On Charles Brown
Nevertheless, a couple of years ago I was at a book fair in Oakland and while I was there I was invited up to the Locus office, which is also Charles’ house, to be interviewed. The house is absolutely lovely, filled both with art and with Hugos (one had to be careful not to stumble, lest one be impaled by a rocket) and Charles was a gracious host, giving me a tour of the place and in particular letting me visit his legendary archives, which to any science fiction writer with a sense of history is like being a kid allowed into the candy store.
As someone who has himself interviewed hundreds of creative people, I found his interview style interesting, since it largely consisted of the two of us having a conversation, me on a couch and him at his desk, and him seemingly being a bit grumpy about it. At the time I wondered if it was something about me, but I’ve come to understand this is was his usual mode, and in any event the interview, when it appeared in Locus, made me look good. So as an interviewee I certainly couldn’t fault his technique.
One of the things that always puzzled me about Locus interviews was that the printed articles are always the responses to questions, but never the questions themselves. I can’t speak definitively as to why Charles chose that method, but over time I guessed it was because he preferred the focus be solely on the author rather than shared with the interviewer. I think this says quite about about Charles, his respect and understanding of authors and his love of the genre of science fiction and fantasy.
Aside from the visit to the Locus offices, his path and mine crossed a number of times, generally at the year’s Worldcon but at a couple other conventions as well. He was always interested in what was going on with my career, and was never shy in his opinions, which as you might imagine I valued in someone like him, whose opinions of the state of the genre were vastly informed both by his sense of history and his understanding of what was going on in the genre now.