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Various ketchup

There are always so many things I could write about, but I haven't been writing much lately. 'Tis the season? It's dark and dreary out there, but mostly I seem to be busy with other things. Or maybe just distracted.

Anyway, I had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend in Portland. Thanksgiving dinner was at my cousin's house for the third year in a row, and it was fun. The usual chatter and old family jokes and memories. On Friday I went on a pubcrawl with my brother and two nephews, and we were joined at the last place (the fabulous Breakside) by my niece and her boyfriend. Saturday was the Civil War football game (University of Oregon vs. Oregon State University), which wasn't much of a game this year. Afterward I took a street car and the the light rail out to the Hollywood District to meet Dan and Lynn Steffan for another pubcrawl and much fannish and political discussion. Dan showed me the nearly completed proof for The Mota Reader, and it looks marvelous. Sunday I took the train back to Seattle with my neighbors, Elonna and Sophia. Sophia (who is either 12 or 13) tried to teach us a card-based game called Boss Monster, but it was a lot to absorb. She won the one game we played.

Work has been very busy. On top of the usual data requests, we're in the process of hiring a couple of new report developers. I will be training them, and one nice thing about the added responsibility will be a significant raise. Because we will need more space for the new people, we also did an office space reshuffle, so I'm in a new office after seven years in my last one. This is still a work in progress, but one of my new officemates, Abi, has already created a nice little jungle of plants and has some other great ideas for how to make the place feel more homey. Funny thing is that she mostly works from home herself, so the rest of us will benefit more from it than she will.

Denys and I hosted Vanguard on Saturday. It was a great party, with a new person (Bev, who had come to at least one pub meeting already), two out-of-towners (Rachel Holmen and a guy whose name I didn't catch), and Marissa, who I used to see more often a decade ago and who only came because she had friended me on Facebook the day before and thus saw the party invitation I posted on Saturday. I put up a bunch of the artwork and writing that Stu Shiffman did for Chunga, and people seemed to appreciate the memorial. There was much talk of illness and mortality, but I think I'll write a little bit more about that tomorrow. There was much fine beer, and people also brought a lot of great food. I had picked up a bottle of grappa made in Oregon, because Jerry Kaufman had a bottle of Washingtonian grappa at the last Vanguard I attended. It was all very convivial, and the last stragglers didn't leave until two in the morning.

I've been reading Asimov & Greenberg's collections of best of the Golden Age stories, year by year. These were originally published as a series called The Great SF Stories, with each volume presenting stories from an individual year starting with 1939 and running up into the '60s sometime. The earlier volumes were also published in a series called The Golden Years of Science Fiction, with each enormous volume collecting two years worth of the previous books, starting with 1939-1940 and maybe only running through 1949-1950. I had initially picked up the third in the latter series, with stories from years 1943-1944, because it had Kuttner and Moore's "Clash by Night," which I wanted to read after re-reading their novel Fury. I ended up reading all the stories in that volume and then picking up the first in that series (1939-1940). Lots of prime SF, some of which I've read in either the Hall of Fame collections, Healy & McComas, or in individual author Best Of collections, but many of which I hadn't read before. In these early volumes it's mostly stories from Campbell's Astounding, with a smattering of stuff from other magazines. I'm not sure whether that's Asimov's bias, or whether Astounding really was that dominant in that era. Nice to see Leigh Brackett's "The Halfling" in the 1943-1944 volume. I picked up a couple more books from both of these series at Powell's City of Books while I was in Portland.

Meanwhile, my right shoulder is much better. I was diagnosed with rotator cuff tendinitis back in July, and I'd been experiencing pain since at least the beginning of May. The physical therapy immediately began to help, and now I feel very little pain, although I still occasionally feel a dull ache. Mobility is still not 100% back to normal, but I've gotten to the point where I'm going to stop visiting the physical therapist. I'll continue to do stretches and exercises at home. What I've been doing for the past few months has already caused significant changes in the amount of muscle I have in my shoulders and upper body. Not that I'm ripped or anything, but the change is noticeable.

What else? Chunga 23 is nearly done (honest!), the Sasquan fanzine lounge is heaving into a view, there are tons of good movies about to flood the theaters, and that means it's almost Christmas. I'm never ready for Christmas. But I'm really looking forward to the seasonal finale of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. tonight. It's my favorite TV show these days.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 9th, 2014 06:59 pm (UTC)
The original editions of the Asimov/Greenberg Great SF Stories ran for 25 volumes, up through 1963. (The earliest Wollheim/Carr Best of volume covered 1964, you see, so now they've got a complete coverage from '39 on.) The last couple volumes were done by Greenberg alone after Asimov became too ill, but they still have his name on them.

Both right: Yes, Astounding was that dominant in the early 40s, and yes, it's also Asimov's (and Greenberg's) bias.

Favorite typo: Oregon Statue University.
Dec. 9th, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC)
Oops. Well, that's how OSU looked in that game. But I'll fix that.

Thanks so much for the background on the Asimov/Greenberg series. I had been wondering where one could look if one wanted to continue reading bests-of for the '60s and beyond. I was vaguely wondering about Judith Merrill. I don't think I've ever properly focused on the Wollheim/Carr collections.

Do you know of anything similar for the '30s? Asimov and Greenberg did a single volume of Asimov's favorites of the '30s, and damon knight also did one, but I haven't seen any series of best-of-each-year volumes. The pickings are no doubt slimmer.

Edited at 2014-12-09 07:07 pm (UTC)
Dec. 10th, 2014 12:46 am (UTC)
Judith Merril's was 12 volumes, of which the last covered 1966. Her selection criteria were, of course, very different from Asimov/Greenberg's or Wollheim/Carr's. It's good to have both.

I think Ted Dikty's, which I don't have, ended sooner, so that's all there is until Wollheim and Carr split up with their 1971 volumes; Ace also continued its own series for a couple of years. After that, the deluge.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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