Rendezvous at Penn Station

It might sound like the title of an Agatha Christie novel, or even some science fiction thriller from the 1950s. But this is, in fact, a true story, though no less dramatic and suspenseful than its fictional counterparts.

You see, I can add to the list of science fiction writers I have met. Yesterday, at about noon, Jen, Jason and I were at Penn Station to meet Michael Burstein and his wife, Nomi (a.k.a. gnomi). They were coming into town on a train from Boston and Michael and I had arranged to meet some weeks beforehand. Readers of my blog will know Michael by his LJ username: mabfan, a frequent poster-of-comments to my blog. We talked about baseball, and science fiction, and of course, writing and I had a great time and I’m very happy that we finally got a chance to meet in person. Michael and Nomi took some pictures which will be appearing on his blog, and when they do, I’ll post a link to them.

As a wannabe science fiction writer, I look up to anyone who has already made it, and Michael has certainly “made it”. There is objective evidence for this not only in the quality of his stories, but in the list of awards he has won or been nominated for. And yet, he is a very down-to-earth guy and I felt more like we were peers than with any other science fiction writer I have met. We only had a short time to meet before they had to leave, but I am really glad we got to do it, and my one regret is that I forgot to bring along my September 2005 copy of ANALOG (with Michael’s novella, “Sanctuary”) for him to autograph. (Incidentally, “Sanctuary” is another one of Michael’s stories up for an award this year.)

Michael encouraged me to attend a science fiction convention. I’ve never gone to one before, but if the people who attend conventions are as nice as Michael and Nomi, then I think it would be fun to try one out in the near future. Michael also commented that it was pretty rare for an s.f. writer to work out to the degree that I do. He suggested I writing a story that involves a workout of some kind. At LaGuardia last night, waiting to board my flight, I came up with a really good idea for a story where I can incorporate workouts in an interesting and science-fictional way. It involves mountain-climbing, however, something I know nothing about. Fortunately, brainwaster recommended a book to me a while back, Into Thin Air which I might read as research for this story sometime early next year.

So thanks, mabfan, for suggesting that we meet. It was a lot of fun. And thanks for the continued encouragement with my writing and for knocking loose a few ideas here and there.