Volume 17, Number 03, Fall 1999

John Varley's Acceptance Speech

Read by Victor Koman

I'm sorry I couldn't be there in person to accept this award. I thought about coming, but the more I thought about it the more I realized what a mistake it would be.

The thing is, whenever I pass a sign that says "Anaheim City Limits," my eyes glaze over and I start to plod forward like those revived corpses in Night Of The Living Dead, arms out in front of me like Boris Karloff in The Mummy, chanting "Must see mouse. Must spend money. Must see mouse." And then I vanish into Disneyland and am not heard from again for a week.

That's right. My name is John Varley, and I'm a Disney-holic. I've got a Mickey on my back.

I am particularly gratified to receive this award for The Golden Globe, which—in my opinion—is my best novel so far. I certainly worked harder on this one than I ever have before. Also I did more research than I ever have. I had to learn a lot about the theater, so I watched every one of Shakespeare's plays at least once. King Lear I watched seven times. In order to write a review in the style of James Joyce, I read twenty pages of Finnegans Wake. I submit to you, this is real dedication to one's art.

Michael Grossberg, in his review for the Libertarian Futurist Society, described my book as "a hilarious libertarian comedy and picaresque adventure, with a wonderfully irreverent antiauthoritarian spirit." That is pretty much what I was aiming for.

But I have to admit, I wasn't specifically thinking "libertarian" when I wrote it. I am not a member of any political party, though if I were to join one it would probably be the Libertarians. Actually, to my knowledge, I am not now a member of anything except the History Book Club, which I only joined to get their four free books and now can't seem to resign from, no matter how hard I try. I made it a policy many years ago never to join anything and never to respond to polls or surveys. But "antiauthoritarian" and "irreverent" are words I like, particularly when applied to me or my work. "Picaresque" I'm going to have to look up.

You can't say Libertarian without thinking of Robert A. Heinlein, and I was gratified to see his work well-represented in the list of past Prometheus and Hall of Fame Award winners. I have tried to pay homage to his influence both in The Golden Globe and in my previous book, Steel Beach. His guiding hand will also be evident in the book I'm working on now, to be called Irontown Blues. When complete, these three books will form a set. Not a trilogy. I'm calling it the Heavy Metal Books.

And that is the real reason I'm not with you today. I am behind, as usual, on Irontown Blues, and don't dare interrupt it for something as diverting and amusing as a trip to Southern California, much as I would like to. So I send you these few words, and I'd like to thank everyone involved.

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