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July 2009

David Hartwell interview for Clarion West at the University Bookstore

Eileen Gunn interviewed David Hartwell last night as part of the Clarion West reading series, held this year at the University Bookstore. 

John D. Berry took most of the photos of the actual event, since I was sitting up front with David and with Eilleen Gunn, the interviewer. The main photoset is HERE.

University Bookstore

Duane Wilkins introduces the event

singing teen angel

David Hartwell opens by singing the first verse of "Teen Angel."

Eileen Gunn

Eileen Gunn

David Hartwell & Eileen Gunn

David Hartwell & Eileen Gunn


the audience


Kathryn Cramer & David Hartwell

at the Continental

at the Continental afterwards

JT Stewart & David Hartwell

JT Stewart, Clarion West co-founder, & David Hartwell

sitting around afterwards

sitting around afterwards

Photos of Pooka

I was going through my Flickr account looking for good shots of recently deceased friends (Phyllis Gotlieb whose funeral is tomorrow and Charlie Brown who died Sunday night, both dying unexpectedly), and instead found photos of Jim and Kathy Morrow's marvelous border collie, Pooka, who died last year. Pooka was a family favorite and was my son's first dog love. In 2006, Pooka was ill and needed to be brought along to Confluence in Pittsburgh, and so she was at the con. Here are the photos I found:


Pooka with Jim Morrow and I


Pooka with Kathy Morrow, being hugged by my son Peter.

Kathy Morrow & Pooka at Confluence

Pooka & Kathy.

Pooka was as good a dog as I'll ever meet and I miss her.

(I suspect the photos I was actually looking for are in Pleasantville on my hard drive somewhere, and not on my Flickr account at all.)

7.8 Earthquake in New Zealand

From the USGS:

Earthquake Details

Magnitude7.8 (Preliminary magnitude — update expected within 15 minutes)
  • Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 09:22:33 UTC
  • Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 08:22:33 PM at epicenter
Location46.100°S, 166.300°E
Depth33 km (20.5 miles) set by location program
  • 161 km (100 miles) W (281°) from Invercargill, New Zealand
  • 219 km (136 miles) WSW (237°) from Queenstown, New Zealand
  • 326 km (202 miles) W (264°) from Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 866 km (538 miles) SW (229°) from WELLINGTON, New Zealand
Location UncertaintyError estimate not available
ParametersNST=037, Nph=037, Dmin=319.2 km, Rmss=1.46 sec, Gp= 65°,
M-type="moment" magnitude from initial P wave (tsuboi method) (Mi/Mwp), Version=1
Event IDat00764975

Tortoise flying!

tortoise flying

As seen this afternoon in the kiddie pool in my Westport, NY driveway. Flower the tortoise had had enough of the wild map turtle's exploitive attentions. He only wanted to stand on her back to advance his ambitions! So she flew through the air to put some distance between them. (This is all true.)

Readercon 2009 photos

I've posted our photos from Readercon 2009.

David Hartwell, Charles N. Brown, & Jeri Bishop

David G. Hartwell, Charles N. Brown, & Jeri Bishop. Update: LOCUS is reporting that Charlie died last night "peacefully in his sleep on the way home from the convention.

John Clute, Jeri Bishop, Michael Bishop, & Gary Wolfe

John Clute, Jeri Bishop, Michael Bishop, & Gary Wolfe

Kit Reed, Samuel R. Delany, & Ellen Datlow

Kit Reed, Samuel R. Delany, & Ellen Datlow

Sarah Smith (with newly broken arm), & her son Justus Perry

Sarah Smith (with newly broken arm), & her son Justus Perry

Anticipation/Worldcon travel advice: Exit 31 on the Northway, the Elizabethtown/Westport exit

For those driving to the Montreal WorldCon up 87 (aka the Northway), I suggest you make time for a stop over at exit 31, the Westport-Elizabethtown exit. Both Westport and Elizabethtown are 4 miles off the Northway. Also, if you are taking Amtrak to the WorldCon, Westport has an Amtrack station. An over-night stop-over should not be hard to arrange. (The Westport Hotel is next door to the train station.)

Westport map

David Hartwell and I are in process of opening a bookstore at 10 Champlain Avenue in Westport, which will be open by chance and appointment. To make arrangements to view our stock, call me at on my cell phone at 914-837-7623; the house number is 518-962-2346, but we lack an answering machine on that line. (Admit it: you have been harboring the secret desire to shop David Hartwell's book collection, right?) Come see our futuristic new location!

antique vehicles outside 10 Champlain

yes, let's found a bookstore in the middle of an economic downturn!

Caption: "yes, let's found a bookstore in the middle of an economic downturn!"

getting organized at 10 Champlain Avenue

I have prepared an elaborate travel information site about Westport with complete lodging and dining information in the sidebars. Westport is a great place. I can't say enough good about it.

The Inn on the Library Lawn has a book store, and even has rooms named for some of your favorite authors. Stay in the Peter Beagle room:


. . . or the J.R.R. Tolkien Room


. . . or if you dare, in the Edgar Allen Poe room!

There are many other fine places to stay in Westport, listed on my other site

I also highly recommend the B&B Stoneleigh in Elizabethtown, a great old stone mansion converted to a B&B. Serious bibliophiles might want to make an adavnce arrangement to visit L. W. Currey's which is walking distance from Stoneleigh. (Currey's is not an open shop, but he has a truly amazing stock of science fiction & fantasy, so call first to make an appointment. David Hartwell's high-end books are offered for sale via L.W. Currey.)

Do stop at exit 31 if you have the time.

Peter on the Shore

PS: If you're heading for the WorldCon by boat, we also have a very nice marina here in Westport!

Don't think of pink elephants

Interesting passage from the NYT article Why the Imp in Your Brain Gets Out by Benedict Carey which discusses Daniel M. Wegner's paper published in Science this week, How to Think, Say, or Do Precisely the Worst Thing for Any Occasion. Carey writes:

Efforts to be politically correct can be particularly treacherous. In one study, researchers at Northwestern and Lehigh Universities had 73 students read a vignette about a fictional peer, Donald, a black male. The students saw a picture of him and read a narrative about his visit to a mall with a friend.

In the crowded parking lot, Donald would not park in a handicap space, even though he was driving his grandmother’s car, which had a pass, but he did butt in front of another driver to snag a nonhandicap space. He snubbed a person collecting money for a heart fund, while his friend contributed some change. And so on. The story purposely portrayed the protagonist in an ambiguous way.

The researchers had about half the students try to suppress bad stereotypes of black males as they read and, later, judged Donald’s character on measures like honesty, hostility and laziness. These students rated Donald as significantly more hostile — but also more honest — than did students who were not trying to suppress stereotypes.

In short, the attempt to banish biased thoughts worked, to some extent. But the study also provided “a strong demonstration that stereotype suppression leads stereotypes to become hyperaccessible,” the authors concluded.

A response to Christopher Elliott's "Should kids be banned from first class?"

Angel As the opening to an article entitled, "Should kids be banned from first class?" Christopher Elliott (writing for Tribune Media Services) begins by explaining that drugging his toddler worked out badly the time he and his wife got a first class upgrade.

I think I'll begin by saying that I don't think I've ever actually ridden first class on a plane, though I was once given a business class upgrade on a flight to Japan. The larger seat was uncomfortable as it seemed to be constructed for a large man, rather than someone of my proportions.

Elliott's article contains such amazing passages as:

One of the most persuasive arguments for limiting first class to adults is that the premium cabin is essentially an adult product. Which is to say, it's difficult for a youngster to appreciate a wine list or a gourmet meal. It's just no place for kids. Plus, it's pricey -- even if you're using miles to upgrade.

Flying these days is such an ordeal that I avoid it whenever possible. On a recent trip to California, it couldn't be avoided since we were traveling coast to coast. My first question when my husband booked the tickets was "They're going to feed us, right?" He replied that the tickets seemed to suggest they were giving us dinner. After many delays, the plane finally left the gate and the kids and I instantly fell asleep and missed the food service. Afterwards, my husband told me that we were lucky; that the food had been some awful plastic cheese enchilada thing that he regretted having eaten. 

When we finally made it to our hotel at 3AM (6AM NY time), my 6 year-old daughter said "But we haven't had dinner yet." I said, "Go to sleep. It's almost breakfast time."

It seems to me that the issue is not whether children who fly are worthy of "a gourmet meal," but rather that they are entitled (like to rest of us) to eat and to be provided with edible food. Also, all passengers behave better when fed adequately on a regular schedule.

Airlines may market first class tickets as a luxury product, but 21st century flying on commerical flights is not luxurious. Eliot partakes of this marketing kool aid:

Like a five-star restaurant or a luxury resort, the first-class cabin is not particularly welcoming to young fliers. Or, for that matter, their parents.

Elliot, you're being had! First of all, the rich have children, too, and five-star restaurants and luxury resorts can be quite welcoming indeed to families with children. But more importantly, the privilege you are being sold when you buy into a first class ticket is a ride that only slightly less resembles a ride in a greyhound bus -- PLUS it comes with a really hefty sense of entitlement, something which costs the airline nothing.

Flying these days is a pretty degrading experience no matter how much you paid for your ticket. Some people pay for an upgraded ticket in order to be less degraded. Scapegoating children and their parents for the need for this extra expense seems to me foolish.

(Image swiped from the Retired Greyhound Trust.)