Happy Empress of the Geeks Day!
My mother, the Empress of the Geeks, deserves a huge debt of gratitude. Not just from me, though I love her and honor her as best I can, but also from anyone who has ever enjoyed anything I have ever written. Because of her, I grew up in a house where the hallway leading to my room was lined with bookcases, stuffed with Lensmen, Ringbearers, Swords in the Mists, Fire Dancers, Princesses of Mars, Dragon Riders, Space Cadets, Psychohistorians, Cimmerians, Unabridged Dictionaries, Atlases of worlds that have never existed, books of Chess Variants, and Complete Hoyles. Because of her, I could discover I loved words, loved games, and loved fantasy.
As if that was not enough she took me to see Star Wars when I didn’t want to go (I was bored by the idea of “a space western with a princesses,” mother’s entirely-fair description that failed to catch my imagination right up until the first second of footage actually rolled). When I couldn’t find anyone my age to RPG with (when my age was 11) she boldly took the role of “Dungeon-Mistress” despite having no particular interest in doing so. She kept a gaggle of young boys quiet (to the eternal thanks of their parents) every Sunday, at the local Rec Center, for two years. She was smart enought to realize if she told us at the end of one session that we needed to know the periodic table of elements to get through a dungeon door, we’d learn what that was and bring a copy by the next session. Eventually she passed us off to (and weekly drive us to the house of) another DM. When the “D&D Scare” hit, she calmly told other parents she had *run* D&D games, and it was nothing to worry about.
She raised me in a house where questions were always fair game, bigotry and racism discouraged, and intellectual achievements given as much or more praise as physical ones. When I first encountered the concept of same-sex relationships (in Galaxy Primes, a novel by E.E. Smith), she calmly explained it, made no judgment values (despite having strong opinions herself),m and let me know that if I was confused or wanted to discuss the concept more, she was always available.
She served as an example as well as encouraging me to find my own voice. She was (and is) influential in the National Space Society, saw the Delta Clipper fly, scheduled a local Science Fiction Convention to run on my birthday (and got two suites for me and my friends), and introduced me to CJ Cherryh, Mercedes Lackey, Glen Cook, and L Sprague de Camp. (Not just to their books mind you, through her high-level of fandom she managed to introduce me to the actual people!) There’s more, but like all children I’ll never manage to remember all the things my mother did for me. What I do remember is an amazing environment that allowed me to become the writer and designer I am today.
So thanks, Mom. You helped me do a lot, and everyone who has ever enjoyed any of it should thank you too!