Monday, November 20, 2023

A Small Memory of Michael Bishop


Rummaging through the dusty ill-lit attic of my brain, I have uncovered a small gem of a memory. I wish I'd remembered it when I noted Michael Bishop's passing a short while ago, but this will have to do.

Back in 1986, the day after I lost my first Hugo  Award, I found myself in the green room, commiserating with Mike, George R. R. Martin, and a fanzine editor whose name I regret having forgotten. We'd all lost an award, so we had something to talk about.

George said that a very good writer whose name I am deliberately suppressing had recently told him: "You guys are always complaining about the awards you lose. But there are some of us who are equally good writers and never even get nominated."

We all nodded out heads lugubriously. Yes, yes, life is unfair.

Then Mike Bishop smiled impishly--a smile completely devoid of malice--and said, "But what do we care about her pain?"

And on the same subject . . .

I'd already lost five or six Nebula Awards by then, so I was used to the inevitable letdown. I had, however, thought that I had a chance because I was up for "Dogfight," co-written with William Gibson who was hot as hot at that time. (This may have been the first award he was up for that he didn't win.)

Later, reflecting back on the experience, I realized that Bishop, Martin, and I has lost the award in the same category. These guys were among my heroes. And I was hanging with them as equals. That meant a lot more to me than the nomination ever had.

Above: I found this photo on ISFDB, which credits it to Open Library.



Jonathan Strahan said...

That was a heck of a year. Losing to the Last Great Ellison story was no shame, but your, George and Michael's stories were all ones for the ages.

Eddie said...

Michael, what would you recommend for a complete Michael Bishop newbie?


Michael Swanwick said...

Hard question. His work was all over the place. I put it on Facebook and the general consensus was one of his two Arkham House short story collections or else his novel BRITTLE INNINGS. The novel is about Frankenstein's monster becoming a baseball player--so now you know whether you want to read it or not.

Eddie said...

Thank you, Brittle Innings sounds like a winner!