Capricon XXIV Guests of Honor

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Spider Robinson

Spider Robinson, author of the Callahan's series, was born in New York City on 3 successive days (they had to handle him in sections), and holds a Bachelors degree in English from the State University of New York. In 1992 he was the Toastmaster for the 50th World SF Convention in Orlando. Since he began writing professionally in 1972, Spider Robinson has won 3 Hugo Awards, a Nebula Award, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, the E.E. ("Doc") Smith Memorial Award (Skylark), the Pat Terry Memorial Award for Humorous Science Fiction, and Locus Awards for Best Novella and Best Critic. Twenty-four of his 29 books are still in print, in 10 languages. His short work has appeared in magazines around the planet, from Omni and Analog to Xhurnal Izobretatel i Rationalizator (Moscow), and in numerous anthologies. He also has been a book reviewer for Galaxy, Analog and New Destinies magazines for nearly a decade, and currently writes occasional book reviews and a regular Op-Ed column, "Future Tense," for The Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper.

The Usenet newsgroup alt.callahans, inspired by the Callahan's Place series, was rated the 151st largest newsgroup by bits posted, 172nd by messages posted (placing it in the top 1%), and propagates to over 60% of all Usenet sites, as well as IRC and other cyberbyways. Some claim it is the largest non-porn newsgroup. Mike Callahan has also appeared as a character in Marvel Comics' Spiderman.

His most recent publications are the new novel Callahan's Con and the collection God Is an Iron and Other Stories.

Jeanne Robinson

Jeanne Robinson was born March 30, 1948 in Boston and began performing at five, choreographing at eleven, and teaching at fifteen. She studied at the Boston Conservatory, the Martha Graham, Alvin Ailey and Erick Hawkins schools, Nikolais/Louis Dance Theatre Lab, Toronto Dance Theatre, and the American Dance Festival, among others. A child of the 60s, Robinson moved to Nova Scotia as part of the back-to-the-land movement in 1972, and taught, choreographed and danced throughout the province, both as a solo artist, and with Halifax Dance Co-Op and Halcyon Dance Theatre. In 1979 she founded DancExchange Studio in Halifax, offering classes in modern, jazz and ballet; she also choreographed several Neptune Theatre productions.

After two seasons of mounting her own choreography under the name Jeanne Robinson Dance Project, in 1980 she founded Nova Dance Theatre, the province's first and so far only professional repertory modern dance company. During its seven-year history, NDT produced critically acclaimed concerts twice a year at the Dalhousie Arts Centre, performed school shows throughout the province, and toured the Maritimes and Newfoundland. CBC's hour-long national broadcast of highlights from the 1985 Dance In Canada Gala devoted its final twenty minutes to NDT's performance of Robinson's Fiction.

A spiritual seeker who is now a lay-ordained Soto Zen Buddhist, Robinson speaks of her dances as "moving koans, visual parables that came to me and demanded to be realized." After seeing her dance, her Zen teacher, Tenshin Reb Anderson, named her Buchi Eihei-dancing wisdom, eternal peace. Her work was noted for its ingrained optimism, warmth and wry humour as much as for its spirituality and theatricality.

"It's not unusual for Robinson to think in cosmic terms," the Globe and Mail said in 1985. "In the seventies she created the concept of zero-gravity dance in the Hugo Award-winning novel Stardance, which she wrote with her husband, science fiction writer Spider Robinson." In 1980 NASA asked her to dance in space, aboard its Space Shuttle-an invitation withdrawn when the Challenger explosion ended the Civilian In Space Program.

After five years' assurances by the Canada Council that NDT would be funded once it reached the "national standard of excellence," in 1985 Robinson was told NDT had reached that standard, but no funds were available. Exhausted by the constant fund-raising struggle, and having reached the end of her own performing career, she closed the company in April 1987, a major loss to the Atlantic region's dance community.

In Collaboration

After NDT closed, the couple moved to Vancouver with their daughter Terri Luanna. It was here the Robinsons co-wrote a sequel to Stardance titled Starseed, about a dancer forced into retirement. They eventually followed it with a third volume, Starmind, which featured an orbiting dance company called Nova Dance Theatre; all three books are considered classics of modern science fiction, still in print in several languages.

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