Yesterday, Linda Levy and I drove an hour south to San Jose to spend the day at BayCon 2008 - yeah, a science fiction convention. But we weren't there merely to ogle the busty goth girls in corsets and Frankenstein boots (yes, I realize 'Frankenstein' refers to Victor Frankenstein and he probably didn't wear that style of boot - his monster creation did. I'm not ignorant of the way people conflate the two, I'm a victim of it) or the guys in their Columbine-shooter-chic outfits of combat boots, trench coats, and vaguely fascist haircuts - we were there to meet Tim Powers, one of the con's guests of honor.
Linda and I had a wonderful lunch with Tim and Serena Powers, talking about old times and of course PKD. Tim and Serena are lovely people and Tim really seems to have a heart of gold. It's not hard to see why PKD thought of him as such a good friend. I found him to be smart, funny, and very kind.
Tim told a great story about the time late one night after a bottle when PKD told him and Jim Blaylock that a race of one-eyed, two-nosed Neanderthals had been discovered to have lived in the LA area in prehistoric times. Tim and Jim left PKD's absolutely convinced this ancient race of dual-nosed cyclops lay waiting to pounce on them around every corner. Tim told me that PKD could convince anyone of anything, and he had me convinced. Anyway, Powers noted in his journal the exact date that PKD had told him and Blaylock this story. Later when Powers read PKD's published letters he found one, dated exactly one week before PKD lay this number of Powers and Blaylock, in which Phil tells a correspondent that the article about the ancient race of cyclops with two noses that this person had sent him was the most ridiculous thing ever and NOBODY would ever believe such a stupid story. I guess he wanted to test that theory.
Linda and I watched Powers speak on a panel for aspiring authors about how to manage detail in your fictional universe - you don't want your orcs using spears during the bronze age, er, uh, maybe you do, what the hell do I know?! Then Powers was part of an hour-long panel on PKD, which was a little disappointing - mostly because I wasn't on it, while other members of the panel admitted that Sutin's biography was the extent of their knowledge of Dick. As you can imagine, I didn't learn any new stuff from them. Finally, Powers did a one-on-one interview as the guest of honor.
Powers (he refers to himself in the third person using his last name) certainly does have a huge fanbase, all of whom enthusiastically lined up to have their books signed by him. Phil would be very proud to see how Tim's made a name for himself.
Linda and I drove home talking about PKD and old times. OK so it's not the best picture of me and Powers, but, on the bright side, I managed to resist buying Spock ears for an entire day!