Tuesday at USF began with more classroom visits. As Joe Haldeman and I talked to students, I learned that (1) he sold his very first story and I didn't, and (2) he writes his fiction longhand, in a variety of coffee shops. He also writes it with a fountain pen. Lately he has begun to blend his own ink. In short, Joe is moving backward in technological time, and may soon have reverted to a quill pen.
For lunch we drove to the Cuban section of Tampa for authentic Cuban food at Havana Village Sandwich Shop. Gay, who is fluent in Spanish, ordered for us. I had, for the first time, tostones (fried plantains) and a delicious dessert made with guava, as well as a Cuban sandwich. This is Rick Wilber in front of the restaurant:
Evening brought a wine-and-cheese reception and our readings. The theme of this conference is "Visions of the Apocalypse." Joe read from his recent novel EARTHBOUND, in which much of Earth is wiped out by catastrophe. I read from my brand-new short novel (below) from Tachyon Press, BEFORE THE FALL, AFTER THE FALL, DURING THE FALL, in which much of Earth is wiped out by catastrophe. Both books have (sort of) happy endings, but since we didn't get to read all the way to the endings, the audience left suitably depressed. But they had fun! They did! We hope!