Thursday, August 15, 2019

Mythcon additional

One thing I didn't mention in my Mythcon report was some of the new people I met. Mythcon has a lot of regulars, but every year new people come, and some of them come back again later. Two in particular this year I hope to see again.

One was Sarah O'Dell, who gave the paper on Dr. Ha-VARD, as I'm still trying to learn to re-pronounce the name. We'd corresponded before, and I gave her the benefit of what research I'd done on the minor Inklings, though on this particular topic she's done a lot more than I have. But this was our first chance to meet. I don't know how old she is, but she looks very young, and is rather amazingly simultaneously pursuing an M.D. and a Ph.D. But she's brisk and natty and intensive enough that I believe she can do it. She'd expressed hope that we could use Mythcon to have a long talk on Inklings work, especially as I have a long-standing dream of editing a collection of essays on the minor Inklings, but I've had a heck of a time convincing anybody to write the essays. But, ha ha, there's no TIME at Mythcon to schedule a long talk. I hope to be in L.A. this fall and maybe we can meet then.

Then there was this man I first spotted sitting on a bench outside the cafeteria. His clothes were very casual, he had a broad-brimmed hat, with long sandy hair and a beard. In short, he looked like a refugee from the 1970s, in particular like the sort of guys who attended Mythcon then. And he was doing something I hadn't seen anybody do since the 1970s, reading a copy of The Well of the Unicorn by George U. Fletcher. Yes, the original edition. (Later editions have acknowledged that it's actually by Fletcher Pratt.)

He turned out to be Jamie Williamson, lecturer at the University of Vermont and author of The Evolution of Modern Fantasy, which won our scholarship award two years ago. When I learned his identity, I hastened to introduce myself as the person who'd given his book an enthusiastic review in Mythlore (and, I didn't need to add, done all I could to promote it for the award). We chatted ad hoc on fantasy both old and new, and fantasy criticism both old and new, and he gave a paper comparing and contrasting William Morris's The Well at the World's End - which I finally got all the way through by bringing it as my sole extra reading on a cruise to Alaska - with The Lord of the Rings. They're quite alike in some ways, disconcertingly different in others. Fascinating discussion, and I hope he comes back for some more.

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