A few more cruise pictures. . . .
A few more cruise pictures. . . .
So here I am, back home at last after visiting Kauai, Bora Bora, Tahiti and four or five others of the most beautiful tropical paradises God ever made — and now doggedly tunneling my way through mountains of letters, emails, contracts, phone messages and — what is most relevant here — comments from all you wonderful people who were kind enough to tune in on the beginnings of The Way the Future Blogs and drop us a line about it.
In regard to which there is something I must say. I care about you all — beloved grandkids, cherished old friends and just high-quality human beings in general — and wish it were possible for me to respond personally to each of you. Unfortunately, due to the useless condition of the witch’s claw that was once my sturdy right hand, it just isn’t. But please keep reading and letting us know what you think! (Did I mention that you did so in such unexpected volume that you burned up all our bandwidth and head blogmeister Dick had to run out and buy more?)
And what’s ahead? Oh, all kinds of stuff. In the universe of personal reminiscences of some of science-fiction’s giants, there are pieces on three of the field’s greatest married editor-publisher couples, Ian and Betty Ballantine first, because it is already on the computer, then Judy-Lynn and Lester del Rey and Donald and Elsie Wollheim. Plus sketches on Jack Williamson, Isaac Asimov and Cyril Kornbluth and some added material on Sir Arthur C. Clarke … and, of course, whatever other fancies happen to occur to me as I sit before the keyboard. See you then!
Which, as you know, is the largest island in the Marquesas group, and the one in whose harbor we are now anchored so that our shipmates may storm ashore in search of tapa cloth and guaranteed authentic ironwood carved war clubs.
The other thing about Nuku Hiva is that it is the last dry land we are going to see until, after seven more days at sea, we dock once more in San Diego. This has certain consequences, among them the fact that something we do with our computers is incompatible with something the local comsats do up there in orbit. I won’t bore you by providing a more technical explanation of the problem (as if I could!), but what it means is that the posts I have been writing for transmission to our blogmeisters, Dick and Leah, aren’t going to get transmitted anywhere until we are back in our own home. And then they may not get to you in the proper order, as planned for your maximum reading enjoyment.
Ah, well. Sorry about that. I’ll try to do better. Meanwhile. . . .
I said in the beginning that I intended to provide reminiscences of some people who might interest you, and you might like to get an idea of who these people are. They appear to come in five categories: writers I have collaborated with to one degree or another (Williamson , Kornbluth, Asimov, Hubbard, etc.), writers who were my clients when I was a literary agent (Asimov, Budrys, Wyndham, etc.), writers I published when I was an editor (Asimov, Niven, Doc Smith, Heinlein, etc.), writers I hung around with a lot (Asimov, Silverberg, Ellison, etc. — you will note that some people come under more than one of these headings) and, the smallest of these categories, the nonwriters. This includes editors and publishers (the Ballantines, John Campbell, Horace Gold, etc.) and a few assorted scientists, politicians and other special cases (Carl Sagan, a local Democratic Party boss, a U.S. senator and so on).
Quite a few of these I have already written about in one form or another and those bits just need touchups to pass on to you, and so I will start them soon and keep them going as long as my right index finger permits. Along with whatever other kinds of comments I think you might be willing to sit still for. And I hope you’ll enjoy.
Including a little story about Bob Heinlein
All right, you’ve pulled out a map and you know from the long/lat that we’re now leaving Tahiti and heading for the island of Moorea, just across the channel. But did you know what Moorea meant to Ginny Heinlein?
First, I wish to put on record that Moorea is my third-favorite island in the world. (First and second places are taken by Manhattan and England.) What it meant to me when I first got there, 30-odd years ago, was Heaven.
I had taken myself there to spend a couple of blissfully warm weeks one miserable winter because I was feeling frazzled. Moorea totally unfrazzled me. Warm sun, crystalline lagoon, good French food and a little grass shack all my own, but with electricity and a civilized bathroom. I snorkled, I loafed, I let the frazzles melt away. By the time I got back to the airport in Papeete to begin the long trip home, I was at peace with the world — partly, I thought, because I had almost forgotten there was one. Not a living soul, for thousands of miles in any direction, knew my name, nor cared to.
Well, the answer to that was simple, Robert and Ginny hadn’t known I was on the island because I hadn’t told anyone. Likewise, I had had no idea their cruise ship would be putting in at the port across the island from Tia Ora. I was sorry to have missed a good party, but these things happen. It then slipped my mind for some years.
Then Bob was to be awarded an honorary doctorate in Michigan, and Betty Anne and I grabbed a plane to cheer him on. (The photo of Bob and me in The Way the Future Was was taken there.) The Heinleins had chosen to stay at a hotel some distance from the proceedings; Betty Anne and I drove over to join them one evening and I happened to remember that missed connection on Moorea.
I got an immediate look of extreme displeasure from Ginny. “Don’t mention that place! It almost killed Robert. Remember that big, steep mountain in the middle of it? Well, we were walking around at the base of it and Robert wanted a good look at the peak. He tipped his head way back. It hurt. He had damaged his carotid artery, and I hope we never see the place again.”