Gardner Dozois memorial, San Jose 2018

(from 17 August Facebook post)

Nice, typical day at a Worldcon. I attended a Locus Foundation meeting as a member of the board, with discussions about various aspects of keeping the magazine, and its attendant projects, going. The GRRM event to benefit Locus, a few days ago in Redwood City, was a big success (to the tune of $40,000+, I can mention because it’s been publicized elsewhere).

Wandering around the convention, through the dealers’ room and the art show (I don’t think I will be bidding on anything there), I of course ran in to many old friends — James Patrick Kelly, F. Brett Cox (whose new book I bought), et al — and a couple virtual friends, such as Henry Lein, whom I somehow connected on Facebook without ever having met him; now I have. We’re LA guys, with arguments about what is really LA. (The Nebulas in 2019 are at the Marriott hotel in Woodland Hills, where I lived for many years before moving up to the the Bay Area 3 1/2 years ago.)

The highlight of the day, though sadly, was the Gardner Dozois memorial, led by GRRM, with John Kessel and Pat Cadigan assisting. The audience overflowed the room. George was deeply affected, as a friend and collaborator of Gardner’s, as was Pat (“who will I call?”, she asked, after describing how she would call Gardner and Susan whenever she had major life events); but George managed to keep the tone upbeat, emphasizing Gardner’s humor and presence at conventions, in contrast to his existentially bleak short stories in the early ’70s when he first came on the stage, and in later stories like “A Special Kind of Morning,” “A Kingdom by the Sea,” “Chains of the Sea,” and “Strangers,” a novella which GRRM made the point that the later novel version was even better, and a brilliant work.

They all told stories about his antics at conventions, about his stuffing peanuts and other things up his nose…. and about his serious, professional personality, for which he won many Hugo awards over his tenure at Asimov’s magazine. Pat Cadigan described Gardner’s expertise at editing by how he rearranged — without changing a word, just rearranging — the last few sentences of her story “Pretty Boy Crossover,” to achieve a much greater effect. They told stories about Gardner’s early job in the Army (when he was thin and wore a long blond ponytail), where he would write up incidents about how soldiers died accidentally — by sleeping along side a tank, or by pissing on the third rail of a train; Gardner wrote up these incidents as advice that would always end with “don’t do this.. or YOU WILL DIE!” This became an audience refrain.

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