Spider Robinson: Wikis

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Spider Robinson with wife Jeanne at the 2004 Necronomicon.

Spider (Paul) Robinson (born November 24, 1948) is an American-born Canadian Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author.

Contents

Biography

Born in the Bronx, New York City,[1] Robinson attended Catholic high school, spending his junior year in a seminary, followed by two years in a Catholic college, and five years[2] at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the 1960s,[3] earning a Bachelor of Arts in English. While at Stony Brook, Spider earned a reputation as a great entertainer at campus coffeehouses and gatherings, strumming his guitar and singing in harmony with his female partner.[1] In his 20s, he "spent several years in the woods, deliberately trying to live without technology."[4] In 1975 he married his wife Jeanne, a choreographer, dancer, and Soto Zen monk[5], who co-wrote his Stardance Trilogy. They have a daughter Terri, who once worked for Martha Stewart.[6] Robinson has lived in Canada for the past 30 years, primarily in the provinces of Nova Scotia and British Columbia. He formerly lived in "an upscale district of Vancouver for a decade,"[7] and has lived on Bowen Island since approximately 1999.[1] He became a Canadian citizen in 2002, retaining his American citizenship.[8] Spider and Jeanne's first grandchild, Marisa, was born in 2009, as Jeanne was undergoing treatment for "a rare and virulent form of biliary cancer."[9]

Writing

Robinson made his first short-story sale in 1972 to Analog Science Fiction magazine. The story, "The Guy With The Eyes" (Analog February 1973), was set in a bar called Callahan's Place; Robinson would, off-and-on, continue to write stories about the denizens of Callahan's into the 21st century. Robinson made several short-story sales to Analog, Galaxy Science Fiction magazine and others, and worked as a book reviewer for Galaxy magazine during the mid-to-late 1970s. In 1978–79 he contributed book reviews to the original anthology series Destinies.

Robinson's first published novel, Telempath (1976), was an expansion of his Hugo award-winning novella "By Any Other Name". The first edition had cover art by 'Powers'. Over the following three decades, Robinson on average released a book a year, including short story anthologies. In 1996–2005, he served as a columnist in the Op-Ed section (and briefly in the technology section) of the Globe and Mail.

In 2004, he pronounced himself "overjoyed" to begin working on a seven-page 1955 novel outline by the late Robert A. Heinlein to expand it into a novel. The book, titled Variable Star, was released on September 19, 2006. Robinson has always made his admiration for Heinlein very clear;[10] in an afterword to Variable Star he recounts the story of how on his first visit to a public library a librarian named Ruth Siegel "changed my life completely" by sizing up the child in front of her and handing him a copy of the Heinlein juvenile novel Rocket Ship Galileo, after which "the first ten books I ever read in my life were by Robert Heinlein, and they were all great."

Robinson is also an admirer of mystery writer John D. MacDonald. Lady Sally McGee, from the Callahan's series, is apparently named in honor of Travis McGee, the central character in MacDonald's mystery novels. The lead character in Lady Slings The Booze frequently refers to Travis McGee as a role model. In Callahan's Key the patrons make a visit to the marina near Fort Lauderdale where the Busted Flush was usually moored in the McGee series. On Robinson's website there is a photo of him "at the address (now demolished) of 'The Busted Flush,' home of John D. MacDonald’s immortal character Travis McGee: Slip F-18, Bahia Mar Marina, Fort Lauderdale FL."[11] Similarly important to Robinson is writer Donald E. Westlake and Westlake's most famous character, John Archibald Dortmunder.

Between the end of Chapter 5 and the start of Chapter 6 in Robinson's novel Lifehouse (1997) is a list of the aliases used by a con man character, containing an impressive number of cultural references (including McGee, Dortmunder, and several Heinlein characters, plus other SF and popular fiction allusions). One subtlety is the inclusion in the list of aliases that were aliases for other people, either real or fictional: James Tiptree, Jr, the pen name used by SF writer Alice Sheldon, and "Sebastian Tombs," which was an alias often adopted by the character "Simon Templar" in many novels by Leslie Charteris.

Robinson's stance may be described as humanistic and humorous. He has frequently encouraged a positive attitude towards world issues, claiming that a pessimistic world view will yield pessimistic results. Frequently in his writing, the conflicts center around a science fiction issue with a human solution, following Theodore Sturgeon's definition of a good science fiction story.

Published works

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Stand-alone novels

The Russell Walker/Zandor Zudenigo/Nika Mandiç Mysteries

The Deathkiller Trilogy

The Stardance Trilogy

Written in collaboration with his wife, Jeanne Robinson.

The Callahan's Series

  • Callahan's Place
    • Callahan's Crosstime Saloon (1977)
    • Time Travelers Strictly Cash (1981) (contains several non-Callahan's stories as well)
    • Callahan's Secret (1986)
    • Callahan and Company (1988) - (omnibus edition of Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, Time Travelers Strictly Cash, and Callahan's Secret)
    • The Callahan Chronicals (1997) - (retitled republication of Callahan and Company)
  • Lady Sally's
    • Callahan's Lady (1989)
    • Lady Slings the Booze (1992)
    • Kill the Editor (1991) - (an excerpt from Lady Slings the Booze, published in a special edition)
  • Mary's Place
    • The Callahan Touch (1993)
    • Callahan's Legacy (1996)
  • The Place
    • Callahan's Key (2000)
    • Callahan's Con (2003)
  • Off the Wall at Callahan's (1994) - (a collection of quotes from other books in the series)

Short story collections

  • Antinomy (1980)
  • The Best of All Possible Worlds (1980) - (collection of works by other authors edited and introduced by Robinson)
  • Melancholy Elephants (1984 - Canada; 1985 - United States)
  • True Minds (1990)
  • User Friendly (1998)
  • By Any Other Name (2001)
  • God Is an Iron and Other Stories (2002)

Discography

  • Belabouring the obvious (2000)

Collected essays

  • The Crazy Years: Reflections of a Science Fiction Original (2004), a collection of his articles for the Globe and Mail

Awards and honors

References

  • Robinson, Spider. Telempath (New York: Berkley, 1976) ISBN 0-399-11796-2
  1. ^ a b c Spider Robinson: Bio
  2. ^ The Crazy Years, "School Will Be Ending, Next Month" p. 107
  3. ^ The Crazy Years, "Buzzed high Zonked Stoned Wasted" p. 44.
  4. ^ The Crazy Years, "Loathe Yourself, Fine—But Leave Me Out of It" p. 133.
  5. ^ The Crazy Years, "You Just Can't Kill for Jesus/Allah/Jahweh/Rama/Elvis…" p.123, "Starsong on My Desktop" p. 219.
  6. ^ The Crazy Years, "Lay Off the Lady" p. 105.
  7. ^ The Crazy Years, "I Want a Really Interactive Newspaper" p. 78
  8. ^ The Crazy Years, "Citizen Keen" p. 53–55.
  9. ^ "Spider Robinson's Official Website". http://www.spiderrobinson.com/index2.html. Retrieved 2009-09-02.  
  10. ^ For example, his 1980 essay "Rah, Rah, R.A.H.!" or the 1998 "Mentors".
  11. ^ http://www.spiderrobinson.com/panelscons.html

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased — thus do we refute entropy.

Spider Robinson (born 24 November 1948) is an American-born Canadian Hugo and Nebula award winning science fiction author. Spider states that the internet rumors of his name being, or having been, Paul Robinson are incorrect.

Contents

Sourced

There are in fact Laws of Conservation of Pain and Joy. Neither can ever be created or destroyed.
But one can be converted into the other.
In a culture where pessimism has metastasized like slow carcinoma, that crazy Irishman was backward enough to try to raise hopes, like hothouse flowers.
  • Just as there are Laws of Conservation of Matter and Energy, so there are in fact Laws of Conservation of Pain and Joy. Neither can ever be created or destroyed.
    But one can be converted into the other.
  • In a culture where pessimism has metastasized like slow carcinoma, that crazy Irishman was backward enough to try to raise hopes, like hothouse flowers. In an era during which even judicious use of alcohol has been increasingly bad-rapped, the man who came to be known as The Mick of Time was backward enough to think that the world can look just that essential tad better when seen through a flask, brightly. (As Long as you let someone else drive you home afterward.) Above all, he — and his goofball customers — believed that shared pain is lessened, and shared Joy increased.
    Now he is gone. Gone back whence he came, and we are all the poorer for it. But I refuse to say that we will not see his like again. Or his love again.
    • The Callahan Chronicals (1996) [originally published as Callahan and Company (1988)] "Backword", p. xii
  • Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased — thus do we refute entropy.
    • "Callahan's Law", as expressed in The Callahan Chronicals (1996) [originally published as Callahan and Company (1988)], Part IV : Earth ... and Beyond, "Post Toast", p. 388. On the back cover of Callahan's Legacy (1996) this is modified into "Shared pain is lessened; shared joy is increased (and bad puns are appreciated).
  • To all the Callahan's Places there ever were or ever will be, whatever they may be called — and to all the merry maniacs and happy fools who are fortunate enough to stumble into one: may none of them arrive too late!
    • Toast in The Callahan Chronicals (1996) [originally published as Callahan and Company (1988)], Part IV : Earth ... and Beyond, "Post Toast", p. 392
  • The delusion that one's sexual pattern is The Only Right Way To Be is probably the single most common sexual-psychosis syndrome of this era, and it is virtually almost always the victim's fault. You cannot acquire this delusion by observing reality.
    • Lady Slings the Booze (1992)

God Is An Iron (1977)

"God is an iron," I said. "Did you know that?"
I turned to look at her and she was staring. She laughed experimentally, stopped when I failed to join in. "And I'm a pair of pants with a hole scorched through the ass?"
  • I smelled her before I saw her. Even so, the first sight was shocking.
    • First lines
  • I had just seen the two most horrible things. The first was the smile. They say that when the bomb went off at Hiroshima, some people's shadows were baked onto walls by it. I think that smile got baked on the surface of my brain in much the same way. I don't want to talk about that smile.
  • Five days of wireheading alone should have killed her, never mind sudden cold turkey.
  • Animated the face might have been beautiful — any set of features can support beauty — but even a superb makeup job could not have made her pretty.
  • I was putting together a picture of a life that would have depressed anyone with the sensitivity of a rhino. Back when I had first seen her, when her features were alive, she had looked sensitive. Or had that been a trick of the juice?
  • I wanted to understand.
  • I've tried it with men and women and boys and girls, in the dark and in the desert sun, with people I cared for and people I didn't give a damn about, and I have never understood the pleasure in it. The best it's ever been for me is not uncomfortable.
  • "God is an iron," I said. "Did you know that?"
    I turned to look at her and she was staring. She laughed experimentally, stopped when I failed to join in. "And I'm a pair of pants with a hole scorched through the ass?"
    "If a person who indulges in gluttony is a glutton, and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron."
  • Man has historically devoted much more subtle and ingenious thought to inflicting cruelty than to giving others pleasure — which, given his gregarious nature, would seem a much more survival-oriented behavior. Poll any hundred people at random and you'll find at least twenty or thirty who know all there is to know about psychological torture and psychic castration — and maybe two who know how to give a terrific back-rub.
  • Call it… joy. The thing like pleasure that you feel when you've done a good thing or passed up a real tempting chance to do a bad thing. Or when the unfolding of the universe just seems especially apt. It's nowhere near as flashy and intense as pleasure can be. Believe me! But it's got something going for it. Something that can make you do without pleasure, or even accept a lot of pain, to get it.
  • "It took a couple of hundred million years to develop a thinking ape and you want a smart one in a lousy few hundred thousand? That lemming drive you're talking about is there — but there's another kind of drive, another kind of force that's working a against it. Or else there wouldn't still be any people and there wouldn't be the words to have this conversation and—" She paused, looked down at herself. "And I wouldn't be here to say them."
  • Now I can say that I have sampled the spectrum of the pleasure system at both ends — none and all there is — and I think the rest of my life I will dedicate myself to the middle of the road and see how that works out. Starting with the very weak tea and toast I'm going to ask you to bring me in another ten minutes or so. With maltose. But as for this other stuff, this joy thing, that I would like to begin learning about, as much as I can. I don't really know a God damned thing about it, but I understand it has something to do with sharing and caring and what did you say your name was?
  • God is an iron… and that's a hot one.
    • Author's Postscript to the story. This story is also the second chapter of his novel Mindkiller (1982) and appears as the title story in the collection God Is An Iron and Other Stories ISBN 0-7862-4162-4. Cover art for Book

Callahan's Key (2000)

As Bob Dylan forgot to say,To live outside the law, you must be lucky.
  • It's always coldest before the warm.
    • First lines
  • As Bob Dylan forgot to say, "To live outside the law, you must be lucky."
  • Nikky has more fiber than I do, I guess: he doesn't let a little thing like death slow him down.

Unsourced

  • I don't know how that "Paul" rumour got started, but I've been correcting it for thirty years, and nobody seems to pay the slightest bit of attention to me. Maybe I'll give up and LET them mistake me for someone else, since they're so determined. If there is a Paul, maybe I can get him to pay my taxes for me. Or better yet, write the damn books…
    • Spider Robinson about the rumours regarding his alleged birth name.

External links

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