Monday, June 23, 2008

Be Careful for What You Wish

Back in the days when I was the lawyer for the Science Fiction Writers of America, I volunteered to chair the Nebula Awards(R) Weekend in Los Angeles in 2001. I thought I could turn it into an classy event, and everybody says that's exactly what I did.

The banquet was at the Beverly Hilton,also the home of the Golden Globes and WGA awards. Sir Arthur C. Clark was my "guest of honor in abstentia," with, like Elijah, a place set for him on the dias, with a glass of Champagne. We read the letter he sent to his friends and colleagues in the year that resonates in science fiction because of the Hal 9000.

My Rollodex went into over-drive. Neil Gaiman let me twist his arm into being Master of Cermonies (and was even nominated for his script for the English version of Princess Mononoke that year) and Paul Guay, who co-wrote Liar, Liar, Heartbreakers, and the Little Rascals movie, was my keynote speaker. Nobody walked out (traditionally, the room empties when the keynote speaker speaks.) Robert Gordon was there to pick up his Nebula(R) Award for Galaxy Quest, the only time we've actually had the screenwriters present. Robert Burnett, who co-wrote and directed Free Enterprise handed out the screenplay award. My table gave me the wave when dessert arrived with the SFWA logo on white chocolate on every plate. It was quite a night, and a very successful weekend.

I had three years to plan and execute it. I offered to do it again, but nobody took me up on it. The closest I got was "well, you can bid for it." Not bloody likely, thank you.

Well, on Friday, I did get a call. The kind of call you get when you need Joan of Arc and some miracles. So now I'm chairing the Nebula Awards(R) Weekend again. In April 2009. I've got...10 months.

The first thing is to lock down a hotel for the weekend of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, April 25-26. The last time I did this, tying the weekend to the Festival of Books was a big hit with everyone. There was lots of autographing done.

Much to my surprise, two hotels are already back in touch, including the one where we booked our folks stayed in 2001. Since I don't have the flexibility to gallivant off during the day, checking out hotels will be a little more difficult this time out. Guess I know what I'll be doing in the evening this week.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Well congratulations it certainly sounds exciting. Of course it will be a lot of work, but I'm sure with you doing the planning it will be a huge hit.

M. C. Valada said...

Thanks, Arlene. I sure hope so.