Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I just flew into Seattle, ands boy is my T9000xr portable jet-pack tired...

I recently flew to Seattle for the weekend, and my wife Isabella was kind enough to let me escape the in-laws for a few hours and go to the Science Fiction Museum. She even agreed to accompany me. Huzza!

As anyone who has read BBT Magazine knows, I am a card-carrying nerd from way back, so my heart swelled to see the remarkable building (designed by Frank Gehry) in the shadow of the Space Needle (which I still can’t look at without seeing Godzilla in the Sept. 1977 issue of the Marvel comic book, tearing to pieces while the agents of S.H.I.E.L.D try and chase him back out to sea), and being pierced by the oh-so-futuristic Monorail.

My wife is from Seattle & I lived in there in 1977 for a little over a year. I was nine, and just beginning to explore the world of the imagination with gusto – comic books & Star Wars; Star Trek & Creepy Magazine; Eerie Magazine & Vampirella - They were on my mind constantly (especially Vampirella), and opened a doorway for me which will hopefully never close. I must admit the combination of the smell of the Seattle air and the nostalgia made me a little teary. Feeling like a little kid, I pulled Isabella by the arm across the street and into the museum, and for the next four hours we wandered goggle-eyed through the halls.

It is truly a wonderful place, and as sci-fi/fantasy/horror fans we owe Paul G. Allen, the Founder & Jody Patton, the Co-Founder, a real debt of thanks for this place. They have had lots of help on their advisory board by such luminaries as Greg Bear, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, James Cameron, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg, and there is some really great stuff from the collection of the ubernerd, (and the fellow who literally coined the phrase “Sci-Fi”), Forest J, Ackerman. Frankly Ackerman was at this museum thing in an informal sort of way long ago, with the Ackermansion, but Paul Allen as co-founder of Microsoft really had the resources to do it right. He also has a history of putting his money where his mouth is – In 2004 he was the winner of The Ansari X Prize with his partner Burt Rutan for SpaceShipOne.

The things that really stuck out in my memory though, were not the great props like Captain Kirk’s Chair from Start Trek TOS, or the Lightsabers from the original Star Wars trilogy, or some of the great stuff from Forry’s collection, like costumes from Lost In Space, or Ray Harryhausen’s Capitol Building and Flying Saucer model used in the film Earth Vs The Flying Saucers, but the exhibits in the Science Fiction Timeline portion of the musem. There are some truly incredible fanzines there from the early part of last century, including one that Ray Bradbury illustrated the cover for as a teenager.

In the early days of Sci-fi conventions, the people who are Greats now were simply fans, rubbing shoulders with their heroes at a safe-haven for their unruly imaginations. It made me wonder how many of the future Greats I’ve met at cons, or perhaps published in the pages of BBT Magazine, or for that matter rejected. It brought to mind what inspired us to start this magazine in the first place – meeting our favorite author and literary hero, George R. R. Martin at Vericon at Harvard last year. A little free association from GRRM to Harvard to National Lampoon to the Onion and bingo! Blood, Blade, and Thruster, The Magazine of Speculative Fiction and Satire.

Well, here we are in the middle of it all now, and I think its working.

As far as we’re concerned Mr. Paul G. Allen and Ms. Jody Patton have a running subscription.

Thanks for history lesson, guys.

Lucien Spelman,
Editor, BBT Magazine