Brooks Landon: Connections

Rob Latham and Brooks Landon, ICFA 8; photo courtesy of Brooks Landon

By the time Brooks Landon received the Distinguished Scholar Award, he was already a familiar face at ICFA, having first attended in 1983. He kept attending through the Texas years (1985-87), meeting Rob Latham in 1986. Rob would later become his colleague at The University of Iowa and then introduce Landon’s Guest Scholar address at ICFA 22. According to Landon:

My first memory of Rob is meeting him in the hallway outside a very late night ICFA party. Other friends in IAFA who worked with SF film had told me I really needed to meet Rob Latham, and, suddenly, there he was. Can’t remember exactly what we talked about (we may have been drinking a bit), but I do remember quite clearly thinking that Rob was one of the most intense, most knowledgeable, and most promising young assistant professors I had ever met. It took several weeks for me to realize he was still an undergrad at Florida!

Richard and Brooks Landon

Richard and Brooks Landon; photo courtesy of David G. Hartwell

Of ICFA 7, in 1986, Landon says:

I took my son and daughter with me one day because I knew they’d like watching all the cartoons and old films that were being shown nonstop. My daughter was probably seven or eight, my son five or six. I can’t remember whether or not I introduced Rob to my kids then, but some twenty odd years later, my son, Richard, who was an American Studies grad student at Iowa, was one of Rob’s TAs for a Sexuality Studies class he was teaching. So, that’s just one of many ICFA friendships that have lasted through the years and through a number of permutations.

Landon contends that he has “led a fairly sedate life at ICFA,” but he remembers sitting poolside on occasion, one time finding himself rewarded by overhearing a conversation between Brian Aldiss and Doris Lessing:

Doris Lessing at ICFA 10

Doris Lessing, ICFA 10; photo courtesy of FAU Special Collections, Robert A. Collins Collection

They were noting how pleasant the pool and surroundings were, and Doris added that one improvement would be if they could be in the pool, “sporting with dolphins.”

And of valued ICFA fixture Donald E. Morse, Landon offers this story:

Donald Morse arranging things

Donald Morse arranging things; photo courtesy of Stefan Hall

If any further evidence of Don Morse’s wide-ranging cosmopolitanism were needed, years ago I mentioned this insanely funny and insanely bad Canadian horror film, Big Meat Eater. Turns out Don knew the 350 or so pound actor who put the “big” in Big Meat Eater, playing a cannibalistic butcher, and sang its classic theme song that contained the immortal lines: “Well, I’m a big meat eater, yes I am. I’m a big meat eater, pass the ham.” Big Miller was a somewhat well known jazz trombonist, and, of course, Don knew him. And I thought I was in the know just because I’d seen the movie.

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