Buy only if you live in the UK, unless you like to have books sent across the Pond.
It’s not quite new, but John is in this film, talking about science fiction, the future, technology, and other lofty things. You might find it interesting. Lots of other SF famous writers appear as well, and John basks in their glittering company.
This documentary is also about science fiction fandom, conventions, and all things relating to the aforesaid.
An award nomination is always a good thing, but what if news of it comes 29 years later? That’s what we have a case of right here. It has recently come to light that John’s first novel, STARRIGGER, was nominated in 1984 for the prestigious Locus Award for Best First Novel.
Why has the news just come to light? Someone discovered an old web site that had this information. Neither the author, his agent, nor his publisher was ever informed. Had they been informed, they would have let John know. But they were not and he was not. Until now.
Let us interpose here a big SIGH. Whaddya gonna do? Maybe Scripture has something to say.
“A prophet is not without honor, save in his own land, among his own kin, and in his own home.” (Mark 6:4)
It will be held at its usual venue, the Valley Inn and Conference Center, in Mission Hills, California, Los Angeles area (San Fernando Valley).
John DeChancie will be there again, so here’s your chance to get his books signed, along with books by other authors.
April 7, 2013
Valley Inn and Conference Center
10621 Sepulveda Blvd. Mission Hills, CA 91345.
Valley Inn: 818-891-1771
Contact: Tom Lesser 818-349-3844
I am fairly sure my first sight of printed SF was a pulp magazine (it may well have been a comic) left by my cousin John DeLacio on the dining room table at Aunt Kay’s house. I may have mentioned this before. It could have a Ray Palmer Amazing, and it could been an EC Comic. I do remember pictures, but in my memory they are black and white, which argues for their pulp origin. At any rate, the illo depicted vampiric aliens debarking from their flying saucer. Though probably only a line drawing, the picture scared the bejeezus out of me. The first clear memory I have of beholding a piece of written science fiction and/or fantasy clearly in the genre (setting aside kiddy books with quasi-SF or fantasy content) was a Winston Science Fiction series novel, Secret of the Martian Moons, by Donald A. Wollheim. I am not sure how old I was when this first light dawned, but I do know where I was, in the school library of Fort Couch Elementary and Junior High School, in the borough of Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania. It was library period, probably, and I spotted the spine first and noted the Winston SF rocketship logo. Nothing like a rocketship to catch my attention. I picked it off the shelf and looked at it, and was daunted. This is really hard-to-read stuff, I thought. The librarian intervened at this point saying that this particular title was beyond my reading level. Fifth grade!! I wouldn’t be in fifth grade for another million years! I reluctantly reshelved the book. I didn’t even see the wonder of the end paper illo by Alex Schomburg, a montage of giant robots, aliens, and monsters with a mad scientist looming over all. That glorious illo I first beheld much later when I became a voracious reader spelunking the open stacks of the Carnegie library system in Pittsburgh.I don’t remember exactly how many Winston titles—and these today, if published at all, would be Young Adult novels—I got hold of, perhaps only a dozen. I remember titles by Clarke, Chad Oliver, Raymond F. Young, and Poul Anderson, along with Wollheim, when I finally read Martian Moons. Of all that verbiage, I recall only one vivid image, the scenes of the retreating glaciers of the Pleistocene in Chad Oliver’s Mists of Dawn. I remember Clarke’s Islands in the Sky, but no images cling to it. Oliver must have had (I’ve not read him since) an intensely visual prose style, because those damp green meadows, russet boulders and melting white glaciers still live in Technicolor somewhere in my brain. Then again, it might have just been the beautiful dust jacket illustration, again by Schomburg. (Continued in future post)
Orion Publishing Group, which includes the famous Victor Gollancz publishing house, is putting out British editions of over a dozen DeChancie titles. Until now, John’s books have had limited circulation in the UK. (Why? We’d like to know. Last we heard, John’s work was “too American” for the British reading public. Remember when Monty Python was “too British for American TV”?) Now that has been rectified. There will be e-book versions as well as paperback.
John DeChancie is today known for his writing, but he started out in other media: TV and film. He worked on many films and produced and directed a few himself. They are not famous films, but they are still in distribution. John says, “I don’t want to tell people to hunt down and watch any of these short films. They are very hard to find. I just want people to be aware that I did a lot of stuff in my long life. When I look back on it myself, I’m astonished at the range of stuff I actually did.”
Here is a link to one film, an adaptation of a Herman Melville short story, “The Lightning Rod Man.” It was meant for schools and libraries, and if any copies of it still exist other than the ones in John’s garage–he can’t find them but knows they’re there somewhere–that is where they would be, in media depositories and libraries all over the world.
Click on JOHN’S ART, on the menu above, to see a selection of his paintings. He’s finally taken it up again, and is producing new works. (See “Wolfbane”) You might detect a theme in John’s paintings. Architecture, and nature. Or perhaps architecture in nature, or nature in architecture. John’s father was an architect and builder who brought John in the building trades. Why do you think he wrote eight books about a huge building (Castle Perilous)? Authors are just barely aware that their work is written in a secret code that guards the deepest recesses of their psyche. Decipher the code, and the darkest secrets are divulged. ‘Course, you gotta have the key.