"Once It's Over Life Is No Big Deal"
Eight years ago, on a dark and bitterly cold day I drove from Philadelphia to Kingston, NY, to attend Sheckley's funeral. It was an extraordinary event. Three of his ex-wives were in attendance and a fourth sent her regrets that she was unable to make the trip. His daughter, noted writer Alisa Kwitney gave a loving and moving memorial that began with the words "Robert Sheckley was a terrible father." Barry Malzberg made an extempore speech that was one of the best things I've ever heard, a genuine work of literary art.
I got up then and said a few words on behalf of the Russian people. This may seem a little cheeky of me, but I knew his readers there would want to be represented. Sheckley -- and his clear-eyed, razor-edged satiric humor -- were big as big in that part of the world. When he collapsed in Kiev, months before his death, it was front-page news in Pravda.
Some years before -- and I was lucky enough to be able to tell the man this in person -- I was guest of honor at Aelita, Russia's oldest SF convention, in Ekaterinburg. This was a year after Robert Sheckley was goh. During the press conference, organizer Boris Dolingo was asked how the attendance numbers compared to the previous year's. Looking directly into the television cameras, he said, "Swanwick is a writer. Sheckley is a god."
Bob liked hearing that. And at his funeral, his family were glad as well.
|Friday||4 PM-4:50 PM||Alternatives to the High Fantasy Epic|
|Friday||9 PM-9:50 PM||Worldbuilding Your Systems of Magic|
|Saturday||2 PM-2:50 PM||Alternate History – Why Are Some Periods More Favored?|
|Saturday||4 PM-4:50 PM||Non-Western Influences In Fantasy|