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Along the 101 July 17, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in contest, conventions, ghost towns, history, ideas, Tom Swift, Wild West, writing.

Not the California highway or even the 405 Carmageddon, but the 101st anniversary of the publication of the first Tom Swift book. One year ago today I was in San Diego at the TS100 convention and having a fine time. The day before I had flown in a Zeppelin and once at the convention saw amazing amounts of TS memorabilia, including set pieces from a TS movie never filmed.

And today is the final day of Mythcon 42. These people are academics and actually get gold stars on their chart for presenting papers, but the situation is truly weird. Jane Lindskold was asked to be on a couple panels. Her husband Jim Moore is a top archeologist for the state and currently working the site around Spaceport America. He gets weekends off so is also at the conference. He offered to do a presentation on ancient shrines. I would have been in the front row (ok, I was in the back row when he gave the talk about flint chipping a couple years ago at the public library but he was giving a demonstration of the actual process and I wanted to avoid shrapnel). He could attend the conference for free if he did nothing but would have to pay if he gave a presentation. I can’t figure it out. So no presentation on ancient shrines in NM.

But a standout presentation was given by David Bratman on Roger Zelazny and his affinity for NM in his work. Funny, insightful, the hour flew by. I don’t agree on favorites but then this is an art, not a science. (“A Rose for Ecclesiastes” is about my favorite short story, who cares if the science is outdated now?)

There was a full page ad in the paper today on the http://www.catchthekid.com state tourism promotion. Good for them. I hope this proves successful since it is a way to get tourists to out of the way spots. Won’t save the dying towns and near ghost towns, but perhaps something similar might (I still like the idea of getting Chinese tourists in to see the Old West. Let them sneer, let them make disparaging remarks, let them leave their remnimbis)

Back to Mythcon. Book sales are not what I’d call febrile, but there are some.



1. David Bratman - September 2, 2011

I was referred to your blog for your comments on my Mythcon paper. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’m a longstanding Zelazny fan and wanted to convey my enjoyment. I hope you didn’t get the impression that I was dismissing “A Rose for Ecclesiastes” for its outdated science. What I said about it was that, though inspired by ERB’s Mars, there’s nothing pulpy about the story except its premise. “Zelazny uses Burroughs’ high Martian civilization and alluring princesses, and his human hero gets a Martian girl pregnant, which by the 1960s was no longer a scientifically credible idea, but the story is serious and tragic in tone, and written in evocative prose with, as the title suggests, Biblical allusions. It was just the first of many occasions in which Zelazny would mix high literary aspirations with an appreciation of low, common-denominator cultural material.” That was intended as complementary, and I hope it came across that way.

The Mythcon committee informs me that the story you give is not an accurate account of why Jim Moore was not asked to speak, but I’m not at liberty to say more than that.

bobv451 - September 2, 2011

Your talk was truly laudatory of Roger. His Hugo for “This Moment of the Storm” made it home from KC in my care, and I took it to him waaay back when; he was responsible for me getting my current agent (of 30 yrs standing now). He said he wanted to do ERB stuff with “Rose” and a Carson Napier with “Doors of His Face…” He was well aware of the ending of the pulp era and those 2 stories are a great bridge between ’40s sensibilities and post-New Wave.

What I know about Jim’s talk is what Jim said at the time. I don’t think I misunderstood, but stranger things have happened.

May you continue to deliver such fine papers!

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