and Dave Lenander were on the second. I also liked the poetry reading, done by a group including Sandy, John Rezmerski, Ruth Berman, Terry Garey and Mark Rich. (I am missing a couple of names. They may come to me.) And I liked the panels on mermaids and on rats in science fiction and fantasy.


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