This Friday marks the return of the annual Jack Williamson Lectureship to Portales, New Mexico. This event is one of the prime examples of why this blog exists. Yes, I have talked about very general stuff, but there are some important parts of the geek subculture which do not always get the amount of attention they deserve. Eastern New Mexico University and the Williamson Lectureship are two of the parts.
Jack Williamson was, as many people have said, one of the good guys. He was first published in 1928 and wrote his last book in 2005. He was one the first science fiction authors and his career managed to spread over many decades and many changes in taste. Along the way he coined words like terraforming and genetic engineering. He was awarded a Hugo. Was elected to the second Grand Master of Science Fiction. And went on to mentor several other important authors in genre fiction. One of the under appreciated founders of modern day geek fandom.
In his honor ENMU holds a lectureship once a year. They invite a guest of honor to a luncheon with a keynote address. Other authors are welcome to come and several do. There are readings from some of the new things authors are working on. But, the highlight for me are the panels. In the afternoon the various guests will appear on panels. Some serious some funny, but always entertaining.
This year the guests of honor are Melinda Snodgrass and Michael Cassutt. They are being invited to talk about the work they are currently doing to adapt the Wild Cards novels to the Syfy network. Wild Cards are a series of superhero mosaic novels, where each character has been developed by a different author. Melinda Snodgrass got her start writing for television with Star Trek the Next Generation. She has continued to write television but has also written my favorite urban fantasy books, the Linnet Ellery series. She is also the legal mind that keeps the creative group that writes the Wild Cards novels from exploding. Michael Cassutt is a writer and producer involved in such shows as Z Nation, Farscape, and Stargate SG1. He has also contributed his share of work to the Wild Cards series. I look forward to hearing from them about what they are up to and where the the next year or so of our television going.
Going to Jack Williamson has added to my reading list every year. Every time I go I find out about some new author, some book coming out, the inner workings of Syfy and why they are now starting to make good TV again. It is always interesting and somewhat surprising what happens. If you are in Portales on Friday you can have a similar experience too.