It was good to catch with Steve Green again. It had been 31 years since we last made contact, in a science fiction convention in Glasgow.
We first met in 1977 as teenagers at Solihull Tech College, when, along with my best friend at the time, Paul Harris, we got together and created a fanzine for the Birmingham science Fiction Group. The fanzine was called Meta and this labour of love was created on our manual typewriters on Gestetner Mimeo sheets. Hand crafted. I was strongly into sf in those days, but as moved on, although I never lost my love for sf and its big ideas – and I’m talking about the written stuff, you know, in books – I never re- established contact with the sf community when I moved out of Birmingham.
But the circle closed again when I found a reference to me on Steve’s website, where he wondered whether the Noel Chidwick of Arbelos was the same one he knew. How could I not contact him?
And I was back in Brum for a weekend in January and I arranged to meet up. Here’s the picture evidence: that’s me on the left and we’re holding Steve’s copy of Meta, one of only two still in existence, probably. (Here’s a question for you: name the two authors on the cover of Meta).
We had both changed somewhat since our teenage years, but it didn’t take long to get back to where we left off. Steve filled me in on all the doings of the sf world in Birmingham and reeled off names I hadn’t heard for years, names such as Rog Peyton and one of my favourite artists, Dave Hardy, for example.
And it was good to see that Steve is still active in fandom. ¬†He’s writing a ¬†fanzine, Fortnightly Fix, using digits and pixels, the modern equivalents of the Banda machine.
Steve is still flying the flag for written word SF. Back in the 70s the written word was the focus of SF, and over the years since it has been swamped by all the films and TV ‘sci-fi’ that’s emerged now that computer graphics make the impossible easy to film now.
There are plenty of good writers producing Science Fiction that takes the breath away. In this country we have Stephen Baxter, Charles Stross, Iain M Banks, Paul J. McAuley, Richard Morgan, Iain MacLeod, and others.¬†Arthur Clarke may have died, but his legacy lives on.
So, thanks Steve, for reminding me of all that is good in SF, and maybe it’s time I refilled the ink in my SF writing pen again. Look out for our next Arbelos album – I’ve written a song based on Iain Banks’ Player of Games.