On top of that, this Saturday (2/19/2011) Tom Freaking Purdom is giving a lecture on the Royal Navy's fifty year campaign against the African slave trade at two p.m. in the Panorama theater of the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia. It's based on the research he did for his amazingly wonderful fantastically awesome story The Mists of Time which is about two academics and the bureaucracy surrounding what it takes to take a time machine back to witness an event in history. The characters are believable, the story adventurous (it was one of the Years Best SF that year), and it spun much research on the history of the slave trade.
It may be inevitable that when something particularly awesome happens, you try and connect yourself to it. "Why, he's from my hometown!" you might say when you hear of someone winning a prize or becoming a successful athlete or politician. "I used to babysit her kids!" or "We always hung out at the same clubs!"
This is what I am doing when I open the April/May issue of Asimov's magazine of Science Fiction and see that both Tom Freaking Purdom and Michael Freaking Swanwick have stories in there. "Hey," I think, "I know them both! That means I'm cool!"
Tom Purdom, who is one of the kindest, most generous people in science fiction, has a literary memoir out available digitally, in two parts for amazon's kindle here and also for B&N's Nook. I'm glad to see it collected all in one place. Each half is $1.30 -- which is a bargain. Tom was one of the founders of SFWA and has met everybody one ought to meet. (Harry Harrison once described Tom Purdom to me as "That young guy, from Philadelphia.")
Michael Swanwick has a new edition of his Nebula award winning book Stations of the Tide out. It's a beautiful and wonderfully written book.
If you ever find yourself at the end of a long line at the other end of which is either Tom Purdom or Michael Swanwick and you find yourself debating whether to stay in that line and get your tchotchke signed or to go to the hotel bar and see how many Belgian beers you can possibly consume before the masquerade begins -- for the love of all that is good -- stay in that line.
And if you're at BosKone this weekend, do go and see Leaving Dakota and tell Michael and Maryanne hello. And if you're in Philadelphia, I'll see you at Tom's lecture.