In memoriam Robert Sheckley
reflected in glass
a commonplace human,
startling at first
he’d fit in, he knew
Earth’s sentient forms blinded
Trying to gropple
in this restricted body,
settled for a grin.
I was very happy to have this tribute to one of my favorite writers and all time favorite science fiction humorist (sorry, Douglas Adams) published by Alban Lake Publishing in Scifaikuest.
I met Mr. Sheckley at a small science fiction convention. I had gone specifically to see him, but had little idea of what he looked like, having only once seen a photo of him in Omni Magazine which he edited. I waited all afternoon for him to show, and when word spread that he had arrived, I marched up to the man (surrounded by a throng of fans), with my stack of books for him to sign.
“Excuse me,” I said, “I know this is an imposition to present you with such a large stack of books, but I would be truly honored if you would sign them. I’ve been a fan of your writing for many years.”
He looked at my collection and exclaimed, “But these are Robert Sheckley’s books!”
The next thing I knew, he had put his arm on my shoulder in a sort of bear grip, as he turned to his friend and loudly proclaimed, “Hey, Bob, you gotta hear what just happened. This guy wanted me to sign your books.”
And thus, I was personally introduced, red-faced, to my idol by Harlan Ellison.
Delighting in my embarrassment, Mr. Ellison repeated the story from the stage, while I sunk as low as possible in my folding chair, hoping he would not actually point to me or drag me up in front of the audience, which, thankfully he did not. Having just returned from France, where he was briefly placed under arrest as a suspected terrorist (only because of his leather jacket), Mr. Ellison moved on to his own anecdotes of his encounter with the Gendarmerie nationale.