Jul 08 2010
Last week Catherine Asaro and Donald Wolcott played a live show at Stacy's to celebrate the paperback release of Diamond Star. Hasufin, Mika, Lyssa, and I had hoped to show up at Stacy's about an hour ahead of time to get the sound system set up and checked out but Dr. Asaro and Donald had beaten us by about twenty minutes; plus, we were running about ten minutes late. We spent the next half hour or so sitting around chatting amiably, settling in, and waiting for more people to arrive. They took their places behind microphone and keyboard around 1915 local time and the show began.
Their show began with a short introduction followed by one of Del's songs from the novel. The concert lasted a little over an hour, during which time Stacy's was filled almost to capacity by fans - young, old, and in between. They played a couple of original compositions and did a few covers as well, some Simon and Garfunkle and even one of my favorite Patti Smith songs (famously covered in the early 1990's by 10,000 Maniacs). Dr. Asaro has an excellent voice and Donald is a highly skilled keyboardist and piano player. From a synaesthete's perspective, watching their music was just as much fun as listening to it. The book and CD signing lasted another hour or so, and it would seem that some old friends were also in attendance. I wasn't paying much attention to Dr. Asaro at the time because I was engrossed in a discussion with an older gentleman named Joel about rapid prototyping and 3D printing. While we were coming from very different worlds on some technologies (he science fiction, myself hacking and reading the latest research when I have a spare moment) he gave me some points to consider: there are certain things, like engine mounts and brake pads which are probably not amenable to construction on a 3D printer, even an industrial one. He brought up the examples of ship foundries and wartime field factories manufacturing parts for equipment that adhere to very strict protocols and tolerances tighter than anything our equipment can manage at this point in time. As a physical engineer, he made some excellent points that I must confess I hadn't considered before. Truth be told I'm a pretty lousy physical engineer, as the wreckage that is my workshop can attest to, so I've got some blind spots in the field.
Around the time that Stacy's closed the usual suspects and Dr. Asaro headed off to Amphora, our favorite local watering hole for a late dinner. We wound up talking there until quite late - 0100 or therabouts - about writing, publishing, the musical arts, and copyright. One of our number, a member of the next generation, really stole the show with her encyclopedic knowledge of paleontology and her plans in life. It's one thing to read in a book that someone's socks were charmed off, but quite another to actually watch it happen, and I'm pleased to say that I've gotten to witness it first hand.
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