Crossing paths

I read recently that Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, and Philip Pullman all crossed paths with J.R.R. Tolkien (lucky them!). Their memories differ. Cooper heard him lecture and called him “a wonderful lecturer.” Jones, who also attended some of his lectures, said in an interview, “They were absolutely appalling.” Pullman, who had dinner with Tolkien later, when the latter was in his seventies, calls him “a genial old fellow” but his description of the dinner doesn’t sound very genial to me.

Reading this reminded me of hearing Tamora Pierce speak at a conference for the first time a few years ago. I will never forget how she performed — starting her speech as though it were going to be a terrible, dry, painful 45 minutes and then, as the audience’s eyes glazed over, showing us how the joke was on us. That impressed me, and probably always will, more than any book of hers that I’ve read.

The Internet makes connections with authors easier than ever, even if they’re not often in person. Which SFF authors have you had an encounter with? How was it surprising or rewarding?

— Joni, who would really like to meet Philip Pullman, Garth Nix, and Stephen King in person, if they’re reading this and would like to extend an invitation

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Filed under Joni Sensel

7 responses to “Crossing paths

  1. I love this question, Joni. I’ve actually pondered it a bit more broadly than you specifically mentioned. So at the risk of starting a meme, here’s my just-for-fun take on potential encounters:
    Meet Casually at a Con: Scott Westerfeld
    Do Lunch With: Garth Nix
    Do Drinks With: Larry Niven
    Go on a Writer’s Retreat With: Ursula Le Guin
    Resurrect Just for an Hour of Gab: Isaac Asimov

    How about you?

  2. I’ve had the pleasure in the past few years of seeing both Stephen King and his son Joe Hill King talk and read from their work. Stephen alternated between mischievous capering imp and somber man of letters . . . mostly imp. Joe Hill was genuine, polite, and funny, and would be a blast to take a road trip with. Only got a chance to chat briefly with Joe and not at all with Stephen, but am keeping my fingies crossed for someday . . .

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