Gardner Dozois has accepted so many awards on behalf of other people that it felt strange to perform that same chore for him. But it was one of those good news/bad news situations. The membership of the New England Science Fiction Society had decided to give Gardner the Skylark Award, for services to science fiction, and Gardner was distinctly tickled by the honor. Alas, only days before Boskone, a family crisis arose and he had to cancel his hotel reservation and train tickets.
Gardner being Gardner, of course, when he asked me to stand in for him, he said, "I don't know why they're giving this to me. I've never done anything to deserve it."
So at the ceremony, after a loving peroration by David Gerrold and a brisk lecture on the dangers of the award by Bruce Coville, I accepted on Gardner's behalf, saying, "I promised Gardner that I would say that he's sure he did something to deserve this award. If you agree, please clap."
The applause was thunderous.
And now . . .
The Skylark Award, named in honor of uberpulpster E. E. "Doc" Smith and incorporating a magnifying glass in honor of his Lensman series, is famed as one of the most dangerous trophies in the world. Gardner will doubtless place it in the window of his apartment, where it will focus the rays of the sun into a white-hot point that will set the walls ablaze, killing everyone in the building in an inferno that will spread to all of Philadelphia and collapse the world economy, ushering in a centuries-long era of plague and apocalyptic despair.
So, ironically, this probably won't work out well for him. But when all is said and done, it's the honor that matters, isn't it?
Above: Photo by M. C. Porter, paparazza to the stars.