Monday, July 13, 2015

Fannish Treasure


John Costello, anthropologist, philosophical Objectivist, science fiction fan, Russophile, and many other things as well, died recently.  I never met the man, though I suspect I would have liked him.  In the wake of his passing, thousands of his books and boxes of his papers were put up for grabs at Readercon.

Cool, right?

It gets better.

The boxes of papers were a mixed lot.  Many were in Russian.  Some were TV Guides.  Much was kibble.  Most people didn't dig very deep. But some of the old hands scrounged up a Russian reader to go through the papers. He found Samisdat fanzines.  Lots of them.

And the cry went out:  "Seal those boxes!"  And now they are bound for whatever appropriate archive will be available to scholars of Soviet science fiction.

Astonishing, right?

It gets better yet.

A fan -- he would not thank me if I mentioned his name, I suspect -- dug deeper and more thoughtfully than the rest.  And he found... wait for it... A cache of letters from John W. Campbell!

Those things are worth money. More than that, the markets for such papers are libraries and archives. So by selling them, our Scavenger Hero will be performing a good deed for All Literature.

Especially since if he hadn't scrounged them up, they would have been thrown away.

And since you're wondering...

No. It wasn't me.

Darn it.

And a word about the convention hotel...

This year's Readercon was the noisiest convention I've ever attended. The renovations underway during last year's con have been completed and they bounce voices back at you in a hideous clatter. At one point, talking with friends, I stepped out of the hotel and blessed quietude wrapped itself around my ears. "Ahh," I said in a near-whisper. "I can stop shouting now."

When I told a friend that it was like attending a convention of the deaf, he said, "Worse, it's like suddenly being stricken deaf."

At the launch party for Elizabeth Hand's new novel, Wilding Hall, I couldn't help thinking that it was a lot like Hell: The company was terrific but the ambience sucked.

Apparently, the convention is moving next year, which is good news. The Boston Marriott Burlington  is a terrible venue for any kind of public gathering whatsoever.

Above: I found treasure, too: The perfect swimming hole. No, I'm not going to tell you where.


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