The convention runs from Friday night through late Sunday afternoon and takes place on the campus of the University of New York State at Stonybrook, about a half-hour from Chateau Stevie by Steviemobile. Mrs Stevie and I have been attending sporadically since we married. In fact, we used to attend every other year, when the guest list included one guest who also used that two-year cycle to put in an appearance, Harlan Ellison.
I-Con used to be a reasonably big author magnet. People I've seen in years past include names any SF reader would instantly recognise: Larry Niven, C.J. Cherryh, Octavia Butler, George Zebrowski, Barry Malzberg. And Harlan Ellison. In recent years the money use to lure authors into making the trip into darkest Long Island from wherever they come from Niven and Ellison came all the way from California, Malzberg came from NYC and so the "big names" began staying away in droves, leading to fewer writers with established bodies of work on campus during the con.
Around the time the Stevieling became self ambulant we began attending the con every year, come Ellison or not. Also, we began to go our separate ways as our individual focus shifted from a mainly media-guest oriented agenda to, for me, a more panel-intensive one while Mrs Stevie and the Stevieling followed the SCA2 route and got dressed up and hung out at Celtic folk concerts.
Four years ago Harlan Ellison attended I-Con and was very entertaining. The man is a witty raconteur and has a lifetime of stories to tell. Truth to tell I avoided his signing sessions because the man is an aggressive and shameless shill for the piles of books he sells, many of which are repackagings of stories I already bought and read before I came to the USA, and I find that a bit tedious when I'm standing on a line that can take hours to get me to the man himself. On the Sunday, after listening to his extremely entertaining presentation, I went to his last signing where I bought a copy of the first two volumes of "Edgeworks", a retrospective put out by White Wolf and which spanned four volumes originally. As he was signing my copies I couldn't help but notice that he looked tired. Little wonder, given the usual partying and so on that goes on at these things, but he didn't look happy. I asked him if he would be coming back and he quietly said he didn't think so.
I couldn't blame him. He lives in sunny California and is advancing in years. Who in his position would want to undertake a hours-long flight from the sun to the rain and cold that is the standard Saturday weather at I-Con? I was deeply saddened, for selfish reasons. This man had provided me with some of the most enjoyable stories I had read and had amused me with his tales of his life and friends any time I chose to get off my rear and find where he was speaking. Harlan Ellison is so much larger than life that not having him in it any more would make the world very much smaller. He was as good as his word, and I-Con was Ellisonless two years later.
I was going to I-Con anyway, but the news that Ellison would actually be there this year was an added incentive to free up some cash for purchasing and to dig out my copies of Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions, comprising five volumes I went without food to obtain back in nineteen seventy mumble. Not only that, but Norman Spinrad, now living in France and hence well out of Steviereach, would also be attending, which inspired an expedition to the deepest levels of the Basement of Crap to unearth whatever I could find of his. A once in a lifetime chance, as it were. I dug out The Iron Dream, The Men In The Jungle, The Solarians and Bug Jack Baron, all battered paperbacks, all bought secondhand in Coventry Market years ago. I also found a copy of Ellison's Shatterday, which contains my favourite Ellison story Jefty is Five. I was well-larded with signables and now had a mission.
Friday night Mrs Stevie, The Stevieling and I made an early start for Stonybrook and as a result found ourselves not standing on line for hours as we had at so many previous I-Cons. We made our way first to the I-Con T-Shirt counter and bought that year's I-Con shirt, then went down to the Dealer's Room.
This is basically a gymnasium3 that has been converted to a bazaar of crap. Want to pay three times the going rate for some action figure somehow related to some out-of-production Sci-Fi show? Head for the Dealer's Room. Want a resin replica of the gun Harrison Deckard used in Blade Runner and that you won't be allowed to wave about anywhere in the con? Head for the Dealer's Room.
This is also where I would find the guy I made the Revolving Jewelry Case of Extreme Inconvenience for, and I was honour bound to find him and make my excuses. It turned out that he was waiting in ambush with his two helpers. They had bets on my not having it with me and were not swayed from some pretty churlish mocking at my expense by my tearful tale of router death. Philistines. I have sacrificed my most favouritest tool to the never-ending saga of this wretched Twirling Folly and what thanks do I get? Public Humiliation, that's what. Bah.
That took all of ten minutes, leaving us able to attend the Harlan Ellison/Peter David presentation in the Javits Lecture Theater complex4 at 8 pm, which was wonderful and ran 50% over time by popular acclaim. Ellison was cranky, pissed off and in great form.
He told us how he had been pulled off the line to board his plane because he had demanded that a noisy, abusive, cell-phone using woman had accused him of assaulting her when he had tapped her on the shoulder to ask her to SHUT UP! A man after my own heart. Luckily the cops had witnessed the entire affair. I say luckily because, although the entire line had apparently applauded when Ellison demanded this woman accord the people around her some courtesy, not one of them offered to be a witness as to his not assaulting this idiot. What a world.
He then went on to berate all the kids who were (still) on line for tickets, dressed up in their anime character suits. Ellison does not tolerate the cosplayers well. Or at all, to be honest. They seem to bring out the worst in him, mostly, I think, because they don't know who the hell Harlan Ellison is. He referred to the assembled, costumed masses as "freaks" and opined as to their general worthlessness with much heat.
More anecdotes, jokes and opinion pieces followed in typical Ellison fashion. If you have never seen him in action I urge you to do so if you get the chance. It is really impossible to properly describe the experience of an Ellison rant. All I will say is "Pray it is not you he is ranting about", because, as Asimov so adroitly pointed out, Harlan Ellison doesn't "do" tact. After this 90 minute standup show, it was time for the first Harlan Ellison signing of the con.
We all trooped upstairs to a balcony area where his wife and a crew of helpers had set up a Little Shop O' Ellison and a table for the Great Man to sit at and sign. I Dug out my Ellison books, all six of 'em and planned to add a few more volumes to the stack once I got to the Ellison Travelling Book Store.
The line, as usual, moved slowly.
Look, I'm not stupid and I'm not complaining, really. I expected it to take forever. People who Ellison hadn't seen in years but who he knew from years of conventioneering were on line and he wanted to schmooze. Some people had large collections of books for him to sign and he, though kvetchingThis is SOP for Harlan Ellison, and only a neophyte autograph hunter would be put off by it, always signed each one. Sometimes these collections contained rare editions of personal interest to him, and he would converse with the owner and others, telling them the history involved and socialising with the proud owner a little. One older lady had brought a wheeled airline carry on packed full of such rare first editions. She alone caused a halt on the progress of the line of over 15 minutes. Nobody in the know minded. All we cared about was that the great man wouldn't get tired and need to call a halt to the signing early. For all that he is an energetic and witty man, he is not young and we could all see the strain that flying 3500 miles and performing for an hour and a half had had on him.
In the first half hour, a young woman with an arm full of books and Babylon 5 DVDs was begging her way up the line by acting as sweet as could be and telling each would-be place ceder that she needed to be somewhere else in ten minutes. She made her way up the queue until she got to my area, where she attempted the time honoured "cleavage glimpse" maneuver. You know it. The young woman scrunches down a little, hugging her luggage to her chest while leaning forward, during which she makes her pitch in the most wheedling tones possible. This had worked on many people further back but I was feeling mean on several counts. Namely:
Count One: I was so far back in the line that Ten Minutes was a dream.
Count B: I've been on these lines before and had no wish to lengthen my wait or leave the line without my autographs short of one of my vital organs failing, and possibly not even then.
Count þ: She was carrying oodles of signable crap and would be adding at least five minutes to my wait, probably more since I imagine this "ten minutes" thing would evapourate once she was in contact with the great man hisself and finally, most importantly,
Count Σ: She was wearing a sweatshirt and so showed no actual cleavage at all during her pleas.
What a gyp! I naturally refused point blank to let her queue jump, and after I took a stand, so did everyone else. The young lady was most uncharitable towards me as a result, but I remained resolute, saying only that she had two more guaranteed times to get her stuff signed this weekend according to the printed schedule so she had a clear choice - ditch the party or ditch the signing. I admit I was grumpy but I had been forced to explain to another young college-age individual involved with I-Con that my time was as valuable and in as short supply as his own already5 and wasn't feeling expansive towards the younger set that night as a result.
The line advanced, slowly.
Some two hours after getting on line I was finally at the book table, where I spent like money was going out of fashion6. There were only two people in front of me!
At that point, the person at the signing table pulled out a book of pictures of groups of famous authors and Ellison was entranced. There followed a seeming eternity while Ellison identified this and that author, then called over various people in his entourage to appreciate the book. It was a superb thing, I admit. Then something happened that made me glad that I had not given up my place, not been further forward in the line, truly a once in a lifetime event.
The guy with the book plonked down a yellow manuscript in a clear plastic binder in front of Ellison. Ellison picked it up and looked at it. He removed the pages and carefully examined the first few. The paper was very brittle with age and acidosis, but Ellison was gentle and not one flake broke off. He looked up and asked "Do you know what this is?"
The owner said all he knew was that it was a Harlan Ellison Manuscript.
Ellison explained that throughout his writing life he had enforced a contractual clause in which the publishers had to return all his manuscripts to him when they were finished typesetting or whatever, but that during the mid fifties7 he had been in the army, serving out of Fort Knox, Tennessee and had sold a number of stories to Ziff-Davies, who hadn't returned the manuscripts he sent them. They had claimed the manuscripts in question had been destroyed when Ellison had pressed them8. What was now sitting in front of him was the carbon copy of one of those stories. He knew it by the cheap paper he'd had to use for such purposes in those days. The top copy was, he explained, high quality paper but expenses had to be kept low when writing for cents on the word. He explained that he had all his manuscripts in storage. All of them except the Ziff-Davies ones, which until that moment he believed were all destroyed. What he had in front of him, he said, was the only copy of that story in the world. The implication that it was probably the only Ellison story "in the wild" was not lost on anyone.
"I will give you anything you ask for this, now" said Ellison, looking the owner straight in the eye.
The owner explained that Ellison had given him so much pleasure over the years that it would be his pleasure if Ellison would accept the manuscript as a gift.
You hear about these kinds of things happening, but if you are like me and have had a little cynicism sandblasted into your hide by the bastards that you come into contact with on a daily basis, you don't really believe they happen in the real world. I was agog to see what would happen next.
Ellison insisted on paying for the document. The owner insisted it was a gift. Ellison asked for the man's name and address, and the guy refused to give it. I mean, how can reality TV compare with this stuff?
Ellison turned up the insistence to number 11 and finally, genuinely reluctantly, the former manuscript owner gave it. I can only speculate as to what Ellison had in mind, but it is immaterial. The moment itself was everything and I'm glad I was there to see it firsthand. I've never seen Harlan Ellison at a loss for words before. At a loss for the appropriate rude words, sure, but for a few seconds after the manuscript was given to him he just sat there. Not outwardly astonished, shocked, happy or any of the other expressions you might paint on someone's face in a story about this happening. Just frozen, for a few seconds, and silent. Once in a lifetime.
I presented my stack of books, now numbering about a dozen items with the six I'd brought and the six I'd bought. I asked him if he wouldn't mind annotating them with "I-Con 27". I didn't explain that without that piece of data Mr Brain will simply misfile the signing in the next few months and I will lose the significance of it when I next see his name in Again Dangerous Visions. I didn't say that a book with just his name on it was probably destined for eBay, but mine were prized possessions that would never be sold in my lifetime. I should have. I didn't.
"You are such a pain in the ass" he said, and called down the line "This guy is the reason you're all still here!" The girl with the armload of crap led the chorus of catcalls and death threats. I guess she decided to blow off the party after all.
It was during this period that a call went up for Mrs Stevie to go down to the ladies room where the Stevieling was being violently ill. Ellison looked at me with concern and asked what I thought was wrong. I told him I had no idea since I had no control over the kid when she was out of my line of sight and precious little when she wasn't. For some reason Ellison approved greatly of this response. I thanked him and went downstairs to recover the womenfolk for the homeward trip. It was about eleven o'clock by then and everyone was ready for bed. I dunno how Ellison was keeping it together. I was done in.
We picked up a friend of the Stevieling and made our way to Stonybrook for the main event. Saturday is really the convention's best day, in which most of the events are scheduled to take place and it has the heaviest attendance partly as a result of this, but also because of people coming just to see the students dressed up as anime or video game characters. Bizarre is not the word (but it will do).
Mrs Stevie was in full regalia. Vicky was dressed as some inexplicable9 Japanese character from some incomprehensible show. Only I and the Stevieling's friend were in any way normally attired, and the Stevieling's friend was only waiting to get to the Dealer's Room so she could acquire some appurtenances and transmogrify herself into some inexplicable Japanese character from some other incomprehensible show.
We parked and made our way to the building where the passes are issued, where I took my leave of everyone for a concerted program of panels, each one featuring Norman Spinrad. For once the weather was nice and so I eschewed my usual I-Con uniform of waders, oilskins and SCUBA tanks for jeans and the latest I-Con T-shirt. It was all very satisfying and cerebral and I was relieved to be able to pass almost the entire day without encountering Celtic Bards, Wizards, Pokemon or inexplicable Japanese characters.
Spinrad was interesting too, though for different reasons. With books in his stable like The Iron Dream he has become unpublishable in the USA, which is a great shame. He has so much publishing time under his belt that he also has some startling insights as to why the American SF market is the way it is, his take being that the large chains now employ software in a particularly destructive way to dictate what and how much they will buy from a publisher, wich in turn drives what the publisher will buy and how many copies he will print.
Spinrad authored one of the better Star Trek10 episodes, the one that features the planet eating robot death machine. He told us how that had come about, Roddenberry preferring to use a stable of "house" writers for his scripts normally. Apparently there was a need for an episode that was needed yesterday, on a very small budget with no exterior shots. Spinrad had already earned himself a reputation for not only being able to write screenplays for television, but of being able to write them to budget, an apparently rare talent.
The story of how that episode grew into being and how a second Spinrad script withered on the vine was some of the best, most interesting anecdotal material I have witnessed. I have an abiding interest on how the stuff I read and watch on TV get to become real, and a genuine admiration for those who try and get the stuff there unmolested. Their tales from the trenches are always interesting and sometimes a real eye-opener.
I was so busy racing from one panel to the next that I didn't get any "slack time" to visit the Dealer Room or the Game Rooms. In fact, I only got lunch because I screwed up when I made up my schedule and overlapped two events, making one of them not-get-to-able and freeing up thirty minutes for nosebagging.
The period straight after lunch was scheduled as a teleconference between John Coker and Ray Bradbury, who was being presented with the Gallun Award, a yearly award made at I-Con to those deemed worthy. I got there early and found John outside the lecture theater (which was currently hosting yet another Harlan Ellison thing, a showing of the documentary Dreams With Sharp Teeth) selling his latest book, a limited edition Bradbury retrospective/photo interview that has four previously unpublished stories in it, called Surround Yourself With Your Loves and Live Forever. I bought a copy, chewed the fat for a couple of minutes then went in to catch the end of the movie and the discussion about it afterwards
I rendezvoused with Mrs Stevie for the Ellison presentation of this documentary movie someone made over twenty seven years, years in which Ellison loaned the man (a prominent History Channel and Discovery Channel documentarian I might add) footage from his home movie collection and granted him interview after interview with cameras prominently rolling throughout, without Ellison noticing anything untoward. During the Q&A session afterwards I asked Ellison: "As someone who has regarded himself as a keen observer of human nature and behaviour throughout his life, how did you feel in that moment you realised that someone had made, over the course of 27 years, a feature-length movie in which you were the star without your noticing?". He cracked up, pointed out that I was not the first to have asked that, then skillfully dodged the question with a lengthy anecdote. It was extremely entertaining, and I didn't mind the evasive action at all. As I said before, Ellison is a great raconteur and (provided you aren't in his sights) highly entertaining when he raconts.
The Stevieling put in an appearance later on, wearing some sort of Japanese trenchcoat that covered her from just under her nose to just above her feet. One of the Dealers was selling them and all the younger teens were buying them like hot cakes. The Stevieling attempted to explain the reason, function and character involved but I lost the thread after the first two minutes of dense backstory. To me, they all looked like "Clunk" from Dastardly and Mutley in Their Flying Machines. Around six pm all the panels finished so that the people involved could get to the awards banquet. Mrs Stevie and I never bother with these as the one we attended back in the 80s was very disappointingly attended and the food was awful. I rendezvoused with Mrs Stevie and we swung by the Dealer Room to pick up the kids and, their protests ringing in our ears, we made our way home. The Stevieling made me smile. She told me that she had been in the Javits Building and Ellison was signing again. She went upstairs, in her full regalia and made her way to the signing table.
"Excuse me Mr Ellison" she said, probably through the collar of that ridiculous greatcoat.
"What is it, Kid?" He reportedly said. "I'm kinda busy here".
"I know. I just wanted to say 'thank you' for your concern over my health last night."
I would have given a lot to see his reaction to that. "I don't think he realised that your daughter was one of the freaks" she said as we drove onto the expressway.
Sunday dawned, and we were all so cream-crackered that we got a very late start. We picked up the Stevieling's friend. drove about a mile, turned around and went back for her ticket, drove back to our house so I could take a handful of aspirin, and then made our way back to the convention. Mrs Stevie was so annoyed by all this driving she insisted I drop of the women at the gate to the Dealer's Room, and I was so fed up to the back teeth with the women that I only put up a token resistance before burning rubber through the twisty road to the ISC, ignoring the various Jedi Knights, Puffy Shirted Pirates, Women in Wimples and Kids in Nose-To-Feet Japanese Greatcoats who leaped screaming from my path, stopping briefly to push out Mrs Stevie and urge the teenagers in the back to get out while the getting was good.
Then it was off to park the Steviemobile and locate Spinrad, supposedly appearing in a panel with Peter S. Beagle that morning in the SAC, a mere half campus sprint away. The weather today was more like th traditional I-Con weather, with a stiff breeze blowing off the light coating of hoarfrost that had formed on every surface overnight, so the sprinting was sprightly.
Spinrad didn't show, which put me in a foul mood since today was supposedly his one and only official signing. Had the wily author given us the slip or merely over-indulged in the wines, viands and sundry pleasures of the con last night/this morning? Only time would tell.
Meanwhile, Peter S. Beagle proved to be highly entertaining himself, as only someone with a lifetime in the writing trade could be. If you don't recognise the name, probably the most prominent thing he was involved with was the animated Lord of the Rings in the 1970s (and boy did he have some stories about that). He is an extremely soft-spoken man, with a voice one of the women present described as "molten chocolate", whatever that means. I found myself wishing I could have spent more time listening to the things this man had had to say over the last two days, but this year, for the first time in years, there was so much happening of interest to me that I was in a quandry sometimes as to what to pick from the conflicting timetables. The last time this happened was back when the convention was housed entirely in the Javits complex.
I wandered back to the Dealer's Room and nipped over to a particular book dealer I seek out each I-Con. He comes from Georgia and offers a small but eclectic collection of second-hand books for the discerning buyer, many of them first editions, many of them signed. This time he had a couple of nice things on offer: A first edition hardback of Spinrad's collection Songs from the Stars, which I bought, and first edition hardbacks of both Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions which I didn't. The Dangerous Visions was in good condition, a little stained on the page edges, but was missing the dust jacket. The copy of Again, Dangerous Visions was in very good condition and had the dust jacket to boot. Both books were reasonably priced and I find myself regretting today that I exercised some fiscal restraint on that Sunday on the grounds I already had signed early edition paperbacks of both11. I knew Ellison visits to I-Con were becoming rare and should have thought in terms of the investment value of the books. The problem is that I don't do that, ever, really. I buy books to read and to have so I can read them again12.
I made my way over to the Author Signing Table and got on line with the other hopefuls, and only a few minutes after the posted time Spinrad wheeled in and got down to brass tacks. He signed everything and anything people had brought for him and had no little bookshop set up to generate extra revenue from the affair. I had asked him on Saturday if he would be selling because I would rather buy directly from the author in the same way I buy CDs directly from Fairport Convention when I can. This way the generator of the work gets the maximum return on their sweat investment. Spinrad assured me that he would not be selling and I cursed inwardly at the time because I had not spotted the Georgian bookseller (some booths were in different spots to their usual location) and thought I might have to deal with a couple of less desirable book merchants on-site13.
I pulled out my nice "new" hardback and rather more shamefacedly my obviously secondhand paperbacks, but Spinrad didn't care. I explained how I had become enamored of his work at a time when I was fresh out of college and fresh out of work, and that each of these beaten-up books had been snatched up and cherished at the cost of missing lunch or walking three miles instead of taking the bus.
Spinrad waved me off, being more interested that all but two of my books were UK editions, including the controversial The Iron Dream , which had bolstered the shock-appeal of the story itself with a provocative cover depicting Adolf Hitler astride a large motorcycle riding out of the cover at the reader, a red swastika at his back along with a towering rocket vaguely suggestive of a huge hypodermic syringe. The cover got Spinrad animated. He grabbed his companion (I assume his wife though we were not introduced) and excitedly explained that this cover had all the design elements he had wanted on the American edition, elements the publisher had flatly refused to countenance. The Hypodermic imagery was deliberate and Spinrad's own idea, he claimed. The red Swastika tied in with some topical (at the time) stuff going on with the Ku Klux Klan (don't ask me, I have no idea what those nut-jobs were up to in the mid 70s and no desire to find out), and was again a Spinrad suggestion. He was very pleased to be surprised by this beaten-up old book.
I mentioned that his episode idea for the original Star Trek had been the only identifiable thing carried over into the Task Force game Star Fleet Battles under the scenario title "The Planet Killer". He scowled at me, growled "Oh yeah? This thing still in print?" which leads me to believe another failure to fully license has taken place. I explained that the people who made the game tore out each other's throats in an implosion of acrimonious acrimony twenty years ago, which mollified him, some.
The last order of business was to go see Ellison again. Once again he was in good, if grumpy, form, but he was obviously ready to go home. He complained that he had been put up in a fleabag hotel in which parties had kept him awake. He complained that when he asked some guy screaming into a cell phone outside his door at three am to keep it down, the idiot responded by sneering "Who the fbleep do you think you are?", a monumentally stupid thing to do because his years notwithstanding, Ellison is still perfectly willing to explain that datum to people with extreme prejudice. His litany of complaints set up a bad feeling amongst his most ardent fans and eventually one asked if he would be returning to I-Con. Ellison reiterated his complaints, made some comments about his home and his desire not to be out of it very often and, to no-one's real surprise said he wouldn't.
It must have been a tough call. On the one hand you want the man, the guest of honour, to feel at the center of the activities. On the other, he needs his sleep. Someone should have asked him if he wanted to be put up at the official I-Con hotel (a Holiday Inn with all that implies) or would rather be somewhere a little more secluded. I'm sure that a private house wouldn't have been too hard to sort out, given the fan base on Long Island. I dunno. I just think the same thing I did four years ago: It's understandable, but a great shame that the biggest draw for the convention has such a bad time of it that he doesn't look forward to the next one.
Ellison did one final signing, which gave me the chance to get a colleague's book signed (said colleague had planned to attend but had to cancel out at the last minute).
We left the Con around six and drove home, the kids dozing in the back, Mrs Stevie dozing in the front and me dozing behind the wheel.
- The fact is that the SF content of this convention is debatable since it has more media, anime, "cosplay", gamers and LARP content these days than trad Author-centric content. This is clearly What They Want and will only get more so as time goes on, but it rankles in this SF readers heart. Also, Dragoncon is bigger and Boskone has more trad SF in it↑
- The Society for Creative Anachronism, people who like to dress up and pretend they live in the middle ages. The middle ages as envisioned by various fantasy writers, at any rate. This is why your average Renaissance Fayre has wizards and ladies in impractical armour wandering around it. I digress↑
- Technically, the ISC↑
- Years ago, the entire convention was held in this octagonal building. People who attended in those years often remark wistfully how handy it was when everything was a few seconds walk from everything else. These days one is often confronted with the need to spring half the width of the campus to get from one event to the next, only to have to reverse the process for the following event. Since it rains during most I-Cons and is cold too, this is not a popular option for many people. I, of course, am made of Sterner Stuff™↑
- A long story involving me volunteering my requested services to the I-Con team eight months before and my being told the reason they were only getting back to me the week before the event was because of time constraints on the student body and that I should remember that a student has little free time when dealing with them↑
- A truism these days, sadly. At least, when it comes to American money, now almost worthless↑
- The date I remember him giving was 1954↑
- Something I imagine was not enjoyable for the Ziff-Davies representative. You don't want to be at the focus of Harlan Ellison's ire↑
- Not that the Stevieling didn't try. At length. Several times↑
- Original, Shatner-Nimoy-Kelly-Doohan-Nicholls Trek↑
- Sphere second printings of DV in three volumes which have nice covers and are in super fine condition despite being front and center in Domestic Flood Xena and good condition Pan first editions of the ADV collection in two fat volumes with what I think ar Chris Foss covers↑
- Excepting the New English Library books like my Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom books that were glued up with Virtual Adhesive™, which disintegrates over time. In the case of Heinlein's Time Enough For Love the time in question was about a week after purchasing it; I was racing the book to reach the end before all the pages were loose-leaf↑
- Long story, not worth going into↑