Autograph Hound's Blah Blah Blog

Friday, August 12, 2011

SDCC Ray Bradbury part I

When I first came across a mention of ComicCon (SDCC) many years ago, I found it very intriguing. It seemed like one of those bucket list things you might do someday.  Being an autograph collector it seemed like sensory overload but a wonderful opportunity.  Since it was in San Diego and I was in Texas it didn’t seem like a reality though.
Then I saw one name that shifted my whole perceptive: Ray Bradbury.  I won’t claim to be a huge fan. I haven’t read everything he wrote. I don’t sit down with others and discuss the impact of Dandelion Wine on my young ego or how the Illustrated Man is social commentary unique to people influenced by Middle America. That’s not me.
I’ve read Fahrenheit 451 and Martian Chronicles and found them interesting. I appreciate the body of work he has created and his influence to the genre.  I know he is a SFWA Grand Master; which for a sci fi geek like me is very sacred.  So when I saw that Ray Bradbury was going to be at SDCC I HAD to go.
I brought a couple of books to get signed; nothing 1st edition; just my copy of Fahrenheit and Martian that I had since I was a teenager. They were 30 years old and dog eared and obviously read but in decent shape.
I made the decision to attend and I pulled some strings at work and with the wife and with friends.  I was going to SDCC.  When I finally made it to the convention, I was an obviously newbie to the convention. I gawked and walked around with my mouth open in wonder. I was all over the place; Ball Room 20, Hall H, Room 6 (whatever), on the exhibition floor and back through the cycle.
 It was about 3 hours before the Bradbury signing when I noticed people were in line already. I was dumbstruck. 3 hours early!?!  Wow. I looked at my schedule and what I wanted to do.  I decided to check back in an hour. Surely these were just a few people with nothing better to do.  Waiting in line 3 hours; plus the wait after the signing starts; that was going to ruin my plans for the day.
I attended another panel and came out and the line had grown drastically. So I scrapped my plans and got in line 2 hours early. 
For 2 hours I watch the line grow and grow.  The word was given that Ray would only sign one book.  I was disappointed as I also had a book from a friend I wanted to get signed for him. So I had 3 books with me but only one would get signed.  I had to let down my friend. 
When the signing started they announced that you could buy the Ray autobiography, which he would sign, and that won’t count against your one book limit.  Well, that helped. I could get my friend’s book signed and I would forego my old copies and just get the autobiography signed for myself.
After seeing Ray Bradbury on TV and on the back of book covers for decades, it was surreal to see him in a wheelchair. Not that he was confined to it, it was transport him from place to place in SDCC without wearing him out. He was over 80 years old.
The line went slowly and after another 1 ½ hours I got my books signed.  I was happy. My mission accomplished and whatever happened next at SDCC was just icing on the cake.
Even though it was just a cattle call of an autograph line I left very contented I got an amazing autograph from a legend.  

AH

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