It could have been a disaster. I had gone to bed at 4:30 am, with my Awards introduction speech finally written, piles of Prometheus back issues chosen, the award coins carefully displayed and in envelopes, the certificates finished. Everything was ready to be packed when the alarm went off at 5:30— and sleep could wait for the 7:20 flight to Phoenix.
The alarm didn't go off. I was awakened by "Doesn't your plane leave in forty minutes?" Somehow I made the plane. I didn't know until I arrived in Phoenix that I'd left my speech, the certificates, my camera and tape recorder at home. (The speech got dictated over the phone.)
As I picked up my convention packet, real problems were revealed. The Awards, although scheduled right before the Masquerade, were not on Saturday's list of events. When I complained, I was told, "oh, we're sorry, and by the way, you'll have to start an hour earlier than we'd planned." I found out from the various convention hotels that Victor Koman, Victor Milán, and Jim Baen: who were participating in the awards, were registered, but none of the three could be found. After hours of haranguing publicity people and calling hotel rooms, everything fell into place ten minutes before the ceremonies began.
I'm normally terrified in front of an audience. On this occasion several thousand people, bright lights, and cameras, seemed better than the calamities I had been envisioning all day. The audience's reaction to the awards, to the former winners, and to the presenters of the awards was gratifyingly enthusiastic. The only time we got a polite near-silence was when Ayn Rand's titles were announced (which is not entirely surprising). Perhaps a freer future is not that alien to the average science fiction fan. Somehow that did surprise me.
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