March 4th, 2005

Vanitas desk

An Evening with Farah Mendlesohn

Farah Mendlesohn, editor of one of the top SF academic journals, Foundation, and lecturer in American History at Middlesex University, came to the Merrill collection last night for a conversation with the Merril's senior librarian. It was a lovely evening. Lorna's questions were good ones, and Farah's extensive answers were even better. We learned a great deal about the strange state of SF written for children (and lack thereof), how small the world of SF academia is, and how overdone articles on Ursula LeGuin are.

Afterwards, a dozen of us trooped out to a nearby pub to continue talking after the library had closed. Not only did it turn out that Farah overlapped with me at York (her social life revolved around my department, while mine was rather more centered around the SciFi club), and that her middle name is my first name. (I've been hearing about Shanas all my life, but never met one.) I'll almost certainly meet her husband at the Leeds Congress this summer. In some ways, the most exciting part of the evening was when she offered me bookshelves. (We own no furniture in the UK and she's moving to a smaller house.)

The guest of honor, however, was just one of the many good people with whom I spent my evening. I may be a member of Friends of the Merril, but it was a comment by curtana which inspired me to go. forthright, theengineer and his brother, moon_custafer and her partner, and Nalo Hopkinson were all there too, among others.

(Also, Farah would like anyone interest in Science Fiction to go fill out her survey on SF reading habits, if you haven't already.)