The Sasquan Signature

Back in July, I decided to get out of the house and see a movie – Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, if I remember correctly. Unfortunately, I’d arrived at the theater an hour and a half early. This meant I had far too much time on my hands. Luckily, there was a pseudo-mall nearby with a giant bookstore attached – Powell’s, to be precise.

I went into Powell’s not expecting to buy anything . . . and that was my first mistake. Or at least, so many people have told me. One should always be prepared to buy something; it’s Powell’s. It has that effect. The place is like the cocaine brick of bookstores. But I digress . . .

When I went in, I moseyed to where I was always comfortable – the sci-fi section. From there, I bee-lined to my favorite author’s name – Mike Resnick. I’ve written about him before on this blog; heck, I even interviewed him. Ever since I was a child, I always checked his corridor in the bookstore to see if there was something new. There usually was . . . but nothing prepared me for this.

A first edition, 1984 print of Tales of the Velvet Comet, Book 1: Eros Awakening. Hardcover!!! That was (for me) like running into an original pressing of an obscure band’s album. I had to look at the insert to verify that I was, indeed, looking at what I thought. Sure enough, it was. My next instinct was to call someone who’d appreciate the find.

So, I called my Dad. He was the one that got me into Resnick in the first place, and he was an avid reader. Even after his vision started failing, he still found ways to continue reading books. By tablet, if he had to. I told him what I found, and he marveled at the finding. Then added, “It’s too bad it isn’t signed by the author.”

I lamented that, too, but the fact that I found something that rare – and in near mint condition – was exciting enough. After a moment of gushing, a thought occurred to me. I voiced it out loud to Dad, “I owe you a birthday present, still. You want this?”

He responded with an emphatic affirmative. Due to his vision, he wouldn’t be able to read it, but at least he’d have a collector’s item. So, I packed it away until I could deliver it to him. I posted a photo of the book cover on Instagram and Facebook, along with the nitpicky lament of no author’s signature. I’d half-forgotten that I was “friends” with Mike Resnick on Facebook.

About an hour after posting, I noticed this comment:

At first, I rejected the notion, thinking that DragonCon and Worldcon were on the East Coast. DragonCon was, yes, but Worldcon? That was a different story, as I learned while visiting the website. Apparently, it was a series of conventions held nationwide. And the next one was going to be in August. In Spokane. A mere six hours away from me. That particular convention was dubbed Sasquan, after Bigfoot for . . . some reason.

A week or so later, I e-mailed Mike Resnick, wondering if he’d be attending that particular one. He confirmed that he would be, and was kind enough to provide me with the days and times he was scheduled to do autographs. I thanked him, and started planning the trip out in my head.

A few more weeks went by, and I was still tossing the idea around in my head. I was worried about the practicality of making such a trip. Finances were another issue. Juggling work schedule days and such also contributed to the mounting worry. I didn’t fully commit to going to Sasquan until the week of.

I contacted my aunt and uncle, who lived in the area, to see if they could put me up for the night. They confirmed that they could, and that it wasn’t any undue burden. I already had the days scheduled off from work to go. And, by some stroke of Fate, my finances allowed for a quick two-day jaunt to Spokane and back.

There was only one more hurdle to pass over before making the journey – my car. Was it in working condition to make the trip? Short answer: No. I had to delay hitting the road by a day to get the battery replaced.

Bright and early the next day, though – after a quick jaunt to my mechanic – I was on the road. I made the trip in a little over six hours. And I had time to spare to visit with the family.

The next morning, I registered for the con.

It was a surreal experience. While I considered myself a sci-fi fan from my earliest days, I had receded to the periphery of “casual appreciator” of the genre. In the last decade and a half, tea had replaced science fiction as my chosen “fandom”, which was weird. I genuinely felt out of place at a convention populated by costumed misfits. It was quite the eye-opener. I hadn’t realized I’d neglected that particular side of my psyche that much.

Once I was registered, I decided to hit the con proper. I had time for one panel discussion before Resnick’s autograph session. None of them really caught my eye, save one. And it was only due to the fact that I knew one of the author’s names – Greg Bear.

As coincidence would have it, he was an old schoolmate of my Dad’s. I was introduced to his novels Eon and Eternity because of that anecdote. And I considered myself a fan. He was moderating for a military science fiction panel. What better way to kill an hour or so?

The panel was fascinating, and shed some light on a sub-genre I’d rarely explored. Once the discussion was over, I went up to Greg Bear and introduced myself as my Dad’s son. There was an immediate spark of recognition.

“Oh yeah, I remember Ted!” he said. “We used to exchange comics in class. Tell him I said, ‘Hi!’”

Nicest nerd in the world, I thought to myself, happily.

I wandered down the hallway after the panel, looking for an outlet to charge my phone battery. As I sat there, thumbing through my various social media outlets, I occasionally glanced up at the passersby. Then I noticed one person in a loud, Hawaiian shirt walking with purpose. It was him – Mike Resnick.

Now, a normal, clear-headed person would’ve realized that the author was likely in a hurry to get some place. Given the quickness of his step and stance. A normal, clear-headed person . . . I was not. Thirty-plus years of fanboydom came flooding forward like a torrent in my brain.

Mike Rensick!” I called, like some sort of hollering squirrel. “Mike Resnick!

He stopped and turned. I motor-mouthed my way through an introduction. He nodded hastily. I, then, told him of the rare book I found.

Mike reached out his hand and said, “Well, do you have it?”

I said nothing, hastily (and clumsily) withdrawing it from my bag. And he signed it. Right there on the spot.

I also wanted to get a photo op with him, but he re-emphasized that he was in a hurry. However, he assured me that he would be more than willing to snap a photo with me at the official autographing time. Wonderful! I thought. The problem was I only had the one book.

“Might as well buy another,” I said to myself.

One of the booksellers happened to have a copy of the second Weird West Tales book – The Doctor and the Kid. The next book of his that I wanted to read!

It was already signed by the author . . . but whatever. I’d just have him sign it again.

And sign it, he did. Along with a very gracious, and impromptu, photo op.

At the end of the month, I was on a plane to San Diego. My Dad decided to fly us all out for my grandfather’s memorial service. It was then that I passed along the book, and surprised him with the revelation that I found the author to sign it.

My Dad . . . geeked out.

I, then, said, “Oh yeah, and Greg Bear says ‘Hi’.”

He geeked out again.

Mission accomplished.

But was it all worth it? The whole trip took a month of planning and preparation. Six hours of driving to Spokane and back. All the while, keeping everyone in the dark about what was going on. For just a few, precious seconds to geek out over a book with my Dad.

Yep, totally worth it.

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Friday, September 25th, 2015 Musings

6 Comments to The Sasquan Signature

  1. Special moment shared by a special writer.
    I can’t think of a better way to end my day…smiling

  2. Jo on September 25th, 2015
  3. Such a great trip! Maybe you dad could get a book on tape so he could hear the book? Many years ago, I was at an educational conference about the future of work and Greg Bear was there. After the presentation I went up to talk with him, he had mentioned Crawford High during his presentation and I said my ex husband had gone there and our son was huge
    sci fi reader. Turned out he knew your dad and gave me his contact information so you could correspond with him about writing science fiction. Cool for you to run into him again!

  4. Margo Hutchinson on September 25th, 2015
  5. Soooo sweet that not only did you find a rare treasure, but that you took a little trip to get it autographed too, and presented it to your dad!

  6. Pech on September 26th, 2015
  7. Oh man, what a fabulous experience from start to finish! And what a great gift for your dad!

  8. Melinda on September 26th, 2015
  9. Definitely worth it! Such a wonderful story and so well told.

  10. Ali on September 26th, 2015
  11. スーパーコピーブランド専門ネットショップで、
    弊店のスーパー コピーブランド時計は日本全国送料手数料無料です。

  12. ロレックスブランドコピー on October 16th, 2017

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