Wednesday, 1 September 2010

How I saw John Scalzi

I met some famous authors in my life. I met Dr Karl, probably the famous promoter of science in Australia, and I even got to meet one of my very favorite authors and a world renowned one to have a proper chat - Bill Bryson. However, these two occasions were both in organized book signing forums; today's meeting with another favorite author and blogger of mine, John Scalzi, was just a chance meeting in the streets of Melbourne.
The story starts with an Israeli friend of mine who is now visiting me in Melbourne with the excuse of coming in to take part in the AussieCon4 science fiction convention. The convention starts tomorrow, but we made our way to the Novotel opposite Melbourne's Convention Centre so my friend can pre-register. Getting out, we stopped at a pedestrian light on a very rainy street and I was watching this drenched guy crossing the road towards us, armed with just a simple jacket and desperately in need of an umbrella. I stared at him, the kind of stare that makes its subject feel uncomfortable, and then it hit me - it was the guy from the blog! "John Scalzi?"
Not only did he confirm his identity, he came over, shook my hand, and we exchanged a couple of words. Needless to say, I don't have anything particular to say to the guy that would make him interested in actually chatting to me even in good weather; I suspect that to him I was just another annoying fan he had to be nice to, and I totally respect that. The point was not the chat; the point was that I was able to meet a writer I quite like and in a very spontaneous manner. Just like that, out of the blue.
Meeting an author, and an author I quit like (as per here, here and here), is not the same as meeting any other person. It's a very improbable event. An author is someone with open access to my brain; a good author, and Scalzi definitely qualifies, is someone that uses that access to reshape the wiring of my head and - hopefully - make me a better person for reading their book. It was, therefore, quite a delight to for me to meet Scalzi even if it was nothing for him but a short delay from shelter. It was proof for the value of concepts such as a science fiction convention.

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