Sci-fi group honors Highland Park High alum
Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 East Wacker Drive, Chicago
Aug. 30-Sept. 3
Membership for all five days is: adult, $230, ages 17-20, $75; age 16 and under, $50. Single-day passes will also be available at the door.
www.chicon.org for information or call (847) 681-3960
“Pleasantly flabbergasted” is how Mike Resnick feels these days. The acclaimed science fiction and fantasy writer and Highland Park High School alum is clearly pleased to be the “Guest of Honor” at Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, coming to the Hyatt Regency Chicago Aug. 30-Sept. 3.
Resnick has won more awards than any science fiction author, alive or otherwise for his short fiction, and has won the top sci-fi award in writing, the Hugo, five times, for which he’s been nominated for a record (for a writer) 34 times. He is a recipient of the Skylark, officially the E.E. Smith Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award for Imaginative Fiction, and has won nearly every major or minor award in countries too numerous to name.
Resnick attended his first “WorldCon” with Carol, now his wife of 50 years, Carol, in 1963, and points out that “without her, none of this would matter.” They met as students of the University of Chicago in 1962.
Resnick recalls that in the ’60s and ’70s, a common training ground for young writers was the field of “adult literature,” in which young writers could “crank out” adult novels under numerous pseudonyms “in about three or four days” each. Pay was low, so quantity was required to make a living. So like quite a few science fiction writers Resnick started out this way, but also wrote hundreds of stories and articles in other fields.
With his wife, he also spent much of his time breeding thoroughbred collies.
In retrospect, the author notes that his early works were pastiches of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E. Howard. So to develop his own voice and style, he says, he “went away to find myself.”
Returning to full-time writing around 1980, he had his breakthrough with Santiago, which became an international bestseller. Always prolific, he turned out numerous novels, but has become best known for his shorter works.
Resnick is a rare bird, a master of humorous science fiction. Two of his inspirations he says, were Robert Sheckley and Robert Bloch, known for their dark, humor-laced works.
During his college years, Resnick had absorbed significant humor from Mort Sahl, whose shows he caught at the long-gone Mr. Kelly’s nightclub. And he also learned about laughs from a group of young comic actors and satirists called the Compass Players, who went on to become The Second City.
Resnick also recognizes the inspiration and mentorship science fiction ad fantasy writing greats Isaac Asimov, Wilson “Bhob” Tucker, Gordon R. Dickson, and Marion Zimmer Bradley. But because all of these luminaries have passed on, Resnick’s way to pay them back is to “pay it forward” by helping out young writers.
Deerfield’s Steven H. Silver, a Resnick editor who is also a vice-chair of the Chicon organizing committee, notes that Resnick was one of the founders of Windycon, Chicago’s annual science fiction convention, holding its 50th session next year. Silver adds that Resnick repays his fans’ loyalty by often writing for their amateur publications, known as “fanzines.”
In addition to Resnick, Chicon 7 will honor Story Musgrave, astronnaut, Rowena Morrill, artist, Jane Frank, agent, Peggy Rae Sapienza, fan and Sy Liebergot of the Apollo 13 Operatons Team.