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January 15, 2007

Mike Ford memorial benefit auction
Posted by Patrick at 03:42 PM * 59 comments

Our friends in NESFA asked us to pass this on:

In [John M. Ford’s] memory, the New England Science Fiction Association is delighted to announce the Mike Ford Memorial Auction & Extravaganza, to be held at Boskone 44, a regional science fiction convention in Boston, on Friday night, February 16, 2007.

We are soliciting donations of items to sell during this auction to help keep Mike’s memory fresh and meaningful. Books, manuscripts, memorabilia, Tuckerizations, artwork, and other items of interest to science fiction fans will be particularly welcome.

As part of the auction, Boskone 44 will feature snippets and vignettes from Mike’s contributions to Boskone and to SF&F, including some of the songs from the two musical cabarets he wrote and we produced: Boskone 34’s “Another Part of the Trilogy” and Boskone 43’s “Grim’s Fairy Cabaret.”

All proceeds of the auction will be donated to the John M. Ford Memorial Book Endowment, a special fund of the Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library.

More information here. Needless to say, we’ll be there; I believe we’re slated to deliver some of the “snippets and vignettes”.
Comments on Mike Ford memorial benefit auction:
#1 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:08 PM:

Drat. Not nearly enough time to find, bind and send something.


#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Also: the link at the end takes you back here.

(I know, wherever you go, there you are...)

#3 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:31 PM:

To my surprise, delight, and honor, I have been asked to serve as auctioneer for this event.

#4 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:35 PM:

I won't be at Boskone (conflicting GoH slot in the UK) but I'd like to donate something. However, trying to locate the instructions cunningly steganographically encoded in the front page of Making Light is proving challenging, and time is scarce (for reasonably priced trans-Atlantic shipping). Can you provide that information link, please?

#5 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:38 PM:

(Betrayal of ignorance follows:)

What's a Tuckerization?

#6 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:39 PM:

Would an old paperback edition of Jack Williamson's novel of Forbidden Planet be of interest? It's in good shape.

#7 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:55 PM:

Linkmeister (#5):

Wikipedia is your friend: Tuckerization

#8 ::: Tom S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:57 PM:

Linkmeister @ #5:

Tuckerization on Wikipedia:

Tuckerization is the act of using a person's name in an original story as an in-joke (e.g. Mount Kirby in Kurt Busiek's Astro City comics). The term is derived from Wilson Tucker, a science fiction writer of the 1940s-1980s, who made a practice of using his friends' names for minor characters in his stories. A tuckerization can also be the use of a person's character or personal attributes with a new name as an in-joke (e.g. Ian Arnstein in S.M. Stirling's Island in the Sea of Time trilogy, clearly modeled on his good friend Harry Turtledove, albeit an alternate history Turtledove).

Many science fiction authors auction off tuckerizations at science fiction conventions with the proceeds going to charity.

#9 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 04:58 PM:

The informational page on the auction is here - there's an e-mail address one can use to inquire about donations, and an actual address one can mail donations to.

I will be donating some items (possibly a lot of items), and I might even be there. Normally I miss Boskone since it coincides with a school vacation, making it a good time to vacate.

#10 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 05:41 PM:

Graçias, y'all. I suppose I thought it was more of an in-joke than it appears to be.

#11 ::: Michael Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 05:53 PM:

"Would an old paperback edition of Jack Williamson's novel of Forbidden Planet be of interest? It's in good shape."

Perhaps you mean the novelization of the film? The one by W. J. Stuart, who is/was not Jack Williamson.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 06:02 PM:

Yes, Michael Walsh, that edition of Forbidden Planet. I also have autographed Bantam paperbacks of Brin's Sundiver and Startide Rising, the latter a first edition. Anyway, I'll go thru all my stuff and see what else I could send Boskone.

#13 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 09:17 PM:

I've got a thing or two for it. I believe I have a copy of the Declaration of Unity I could bring.

#14 ::: Deb Geisler ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 10:32 PM:

Many thanks to those who wish to make donations. We plan the auction to last a total of 1 to 1.5 hours, with interspersed vignettes and bits of coolness. (We suspect that with an auctioneer like James D. Macdonald, it will *all* be cool...)

To mail items to us, the physical address on the NESFA web site will work for anything coming but U.S. or international post.

If you wish to know whether or not some item in particular might be a good fit for the auction, or if you wish alternate shipping information for UPS, FedEx, and other carriers, please email, and I'll reply to your specific questions.

(And if you'd like to volunteer to help out at the auction by being a runner or a tally person, let us know that, too.)

#15 ::: Deb Geisler ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 10:35 PM:

Oh, bother. I typoed my own email address. It's correct this time, however.

#16 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 10:38 PM:

Deb Geisler... What's the exact date after which you couldn't accept stuff for the auction?

#17 ::: Deb Geisler ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2007, 10:56 PM:

As long as it arrives to the NESFA P.O. box by 14 February, or to the address for non-USPS stuff by 15 February, we'll take it.

We ask that items not be sent to us in care of the hotel, since the hotel will charge us to receive them.

#18 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2007, 04:34 PM:

Deb, I'm assuming you meant "by" rather than "but" in the second paragraph of #14. If, in fact, you meant "but" -- where can I send something by US post? I'm sure I can come up with something amusing that should get there in time....

#19 ::: Deb Geisler ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2007, 11:20 PM:

Yeah, yeah...typo. Tired typing...gotta start getting more sleep. (First week of classes.)

"Send it by USPS to our PO Box. Any other way, email"

No buts.


#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2007, 01:42 PM:

Deb... The package is on its way to you by UPS.

#21 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Actually, this turns out to be the chance to clear a half-completed binding off my shelves. I was looking for someplace to put the Japanese style binding of The Dream Hunters.

If anyone is going to be there, here is what I'm putting in the post early next week. Bid lots of money for know you want to.

#22 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Wow, Abi, that's fabulous!

#23 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:12 PM:

Abi #21: That's magnificent.

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:26 PM:

Hat off, abi.

#25 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 07:38 PM:

Abi, your books are as beautiful as your poetry.

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 08:12 PM:

That's unbelievably beautiful.

#27 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 08:47 PM:

Abi #21: you know you want to.

Hell yes, who wouldn't ?

Just so beautiful I would love to have it, yet can't covet it. If I make sense. The only image I can think of is unfit.

And all your other works are incredible too !

#28 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2007, 11:52 PM:

Oh my. That is lovely. Just lovely.

#29 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 01:57 AM:

Thank you for the kind words.

The fox is based on an illustration within the book.

My relationship with this binding has been troubled. The technique I used to do the cover - back-pared leather onlaying - got me into an argument with a would-be instructor over a year ago. Although the way that that went taught me that he is not a good fit for me as a teacher - a good thing to know - I stalled on the binding until this past weekend.

Structurally, it's not fantastic - Japanese bindings don't open very well as a rule - but I do keep going back to it and thinking, "Did I do that?"

Just so beautiful I would love to have it, yet can't covet it. If I make sense.

It does, because it maps to how I feel about the book. I made it, but it is separate from me.

I hope it makes a tidy sum for the auction.

#30 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 04:04 PM:

I'm finding it very difficult to write prose these days. It keeps coming out as sonnets. (I was trying to do the colophon to the book before packaging it up, and it fell into sonnet form.)

Yotsume Toji binding in silk thread.
The front is back-pared onlay, on white calf,
With black-dyed goatskin, while the latter half
And spine are also goat, in black and red.
The four-flapped box of buckram, midnight black,
Is closed with silken-tethered, red stained pine.
Suminagashi has been used to line
The inner lid. The rest is simple black.
Because this is a fusion binding style
It represents a compromise between
Two cultures’ ways. In practice, this will mean
You must take care to have it last a while.
It opens somewhat stiffly, not with ease.
So treat it gently when you read it, please.

#31 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 07:24 PM:

Read it, it deserves a display case!

#32 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 08:43 PM:

Sure, but what good is a book you can't read?

#33 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 08:45 PM:

Dan Blum... Nowhere did abi say one shouldn't read the book. She only suggested to be careful. Obviously, this is the kind of book I'd keep away from my wife.

#34 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 10:03 PM:

Sorry, I was responding to Marilee there.

Does your wife crack spines, or something? I HATE that.

#35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 10:21 PM:

Does my wife crack spines, Dan Blum? Did people at Los Alamos split atoms? In other words, yes. People could barely tell when I have read a paperback. With my wife, it looks like a bunch of mad puppies went at it. OK, I'm exagerating a bit.

#36 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2007, 10:30 PM:

To say that your work's elegant, Abi, is just wrong,
the language does not have the word for such a treat,
the beauty of the style, and the simple, neat,
decoration that seems to be a visual song;
the form you choose to comment is not long
but neither is it decadent, foppish, nor effete,
it's a poem in itself, plain, simple and complete;
it is a clear as water, and far more strong
than any other message in the things it says
to us and to its buyer, you've found a simple means
of giving honour to an absent friend.
I mean these things, as Jonson said, to thy praise;
others may require more complex, more elaborate scenes,
but in this piece your art has found its end.

#37 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2007, 07:13 AM:

As of this morning, it's in the post, airmail, so it should arrive in time.

The reason to take care with this book is, as I said in the sonnet, to do with the cross-cultural binding. Back-pared leather onlaying (a Western technique) can only work on a stiff cover, using fairly thick leather. But yotsume toji (and, indeed, all the Japanese stab-stiched styles) requires some cover flex to get to the text block. It's essentially a paperback style.

If you open the book gently, and not too far, you flex the hinges I put into the covers. But if you try to open it further, you start to pull on the stitching, and work the cover lining loose at the back. If I had it to bind again, I would use a different structure, but in doing so, I'd lose the simplicity of the classic Japanese style. Hindsight is always 20/20.

This issue highlights a philosophical divide. The production of books by hand is generally divided into bookbinding (a craft) and book arts (an art). The goal of bookbinding is permanence - we strive for a 400-odd year lifespan, which guides our choice of materials and techniques. The goal of book arts is beauty, and archival permanence and utility are both sacrificed to that. This is definitely on the book arts side of the line, which is not terrain I am usually comfortable with; I identify myself first and foremost as a bookbinder, a craftsman*, not as an artist. It's the only way I'm willing to take myself seriously.

The book is not unreadable by any means, but it won't ever lie flat on a table in front of you.

(And Fragano, thank you for the sonnet.)

* I don't like any of the feminine or gender-neutral alternatives to this term.

#38 ::: Deb Geisler ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 10:03 AM:

Thank you very much, abi. We'll very much look forward to seeing your lovely work in person (and *not* drooling on it).

With your permission, I'll copy some of your comments here to pass along to those who might bid for this item in our auction.

#39 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 03:49 PM:

Deb @38

You can copy whatever comments you feel would be of interest. You may also direct people to the bindery webpage for this book, which I have updated to add the sonnet:

Whatever will generate more interest is fine by me.

#40 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 03:57 PM:

Abi! Look at this! (Scroll down some.)

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 04:05 PM:

Thanks for the link, TexAnne. And abi, congratulations!!!

#42 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2007, 04:10 PM:

TexAnne @40:
Thank you very much for pointing that out! How cool that he likes it.

#43 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2007, 12:04 AM:

Abi-that IS gorgeous-and congrats on Neil's comment.

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Deb... According to UPS, the package was delivered to your home today. I hope its contents survived the trip unharmed.

#45 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:34 PM:

It's today, isn't it?

I hope it's a wild success and great fun to boot.

#46 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:40 PM:

Yes, it's today at 8:00 PM EST. I hope to be there.

#47 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 12:56 PM:

8pmET? I'll make sure to raise a glass of wine to Mike's memory.

#48 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 09:47 PM:

Any news on the auction?

#49 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2007, 11:09 PM:

Unofficial result before they finished the official totals from the Friday Night portion of the auction was that they raised over $3000. More items are to be part of a silent auction running Sat to Sunday.

And it was an evening of bittersweet fun, with hilarious performances of selected dramatic works, poems, and stories by Mr. Ford, but I'm sure folks who were part of it will post more, um, accurate and comprehensive reviews.

#50 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 12:51 AM:

The donations sold for very pleasant sums. The only person who got a serious bargain was Geri Sullivan, who picked up a complete run of McSweeney's for $260 and change.

Jane Yolen bid authoritatively for the right to be Tuckerized in Jo Walton's forthcoming novel as the presidential candidate who beats Strom Thurmond.

There'll also be a silent auction running during the convention, so tonight's total is just the start.

#51 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 01:09 AM:
The only person who got a serious bargain was Geri Sullivan, who picked up a complete run of McSweeney's for $260 and change.
That was indeed a bargain - I'd have bid higher myself except I had no good way of getting it home (I could have had it shipped, but I wasn't sure I could manage it before I had to leave).

Abi, your book sold for the highest amount - $325 - to Neil Gaiman himself (via proxy).

#52 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 01:28 AM:

If another auction comes up, let us know.

I have something that might be of interest: A Star Trek boardgame that was written, in part, by Mike.

Moreover, Mike supplied me with a xerox of a missing rule book.

#53 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 04:11 AM:

Dan Blum @51:
That's worth a wee dance round the kitchen. I'm glad it made a goodly sum, and that it went to Mr Gaiman himself.

And, though it's a long and probably incomprehensible story why, I am glad to have finished it and moved it on.

#54 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 05:55 AM:

Dan Blum...Abi, your book sold for the highest amount - $325 - to Neil Gaiman himself (via proxy).


#55 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 07:24 AM:

Abi, that's a beautiful book.

I bid on various things, but I have shallow pockets. One of these days I have to get a look at "How Doth the Copy Editor."

#56 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 09:08 AM:

OMG -- Jane Yolen? That wonderful. Wow.

#57 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 10:40 AM:
I have something that might be of interest: A Star Trek boardgame that was written, in part, by Mike.
The organizers weren't sanguine about gaming materials fetching good value at the auction - I have an extra copy of that game too, but am putting it in a set of eBay auctions with proceeds going to the JMF Fund (Real Soon Now). I did put in a few gaming items which are in the silent auction at Boskone - FASA's The Klingons (co-written by JMF), The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues (written by JMF), and a gaming magazine containing a never-reprinted JMF story. We'll see how they do - anyone at Boskone, go bid on them.

A few gaming items were in the main auction, with mixed results - the A Game of Thrones board game and expansion went for very high amounts, while the limited edition A Game of Thrones role-playing game went for less than retail price. Go figure.

#58 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: February 17, 2007, 12:50 PM:

I hope there will be a list of those who read or performed, because they were all good and I'd like to give them credit when I do my con report.

"Authoritatively" is a good way to describe Jane Yolen's bidding for the Tuckerization. I'd had hopes of it myself [*], but couldn't match her determination--which I quite understand, as it will be more than fitting.

[*] Not sure whether my improbable-looking name or Chad's Polish surname would've been better, but it never came to that.

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