Howard Tayler, my friend who writes Schlock Mercenary related this story.
I was at a convention and we were headed to lunch. I invited Robert to join me for a business lunch that I was having with a colleague.
“Robert, meet Steve Jackson. Steve, this is my friend, Robert.”
. . .and before I could say another word, Robert jumped in with
“I LOVED your games when I was a kid. I’m so excited to meet you!”
I watched Steve’s “fan face” come up. And then Robert realized what he’d just done. I knew both of them really well and knew that Robert had just realized he’d gone all “fanboy.”
“Steve, he’s not really like that. It’ll be fine.”
Do you have someone that you would go completely fanboy, or fangirl over? For my 13 year old daughter it would be One Direction. For Robert, it was Steve Jackson.
I’ve been to conventions with Howard and watched people become fanboys at meeting the creator of Schlock Mercenary. Howard is unfailing gracious, but he definitely has a “fan face.” Watching people become fanboys an interesting phenomenon. I’m wondering if I’m immune.
I’m going to a convention today. Life, The Universe and Everything, otherwise known as LTUE is happening in Provo this week. It’s a writer’s conference. Through a friend of a friend I got volunteered to volunteer. I have a sound system and the convention is kind of on a shoestring budget, so I was asked to run sound for one of the rooms. It fit my schedule so I said yes, because it was a friend asking, and the convention is local. The payoff was also on a shoestring budget.
I will make sure that you get a chance to “mingle” with the writers.
I don’t write fiction, but I’d like to someday. And writers are often strangely introverted folks with very interesting stories to tell, so I figured it would be an interesting couple of days.
And then I saw the poster.
You didn’t tell me that Orson Scott Card was the Guest of Honor!
Yeah, I did.
No. I would have remembered that! Trust me.
You’re going to make sure I get to meet him right?
Yeah. . .sure. . .Rodney. . .
And I noticed him putting on a “fan face.” Maybe it was that he was slowly inching away from me at the time. I’ve been an Orson Scott Card fan for decades. Like many people I was introduced to him through the book Enders Game.
At this point, in some ways Orson Scott Card, like was described of Lord Byrun, is a dangerous man to know. With the release this year of the movie Ender’s Game, starring Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield, Card has become more visible outside of his traditional science fiction circles. And with that visibility came increased scrutiny of some of his opinions on politics and homosexuality.
I’ll leave that to you readers if you really want to know more about his positions. For me, I was excited because of the many worlds he had led me to. At one point I owned nearly every thing he’d written in the fiction realm; literally dozens of his books. Lots of them in paperback, but a surprising number in hard back.
These are the ones within easy reach.
And since I collect autographed books, this seemed like an ideal setup for me. But then I remembered my friend’s “fan face.” And I remembered Howard’s story about Robert and Steve Jackson. And I realized that I did not want to show up with an armload (or a shopping cart, those hardbacks are heavy) and play the fanboy.
See, Orson Scott Card and I have been separated by two degrees for a long time. When I started my writing career back in 1997, my agent was a woman named Barbara Bova. She was also the agent for Orson Scott Card. Before the advent of blogs and self publishing via the internet, I did some creative writing on a site called Hatrack River. It was hosted on Orson Scott Card’s site. I have friends like Howard and David Farland who are ALSO friends with Orson Scott Card.
So, the odds are that this will probably not be the last time I see Mr Card. They tell NFL running backs who score a touchdown, “Act like you’ve been there before.” And that’s the advice I’m taking for today. I selected a single book that I’ll take to possibly get signed.
This is a collection of his short fiction, a format that I particularly enjoy.
And then, I’ll act like I’ve been there before. Besides, if that strategy doesn’t work there are still two more days of the convention to play fanboy!
Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children.