simpsons, Chris


SO, there's a new issue of Journey Planet up on! You can give it a read at It's the Sherlock Holmes issue of Journey Planet, which was a ton of fun to do.

Now, I've not read a lot of Holmes, I'd read a story or two, maybe, and had done the Hard Case Crime novel version of The Valley of Fear, but after this issue, well, I'e been giving some more a chance. I got a story about a set of submarine plans and a guy on top of an Underground train that was really pretty awesome. We ran an article that discussed it, the train part specifically, and I read it looking for clues to answer that article. That's one of the things I love about doing theme issues, it often takes me into areas that I wouldn't have made the effort to get to.

ANd those things sometimes happen.

If you like Holmes, go and give it a read.
simpsons, Chris

You might say I'm a geek...

I don't know how I had not heard about, but alas, I had not.

And now I have.

I am, in fact, a geek. I'm a lot of different geeks, actually.

I'm a video game geek, as I often watch a movie or read a book and say "they're gonna make it through, this is only the under-boss of the level" and often have the sound effects of video games going off in my head when I read a fight or chase scene. I'm a movie geek as I love not only SF Blockbusters and schlock cinema and foreign works of art and brassy musicals, but ephemeral films, documentaries, propaganda films, old commericals and music videos. I'm certainly an SF geek, and a horror geek to a degree, and a wrestling geek and a food geek (as opposed to a Foody) and I'd say I'm an Awards geek, and not just ones that I find myself on the ballot for, but all sorts of awards in all sorts of fields. I'm a lists geek, as anyone who has read The Drink Tank issues dealing with the National FIlm Registry or my love of Halls of Fame and the like.

And I might be a Fanzine Geek. Maybe...

In other words, I love the geeking lifestyle, always have.

And without that, I wouldn't be a curator today. I've told the story before: ten years old, Forry's place for a tour and I fall in love and somehow hear Forry say the word "Curator" about his collection and I fall in love with the concept once I look up what it means. For the rest of my life, I want to be a curator, and somehow I've duped a museum into letting me be one! That happened because I was a young geek who went someplace awesome and came away with a new hope.

Geekery has informed my world view, introduced me to amazing people around the world, let me say all the stupid things that pop into my head and have people read and and generally made me a happy guy who has a rosy image of the world he lives in because I'm living in the Age of the Geek, which I find beautiful.

So, there it is, I'm a geek, but I suspect no one reading this is surprised.
simpsons, Chris

Alas, Dangerous Visions...

So, I've begun working on the 7th Annual Giant Sized Annual, which isn't do until January 31st. Why so early? Well, it's going ot be a big project. I'm planning on covering both the released anthologies and a bit on Last Dangerous Visions (maybe I should ask Chris Priest to write something?). I've got some fun plans, especially with regards to the Last Dangerous Visions section.

So, why do I write about this here?

Well, I'm looking for articles! I'm hoping that folks might be willing to write either about individual stories from the anthologies (so far, only three stories are called: Auto-de-fey, Aye, And Gemorrah and Gonna Roll The Bones) and I would love to have some more folks.

So, if you're interested, I can even lend you the books!

Interested? garcia @ computerhistory dot org
simpsons, Chris

From Facebook: My Mostly Entire Thoughts on the Westercon 66 Thing

Andy called me right after they had the Granzella's bid idea and I loved the thought! It was good stuff, sounded like great fun and I hopped on the bandwagon happily. I thought it sounded like fun, I had a blast with both the Casa de WorldCon and AhwahneeCon bids and thought this would be a good laugh.

And you know what, it was!

I had fun coming up with fake Olive Facts, I loved the ones that Leigh Ann came up with. I loved the sense of fun that it had. Above all, bids should be fun, no? Well, maybe that's not true, they should be informative, interesting, and fun. For a good example, look at the London 2014 bid. Great parties at lots of cons, lots of great info, fun videos, it's got it all. The bid for this year's Westercon was a pretty good one. It got the name out there and by the way Glenn managed things, he made sure that there was a sense of fun to everything. I don't do anything I don't think is fun unless not doing it'll land me in prison or without an apartment to call home.

Andy and Kevin took it in another direction.

They made it both a Voter Education thing, which is a good and important thing (to paraphrase John Hertz) and they released the Olive Manifesto, which was exactly the kind of thing that one should do when a Hoax gets Real. I kinda feel bad because my participation was less-than-serious, but what can I say? I'm a terrible hedonistic human being.

There were several things that troubled me. In the meeting, the gentleman who basically said "Shame on you for stealing a Westercon from a real bid!" OK, you can look at what happen and come away with that feeling and it's understandable. On the other hand, what Kevin and Andy did was bring folks in, many of whom would never have voted in a Westercon site selection, and they made them care. They held a harsh light up to the problems with the Portland bid and they refused to give up and let it just be a "Hoax Bid". They didn't have to go to the Business Meeting and enter a bid. They did, and they were awarded the convention.

Some called it dirty pool. I can see their point, but I don't quite see it like that. Not Dirty Pool, but maybe Dirty Tennis. In the early 1900s, tennis was a thing played with a specific set of rules and expectations, things like rushing the net were never to be done. Someone saw this and began to play differently, putting spin on the ball, making serves difficult to return. The players at the time had to adapt or they had to go off and retire. The ones who retired thought of the style of play those newer players as 'Dirty Players'.

The ones that retired didn't effect the future of the game. Tennis grew out of those folks who saw that a change was needed. That change came from the ones who made the game interesting.

There were folks who approached me right after the business meeting who were certainly angry, one of which saying that A Joke Bid beat a serious bid because they were popular. "Why should anyone bid if the Popular Kids can just come along and steal it away from you?" she said. I asked "If the Popular Kids had filed and won, would that have been OK?" She got flustered and left. Utah, on their bid Yahoo Group, mentioned that "It could happen to us" and you know what, that's the best message to take away. If you aren't as solid a bid as you could be, you're vulnerable. Unopposed does not mean Seated. Unopposed does not mean free and easy.

Glenn, by the way, did it right. The Westercon 64 bid was solid, smart and didn't just accept that it was going to win. It bid like it was running against someone, and in a way all bids are running against None of the Above. Christian & Co. did it right for Westercon 63's bid, as did the bids for Vegas, and the one for San Jose (which turned out to be San Mateo). These were good bids, they were ones that ran, that did not merely accept that they were going to be seated. They put a ton of effort into it and though they had very different outcomes as far as the actual conventions go, they did their bids right.

At least from where I was sitting.

Why should anyone bid if these things can happen? These things couldn't happen to a bid that had its act together. I get it, there was Life that intervened, and honestly it sucks, but show me a bid or a con that hasn't had that sort of thing happen. Part of showing that you can handle a convention is a bidding process where you can work through those sorts of things.

Why bid? Because you have a vision for a convention that you want to see come true. That's why you bid. If you love Westercons, and I do, then you bid because you want to see your fingerprints on one. I really think that the single best reason to bid, to chair, to work a con. Why do I do Fanzine Lounges? So that there'll be some little mark that I left on the experience of a convention, and I hope it'll be a positive one. You bid because you want to make that mark, but first you have to convince people that your mark is the one that should be made for that con. Kevin and Andy did that, they did it beautifully. Portland really didn't.

All this adds up to several things. Portland took the mound, had a bad outing. It wasn't busted down to Triple-A, but now it knows what it has to work on, it can tweak its mechanics. I really think Portland can put on a good Westercon, though I am much more interested in seeing what fingerprints Kevin and Andy and the rest of the committee put on their Westercon.

And I hope they'll let me run a Lounge.
simpsons, Chris

Journey Planet Dune!

SO, the issue of Journey Planet I'd been waiting for us to be able to do was the Dune issue, which we got Yvonne Rowse to guest edit for us and Ian Sorenson wrote some great stuff, Daves (Hicks and Hardy) have great stuff, there's an article about some actual personages that play a role in Dune, there's my silliness, James Bacon looks at the covers, Andy Trembley puts Avatar in it's place (and gives props to Wikipedia!) and there's a whole bunch more!

I really like this one and think Yvonne did an amazing job with the layout! is where you can find it!

simpsons, Chris

The Ten Things You Probably Haven't Done thingee

OK, so yes, I am a memefiend, though I hate the concept of memes (they're a hoax, pass that on) so here is my ten things list

1) Dated two women each worth more than 100 million dollars at the time.

2) Had my computer on display at The British Museum.

3) Hit on Gwen Steffani without knowing who she was.

4) Watched a short documentary on my life and refused to accept it was real.

5) Presented a Hugo while wearing a Fred Flintstone shirt and Dr. Who scarf

6) Beaten the inventor of SpaceWar! Steve Russell and Atari founder Nolan Bushnell playing SpaceWar!

7) Offered Dan Ackroyd a Nutter Butter Peanut Butter Sandwich, He declined.

8) Sat next to Dr. Kevorkian on an airplane

9) Had two dates to my Senior Prom (you might have done this is you are a sitcom character)

10) Played a Mime in a short film.

simpsons, Chris

New Drink Tank on Reno!

You can go there now. It's the Reno issue of 2011.

It's got stuff from wonderful folks like Helen Montgomery, Anne Gray, Lynda Rucker, James Bacon, John Vaughn, Peter Harrow, John Berlyn, Jim Mann, M Lloyd, SaBean MoreL, Elsa Lund, Me, Guy Lillian, Rob Curley, Me, and a bunch of other good folks. It's a phenomenal bunch of folks! And I'm very pleased that they all agreed to write for us!

There are articles on Reno, a bunch of looks at stuff that you might want to remember for your Reno Hugo ballot and just some good stuff.

Read it and let us know what you think!