Society at the 61st World Science Fiction Convention
Heinlein Award Presentation and Dinner
Torcon 3, Toronto, Canada
August 29, 2003
Heinlein Society is full of people who... really believe, and really understand
what he is trying to accomplish philosophically. They are a serious-minded group
of individuals who are out to change the world for the better."
as quoted by Amy Baxter
Arriving at the restaurant at 5:30 PM, there
was the usual mad dash to get everything in place: Peter Scott got the AV
tech squared away, Sam and Jane and everyone else cooperated in getting the
place settings down, Deb and Geo, assisted ably by Jake Keaton, set up the
cameras to tape the event, while Alan Milner acted as my substitute host,
keeping things going, while I paid off the restaurant and the service from
which we'd rented the AV equipment and set up.
David Silver, host
Guests did arrive indeed at 6 PM, sharp! and we let them take their seats
while cocktails were served. It was a well dressed, wonderful looking crowd,
and everyone seemed very excited and pleased to be there.
Simone Dimatteo & Alan Milner
Dinner began without a hitch with all guests including all the head table
seated and served in plenty of time. After the entree was consumed and while
coffee and dessert was being served I began the program by introducing the
head table: Alan Milner, our director and fundraising chair, and Simone
Dimatteo, his lovely companion for that evening. Alan deserved a special
commendation for attending -- he underwent surgery only three weeks ago, and
two lobes of his left lung were removed, so he was under considerable
'discomfort' as the medicos call it; but Simone, a wonderful lady, deserved
even more commendation for making his
Marilyn & Larry Niven
Next I introduced Larry and Marilyn Niven. Larry is one
of the Award judges, and so well known as an author to require no further
introduction. Then came Art Dula, the Heinlein Prize Trustee and successor
literary executor. Art's beautiful wife, Tamea, could not arrive in time for
dinner, so we had seated Lt. Col. Sam Kramer, resplendent in his mess blues,
whose devoted efforts at selling all the dinner tickets at our table merited
his inclusion at the head table, next to Art.
David introducing Spider & Jeanne Robinson
I next introduced Jeanne and
Spider Robinson. Spider, a very well known author, is an Awards judge, but
also was the Toastmaster Guest of Honor at Torcon and one special attraction
of the dinner was the opportunity to see Spider actually wearing a tuxedo!
He looked glorious! Black tie was optional. Dr. Kondo, whose daughter had
been called up and is in Afghanistan, could not attend, but had suggested
black tie for the head table. It added tremendously to the tone of the
affair. Next year be ready. See if it still fits. I suspect there will be
even more guests wearing it, or the equivalent, in Boston. What was it they
said about Robert Heinlein, ladies and gentlemen, that he'd even dress for
dinner in the jungle?
Art Dula, the Nivens
|I then introduced my sister,
Jane Silver, who was lovely in her formal, and who lost the bet with my wife
on who would be my keeper this World Con; and then on to introduce Gay and
Joe Haldeman, who like Larry and Pink Niven, need no further introduction to
SF readers. Joe is both an Award judge and our Society's newest director.
Stan and Joyce Schmidt were then
introduced. Stan, an editor, critic and well-known writer, is the fourth
of the Award judges able to attend.
Charles N. Brown
Finally, I introduced Charles N. Brown. our
Society's founding director, and the lovely Jennifer Hall, Locus
Magazine's new editor, now that Charles is "retired." Jenni had nicely
arranged to have her camera ready during the ceremonies and took some
photos of the event and presentation of the awards that we hope to see in
Locus' next issue.
Joe & Gay Haldeman
|Once all the head
table guests were introduced I asked them all to rise and the guests
vigorously applauded them.
Heinlein Award Presentation
Robinson began the awards ceremony with Joe Haldeman's able assistance.
Spider and Joe awarded the first Heinlein Award to Virginia Heinlein,
posthumously, for her years of devoted work to publish and restore the body
of Robert's works, and her overall encouragement of man's quest to
permanently achieve space flight and colonization.
Eleanor Wood, the Heinlein's long-time agent, and Dr. Amy Baxter,
their adopted granddaughter, jointly accepted
the award for Ginny, and Amy gave a beautiful, heart warming speech about
Baxter, Mrs. Heinlein's adopted granddaughter, said, "I think that grandma
would have been bemused, and probably would have been shaking her head, and
then would have been deeply, personally very appreciative of being the first
recipient of this award... She was delighted, she was thrilled that there
were so many people who owed their careers, their life decisions, their
paths, their ethics, their honor, to the books that he had written. And,
too, she was so passionate about carrying on his ideals, his way of being to
"Several times in the last year, she said to
me very seriously, 'Amy, the Heinlein Society is full of
people who are not oddball fans, not people who are not out there because
they just are devoted to his works. They really believe, and really
understand what he is trying to accomplish philosophically. They are a
serious-minded group of individuals who are out to change the world for the
better.' She supported the Heinlein Society deeply."
Eleanor Wood, the Heinlein's agent, said in
accepting Virginia Heinlein's award, "The idea of paying forward was
something that Ginny exercised every minute of her life."
Joe Haldeman, Amy Baxter, Eleanor Wood
Joe Haldeman, Amy Baxter, Eleanor Wood,
Heinlein Award for
outstanding published work in hard science fiction or technical
writings inspiring the human exploration of space
Heinlein Award winner Michael Flynn
Next, Larry Niven and Stan
Schmidt awarded a second Heinlein Award to author Michael Flynn for the body
of his work, which includes a fine four volume series on advancement into
space in the tradition set by Robert Heinlein. This award was given to
author Michael Flynn by a panel of judges including many of the leading
writers in the field. The judges were Greg Bear, Joe Haldeman, Yoji Kondo,
Elizabeth Moon, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, Spider Robinson, Stanley
Schmidt, Herb Gilliland, and John Hill.
Michael thanked the judges
and us for the award, and expressed his pleasure to be at the dinner.
I'm happy to note that Michael was one of the top three authors who we, the
Society, suggested to the judges' panel after their invitation to us to do
so given us back in May.
Michael Flynn's works include: Fallen
Angels, Firestar, In the Country of the Blind, The Nanotech Chronicles,
Rogue Star, Lodestar, Falling Stars, and The Wreck of the
River of Stars.
Larry Niven reading inscription on Award plaque
"The Advisory Board of the Robert Heinlein
Award for Outstanding Published Work in hard science fiction or technical
writing inspiring the human exploration of space, is proud to present the
2003 Robert A. Heinlein Award to Michael Flynn... for his exceptional body
"The intent is that it shall go to someone whose works
are intended to improve and educate the human race, and move us back into
Larry Niven, describing the Heinlein Award
Michael Flynn, Stan Schmidt, Larry Niven
"I can't think of anybody who is a better successor to
Heinlein, and yet at the same time is not an imitator of Heinlein."
Stan Schmidt, describing Heinlein Award winner
"They told me I wouldn't have to make a
speech. I'm very grateful for that. And so are you."
Michael Flynn, accepting the Award
Eleanor Wood, Michael Flynn, Spider Robinson,
Amy Baxter, Joe Haldeman, Stan Schmidt, Larry Niven
We next had an interlude,
not originally scheduled, in which Fred Moulton, one of our first Heinlein
Society members, on behalf of the Libertarian Futurist Society, awarded
Robert Heinlein its 2003 Hall of Fame award for the story "Requiem." I was
honored to accept that award on Robert's behalf. It is a beautiful plaque
which I'll forward on to the UC Santa Cruz library to go with the Hugos and
Nebula and all the other awards presented to Mr. Heinlein during his
lifetime and beyond.
That makes two awards I've been honored to accept on behalf of Mr. Heinlein,
this one for "Requiem" and the other, the retroactive Hugo for "The Man Who
Sold the Moon," at MilPhilCon in 2001, so you might say I've accounted for
Mr. Harriman's awards as well.
"... the most beautiful short story, Requiem."
accepting the award on
Robert Heinlein's behalf
then had the audio visual presentation. We again showed Ginny's copy of the
broadcast of the interview by Walter Cronkite of Arthur C. Clarke and Robert
Heinlein on the occasion of man's first small steps in July 1969, the moon
landing, to the delight of the crowd.
"This is the most important day since the
human race learned to talk."
Robert A. Heinlein on the day man first walked
on the moon
More on the Heinlein Society Blood
There followed, while the
disks were being changed and cued up, an interlude in which first Mike
Sheffield was introduced and recounted our past year's blood drive successes
and urged all to attend the blood drive scheduled for the next day.
|Alan Milner then discussed fund
made an appeal to the audience to participate that evening in donating funds
to further the Society's good works.
"Why do we need money? We have
plans. In 2007 we are planning a national commemoration of the centennial
year of Robert Heinlein's birth. In the same year we are going coax the US
postal service into issuing a commemorative stamp... We want to bring some
of Robert's visions into reality, here and now. Into the daily lives of
people... an academic curriculum, a library fund to make sure Robert's books
are in libraries, but most of all what we are looking to do is establish a
nation-wide organization of Heinlein Society chapters," Alan said.
Alan started with a check of his
own of $1,000, and introduced Art Dula to speak briefly on the Heinlein
Prize Trust which Ginny set up before her death and to which appointed him a
Heinlein Prize Trust
"The Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust
was established by Virginia Heinlein to give an award, a substantial
award—the first award will be about half a million dollars—to the individual
or individuals who achieve a significant advance in space commercial
"Of course, the Prize Trust also can support other worthy endeavors, such as
the Heinlein Society.
"Ginny left me with no doubt as to our marching orders. The purpose of the
Trust is to take the money that Robert and Virginia earned during their
lifetimes, and to cause the dreams of Robert and Virginia to come true… for
their children, namely you, for you are their children."
Art Dula, describing the Heinlein Prize Trust
Art followed up on Alan's appeal for funds and promised that the
Heinlein Prize Trust
would match any funds raised during Torcon by The Heinlein Society. A note:
we raised a total of $3,400 during Torcon; and the Prize Trust has matched
that amount. The Trust's offer stands until the end of the year, for the
balance of $15,000.00.
More on the Heinlein Prize Trust
If you, as many do, make your charitable
contributions before the first of the next year, please remember our good
works and plans for next year could use your support.
|Our AV Presentation then concluded with Ginny receiving Robert's posthumous
DSM at NASA, in 1988 shortly after Robert's death; and with her reading of
"This I Believe" on that occasion. Maybe there was a dry eye in the house
after that: I wouldn't know, I got a little distracted for a moment.
"In recognition of his meritorious service to
the Nation and mankind in advocating and promoting the exploration of space.
Through dozens of superbly written novels and essays and his epoch-making
movie Destination Moon, he helped inspire the Nation to take its first step
into space and onto the Moon. Even after his death, his books live on as
testimony to a man of purpose and vision, a man dedicated to encouraging
others to dream, explore and achieve."
Distinguished Public Service Medal awarded posthumously by National Space
and Aeronautics Administration to Robert A. Heinlein, 1988
Mrs. Heinlein receiving Distinguished Public
Ginny Heinlein reading
by Robert A. Heinlein
Geo Rule, Spider Robinson, Deb Houdek Rule
Jerri Rivera & Robert James
We ended the dinner with thanks to all who attended and those who could not,
but would have attended if they could: Dr. Yoji Kondo, Greg Bear, Elizabeth
Moon, and John Hill and Herb Gilliland, the other award judges; and to the
late Dr. Charles Sheffield, one of the original judges.
The Heinlein Society
Us, the Living"
more on the
Heinlein Awards and Dinner