Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Electrified by Claes Oldenburg


I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday.  As a member, I get one hour's free parking in their garage . . . but of course I can never bring myself to leave within a single hour.

Wonderful stuff.  I've lost track of how many stories I've gotten out of that place.

And on the Best-of-Year front . . .

I was talking with Joe Haldeman about awards once and he said, "Fans ask me sometimes how many awards I have and I have to admit that I can't say.  I'm pretty sure it's eleven Hugos and Nebulas.  But whether it's six Nebulas and five Hugos or six Nebulas and five Hugos I don't know."  Then he leaned forward and said, "They hate it when you tell them that!"

Sometime later I told this story to Samuel R. Delany once and quick as a wink he said, "Four and two!"

Well, I haven't yet achieved Joe's great accomplishment (and I suspect he's the only one who has), but I've reached the junior varsity version of it in that I'm never sure how many best-of-year anthologies I'm scheduled to be in at any given time.

However, because the contracts came through last week, I know that "Steadfast Castle" will be in David Hartwell's volume and that "Libertarian Russia" will be in Gardner Dozois' book.  So this year, it's at least two.

He said modestly.

Above:  There I am in PMA's new outdoor sculpture garden.  The three-way plug behind me is a Claes Oldenburg sculpture, Philadelphia's third (after the magnificent clothespin near City Hall and the rather weak broken button on Penn campus); there'll be a fourth later this year, a monumental paintbrush commissioned for the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.  I'll show you it when it arrives.



Oz said...

::ahem:: As much as I greatly admire Joe Haldeman, I believe Connie Willis outstrips him with 10 Hugos and 6 Nebulas.

But who's counting?

Congrats on your appearances in the two "Best of" anthos.


Michael Swanwick said...

Joe wasn't bragging about how many he had. He was bragging about the monumental MODESTY he possessed, modesty so great that he didn't bother keeping track of his own awards.

Chip, meanwhile, was establishing his own modesty by not being so proud of his modesty as to not have his own stats at the tip of his tongue.

Very witty guys, the both of them. Though I'm sure that if I told this story to Connie, she'd come up with something memorably quotable as well.

Matthew Brandi said...

And out there somewhere is an author who really doesn't know their own stats ... or so I like to dream.

Oz said...

I didn't mean to imply that Joe or Chip were bragging in any way. They are, as you say, witty, modest, proud of their awards enough to have them on the tip of their tongues.

I was pointing out what YOU said in parentheses.
"(and I suspect he's the only one who has)"

I was, in a most obsequious fashion, pointing out that your suspicion wasn't correct.

Unless, of course, your suspicion is that he's the only person to have exactly six Nebulas and five Hugos. That might, indeed, be so.

Most, most humbly,

HANNAH'S DAD said...

Thinking of

> a monumental paintbrush

have you heard of Jim Woodring's giant (7 foot) fountain pen?

Michael Swanwick said...

Joe's great accomplishment was not the rewards but the forgetting of their number.

I once asked Connie if she'd been aware that she'd passed Harlan Ellison's old record for combined Hugos-and-Nebulas when it happened, and she said, "Yes. Harlan called me to explain why it didn't matter."

Michael Swanwick said...

I finally got around to following the giant pen link and discovered that the pen is functional. Very cool. Now I need to see it in person.