The Gernsback awards and the final parties

I write this sitting and waiting for the car to take me to Oakland International Airport, and then back to Sweden. This might be the last post to this blog. We’ll see.

After the fan fund auction on Sunday, I and Marlee went to the Hugo Award Ceremony rehearsal. We were told we would present the Hugo for best fanzine, which was fitting. I returned to my room to shower and dress up for the occasion. I had dragged a dark suit all over North America just for this, and my favourite red Moomin tie.

John Picacio was an engaged MC, apparently he had been in constant contact with the fans organising the ceremony to get everything right. He made a strong impression as being very engaged in using his influence to stem the dark political tides of our time. You can see who won what at the Official Hugo Award site. Nora Jemisin’s acceptance speech was met with rousing cheers.

I must say I enjoyed presenting a Hugo. It was fun. And I was happy for Mike Glyer to win the fanzine Hugo, despite having a small collection of them already. He did recuse himself from further consideration from now on. Unfortunately, he had taken ill the same day and was in hospital, so he couldn’t accept the award in person. Then nobody had told me or Marlee that the presenters were also invited to be part of the group photographs of the winners afterwards, which was a pity, but oh well. I went to eat with friends instead, and at last I met Mette Hedin and Bryan Little, who apparently had been hidden away in a room all the time, sewing on their masquerade outfits.

Afterwards we went to the traditional Hugo Losers Party, that George RR Martin organises every year. It was held in a trendy venue called The Glasshouse. George and his wife Parris gave out an Alfie award to John Picacio for his work against inhumane politics and racism.

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The music was a little on the loud side, so much of the party I spent in a backstage room talking to Hanna, my lady for the night, and John D Berry who is always a delight to discuss with. The snacks and the drinks were top notch. Half past midnight I noticed Erle Korshak, now in his mid-nineties, walking through the room with his coat on and a bag in his hand. I said hi to him and said that I could understand that he felt tired and was leaving. He looked at me and laughed, as he was actually just arriving at the party. They finally asked us to leave around 2:15.

The next day we had to deal with what remained unsold after the fan fund auction, and at 12:00 noon there was a small ceremony that John Coxon had taken the initiative to, where we shared a toast to the memory of Randy Byers, sorely missed by everyone who had the pleasure to meet him or be his friend.

Then it was time for closing ceremonies, during which I as TAFF delegate again got the chance to be up on stage and mention the fan funds to the audience. Then the con was officially over. I went with Pablo Vazquez, Chris Hensley, Jukka Särkijärvi and Fia to eat in Japantown, And afterwards it was the dead dog.

Yesterday I did almost nothing. For the first time of this month-long trip I felt drained and exhausted. I had breakfast, checked out from the hotel and took a bus to Sten and Evangeline, who were kind enough to put me up for a last night. In the evening I had revived some, which was good, because we had been invited over to Tom Becker and Spike at their flat in Mountain View.

A thoroughly enjoyable evening with good food and wine. We discussed fan funds, farming, conventions of yore and old friends, especially mutual friends from Sweden and Norway, like Mats Henricson, Mette Hedin, Johan Schimanski, and Kristin Thorrud. Just the finishing touch to my long trip that I needed.

5 thoughts on “The Gernsback awards and the final parties

  1. It was a bit awesome to watch you presenting the award. I was sitting in bed at 5am with my laptop and a cup of tea, and Ramses was curled up asleep on your side of the bed (Bast came in to check if it was feeding time, but it wasn’t so she left). It felt like science fiction, watching you on the other side of the world, where it was still the previous evening.
    I feel all wibbly wobbly timey wimey now.

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  2. I remember meeting Erle in Helsinki, he wanted to make sure he could get to the Old Phart’s Party in the same building where we would end up having the Saunapella filk session so we had a good chat on the way there. Good to hear he’s still at it.

    And it’s somewhat stfnal but still deeply human in travelling a quarter around the world only to speak a lot with the people you talk with at your local con.

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  3. Indeed, such a lengthy trip can wipe you out so much it could take a week to recoup your strength. But you’re a young pup, and I have faith in your recovery. I am glad you were able to announce Mike Glyer as winner of Best Fanzine; Donna Marie Hansen, last year’s GUFF winner, and I presented the same award in Helsinki, and it’s a real treat to be in the company of all the authors, editors, Hugo nominees and winners. George R.R. Martin’s Hugo Losers parties have become legendary. Last year’s at the Steam Helsinki bar the assembled masses drank the bar out of gin.

    Now you and I have to get ready to run the 2019 TAFF race to the Dublin Worldcon. That should be a great convention!

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