Somewhere around 1997, I realized there were actual readers who voted for awards like the Hugo and the Nebula. Until then, I’d always assumed it was high brow ivy league- read: absolutely dull because I didn’t know any better- English professors or publishers who decided these things. That was also a couple years after AOL really took off. I hadn’t been online since CompuServe was on mainframes at the school library, so the ease of access to authors had never occurred to me.
One night, my college roommate and I were talking on the phone and she invited me to join the WorldCon site. Then she said if I joined, I’d have to attend the convention and get the packet and decide which seminars I wanted to attend. She forgot to mention I should read the books up for vote that year, at that time, but she’d mentioned it early enough that I could almost make it through the stack before I needed to vote.
Oh my gosh, there were some wonderful authors on that list I’d never heard of! (no, if you want to know, go to the WorldCon site and look them up yourself! They’re still there, listed by year.) I’m still reading all of those authors today (some literally- like less than a foot away from my keyboard is one of them- the books, not the authors. They’re at home or at conventions, or something)
Where was I?… oh right, I remember.
So I learned about awards and authors and decided, just for laughs, I should see if I could find e-mail addresses for any of my favorites. They were there! I wrote to a few, received a few replies that started lovely conversations that I still cherish to this day.
But what had still not sunk in all the way- what took another 15 years to sink in- was that I might actually be able to be one of them. No, I don’t think I’m Campbell material, but maybe someday, if I work hard enough, I will write something one of my favorite authors would enjoy reading. Wouldn’t that be a lark? Someday, I want to open my e-mail and find a note that says, “What else have you written and how do I get a copy?”