Tomorrow morning, probably before the sun is up, we will be on the road to Madison, Wisconsin. We’re going to attend a little convention called MadCon 2010. When you click on the link you will see a note explaining that the guest of honor, Harlan Ellison, will not, due to illness, make it. Well, that’s changed, apparently. Harlan says he is feeling up to it and will be getting on a plane tomorrow and will appear.
Last time we saw Harlan was in 1999, at a convention called Readercon (which is a genuinely spiffy excellent convention because it is ALL ABOUT BOOKS—no movies, no anime, no costumes, none of that, just BOOKS) and he was in great form and we had a marvelous time.
By a series of odd coincidences, about two years ago, I became better acquainted with Harlan. We’ve spoken on the phone and written to each other a few times and while it would be the height of hubris for me to claim that we are friends, we are at least on first name friendly terms. (It’s funny how, with certain people, sometimes you seem to have to “save up” stuff to talk about before calling them, because what you very much want not to do is bore them. I’ve never quite known how to recognize the point past which that concern no longer matters.) I wrote a piece about the documentary, Dreams With Sharp Teeth, both for this blog and cross-posted to Dangerous Intersection. I was impressed with the film and have always been impressed by its subject, so I took a few minutes to alert others to its existence.
Much to my dismay, Harlan got word to me that he had seen it and wanted to thank me personally. I called him, we talked, we’ve conversed on occasion since. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for over a year.
Naturally, when word came down that he might not make it, we were bummed, but still intent on going. The news today is heartening, to say the least. I will write about it when I get back.
I’m doing some panels at the convention, a couple of them with a good friend, Allen Steele, with whom I’ve done far too few panels since we met way back in the early 90s. Others will be there that I look forward to seeing again or meeting for the first time. (The estimable and excellent Gene Wolfe will be there.) But even so, I’m going as a fan. Harlan’s work has meant a very great deal to me. He is unique. Worth a read, to be sure.
So till next week sometime…adieu.