Thank you letter to Spider Robinson

I’m not in the least surprised, but I am vastly amused by the coincidental timing of learning, via Spider’s website, that I cannot contact Spider directly.  I picked up a book to read this morning while eating breakfast, just grabbed something off the shelf, ended up with By Any Other Name, and opened it up to “True Minds”.  Somewhere in reading the story for the nth time, I decided that perhaps it was time to write the thank you letter I’ve been meaning to write for the past several years, and went off to the website – to discover that ‘Paul’ has become much more effective.  Well, and that I am much lazier than Anne and prefer to say thank you from a distance.

I don’t remember what age I was when my father first gave me Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon.  More than fourteen, less than eighteen, because my mother forbade my father to give me Callahan’s Lady just yet, because I was too young.  Sorry, Mama, I snuck it off Daddy’s shelf and read it anyway.  I do remember that between that, The Rolling Stones by Heinlein, A Saucer of Loneliness by Sturgeon, and Foundation by Asimov (and then the rest of those authors’ books), I was set for sci-fi reading, until freshman year of collage when I discovered Bujold one night and stayed up until 2am to finish the book – but that’s another story . . .

I think I read the Callahan books twice through before I graduated from high school.  My boyfriend at the time, who read very rarely, and never shared books with me, brought back from a trip the same copy of By Any Other Name that I was reading this morning.  I was thrilled, mostly because I hadn’t yet read it.  I read the Stardance trilogy, somehow skipped the Deathkiller books until much later, and kept coming back to Callahan’s and the cautious and careful empathy and the hope.

My junior year of high school, I won a state essay contest by applying the idea of TANSTAAFL to the idea of magic.  Where does the energy come from to make someone fly?  In college, I quoted both The Crazy Years and Time Enough for Love in my senior thesis on sexual education.  I loaned Variable Star to a kid I met on an annual camping trip, never expecting to get it back – and the next year, there he was, book in hand, wanting to talk about it.

Thank you, for being part of my childhood, and continuing to be part of my adulthood.


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