Friday, April 25, 2008

Nebulas -- Day 1

I arrived in Austin after day-long travel -- it is impossible to get nearly anywhere directly from Rochester. The flights were uneventful, which is exactly what you want flights to be. In Austin I was dazzled by what looks like full summer: trees in complete leaf, summer flowers in bloom. In Rochester, up until a week ago we still had piles of dirty snow.

The Nebula hotel, the Omni downtown, is gorgeous. The rooms circle a central atrium twelve stories high, and glass elevators take one up and down with a full view of the lobby and indoor restaurants. Not for anyone afraid of heights. I remembered from that New Yorker article (see previous blog) that no elevator has gone into free-fall since 1945. And kept on remembering it.

I had a drink with Jane Jewel, SFWA's executive secretary, who said this is a small Nebula: about 150 attendees. We decided this was due to the economy and to the distance from both New York and L.A. She told me that Michael Chabon, nominated for The Yiddish Policemen's Union, will be here Saturday, as will Michael Moorcock, who is receiving the Grand Master award. I thought he lived in England, but it turns out he divides his time between England and Texas, which must be some sort of culture shock.

Late dinner with Jack Skillingstead, after which we tried, and failed, to find the SFWA party. Which may have been over by that time anyway. Tomorrow, the bulk of the attendees arrive and programming begins.


Icarus said...

What a funny coincidence. Yesterday I met a friend for dinner in a swanky hotel over here with soaring glass elevators, and I thought about that article you posted as well. Specifically, I remembered the part where it mentioned that a cushion of compressed air in the elevator shaft had a decelerating effect on a theoretically falling elevator. These elevators also overlooked an enormous lobby atrium, and so there was no shaft and thus no column of compressed air. What's worse, the top and bottom of this elevator were aerodynamic, so that, in the unlikely event of a freefall, the elevator would really be immune to wind resistance! But hey, beauty before safety, neh?

Anyway, enjoy the Nebulas--wish I were there!

Good luck tomorrow!

Ruhan Zhao said...


Enjoy the Nebulas and good luck for the awards.