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Aussie invasion

2013-09-05 Cake and McKenna at the Elysian
Invaders from Perth

A mini-swarm of Aussies descended on Seattle in the past few days. On Thursday David Cake and Karen McKenna popped up for a day in the wake of their Burning Man trip. We went to the Elysian for dinner and drinks. I hadn't seen Karen since I met her in Glasgow after the Worldcon in 2005. It was wonderful to spend a few hours with them discussing Burning Man, the impending (and unfortunate) change in the Australian national government, life in Perth, various global travels, and where the hell Karen had been when I met Dave the first time at the pre-Worldcon pubmeet in London in 2005. (Answer: somewhere in the pub relishing a bowl of strawberries.) If all goes according to plan, I'll be seeing them again in London next summer. One of these days I've *got* to get to Perth, too.

On Saturday I went to Vanguard at kate_schaefer's house to meet DUFF delegate Bill Wright. I found him in the backyard talking to Vonda McIntyre, and I sat down and got acquainted. I had been following his progress via photos that friends posted on Facebook as he traveled around the country. Bill regaled us with recommendations of Australian fiction to read and exhorted us to read his fanzines as well. He explained the Norma K. Hemming Award for excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability -- an award that he administers. Vonda talked about her visit to Australia, where she had taught at a workshop at Monash University in Melbourne in 1977. Bill talked about the anthology The Altered I that was published by Norstrilia Press in 1976 and which he says is now worth quite a bit of money.

Bill also asked me if I'd be willing to take him to the Space Need and the Science Fiction Museum on Sunday, so around 2pm I picked him up at John and Eileen's house, where he was staying. It was a beautiful, sunny day for viewing the city from the observation deck of the Space Needle. Bill also bought a bunch of souvenirs to take back to Australia as gifts. We had gotten passes to the Science Fiction Museum from Suzle, and the museum was actually slightly more elaborate than the last time I'd been there. It was more like a mini-version of the old museum, with displays that combined props from movies or TV shows and books or magazine stories that related thematically. Alas, still missing were the wonderful paintings they used to display in the early years. Bill was particularly fascinated by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame, and outed himself as a fellow fan of AE van Vogt. I guess I should send him a copy of Promethean Wakes.

After this expedition I delivered Bill to Harry's Bar, where we had the monthly fannish pubmeet. daveon was there briefly, but quickly escaped to a birthday dinner for his aging self when Bill tried to recruit him to run for DUFF. Otherwise we slowly assembled a small crew for a wide-ranging conversation (and mockery of the new Yahoo! logo) before John whisked Bill off to dinner at his house. If I recall the itinerary correctly, Bill heads to the Twin Cities today, then ends his trip in the Boston area. Happy trails, Bill!

With Bill Wright at Harry's
With Bill at Harry's (photo by daveon)


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 9th, 2013 06:41 pm (UTC)
Huh - I have that book, The Altered I. I have both the Australian and the US editions, because they're different. I got them because of the Le Guin. This was when they were still quite new.
Sep. 9th, 2013 06:47 pm (UTC)
Bill claims the Norstrillia edition will fetch a nice price on eBay. Vonda said she wasn't willing to get rid of her copy, because it's autographed by some of the contributors. She said, "I'm not a collector, but I've ended up with some valuable books anyway."

I remember seeing copies of the American edition in bookstores when I was in college.
Sep. 9th, 2013 08:12 pm (UTC)
Nice report. Sounds reassuring in all the best ways. Would have liked to have heard more about Karen and David's impressions of Burning Man. Pleased to learn of the award that Bill curates -- will check that out. What is the occasion again for your trip next year to the UK?
Sep. 9th, 2013 08:19 pm (UTC)
It's hard to distill what Karen and David had to say about Burning Man. They had both been to it before, and I suppose the high level generalization was that Karen didn't enjoy it as much this time, partly because they were hanging out with a younger crowd who just wanted to drink, while David seemed to have a good time. Karen (who is a doctor) also worked at whatever medical clinic kind of thing they have at Burning Man. David is an organizer of the Australian version of Burning Man, as I recall.

And the occasion for next year's trip to the UK is the London Worldcon in August.
Sep. 9th, 2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
Hey if dave and K are coming next yr i owe them a stay in Embra. Remind them! Perth is ace :-)
Sep. 9th, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
Ps and this time you will make it north too, right?!
Sep. 9th, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
I made it north in 2005, as you may recall. Hint: Donnie Darko!
Sep. 10th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
I wish to strongly deny rumours that I will be running for DUFF.

Just saying :)
Sep. 10th, 2013 05:45 pm (UTC)
But think of all the exploding heads! Like fireworks!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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