The 2008 Williamson Lectureship
April 11, 2008
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico

A photo-report by Stephen Haffner
Be sure to check out for books by Jack Williamson

The 32nd Annual Jack Williamson Lectureship was held April 11, 2008 on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University. This annual lectureship honors distinguished Emeritus Professor of English Dr. Jack Williamson (1908-2006), science fiction author and scholar. A campus tradition since 1977, the Williamson Lectureship annually invites well known authors to visit the campus and discuss the interactions of science and the humanities.

 This year's Guests of Honor were Steven Gould, (author of Jumper) and Dr. Christopher Stasheff (author of The Warlock in Spite of Himself, and associate professor of communications at ENMU) with Dr. Alberto Rojo (associate professor of physics at Oakland University, and the 2007 holder of the Jack Williamson Endowed Chair in Science and the Humanities) and Joan Saberhagan (author and widow of the New Mexico science fiction great, Fred Saberhagen).  As usual,
Connie Willis was Toastmistress. 

Following the luncheon, attendees were invited to three panels held at the Jack Williamson Science Fiction Library at ENMU's Golden Library:
  • The first panel, "SF and Fantasy, New Directions" was manned by Gould, Stasheff, and Willis along with Eleanor Wood and Walter Jon Williams.
  • The second panel celebrating Fred Saberhagen was anchored by Willis, with Melinda Snodgrass, Eleanor Wood and, of course, Joan Saberhagen.
  • The third panel, "PG for Violence, Action and Scary Creatures," focused on the tug-of-war between written SF and Hollywood's interpretations.  Panelists included Williams, Snodgrass, Ed Bryant, Gould, and freelance media reporter Craig Chrissinger.
Friday, April 11, 2008

The Luncheon started off with a presentation by Stephen Haffner of $1500 to ENMU President, Dr. Steven Gamble. 
These funds benefit the Blanch and Jack Williamson Scholarship Fund and are the
proceeds from the sale of Haffner Press' 2007 chapbook, In Memory of Wonder's Child.

Connie Willis, Steven Gould, Joan Saberhagen, and Christopher Stasheff

Prior to, and after, the luncheon staff members of the ENMU bookstore made available for sale books by
Dr. Williamson.  The campus bookstore was closed during the Lectureship and is slated to re-open
under the management of Barnes & Noble.

A new book from Haffner Press celebrating Jack Williamson's Centennial debuted at the lectureship.  Details at Educators and students of ENMU peruse the offerings of the ENMU bookstore: titles by Jack Williamson, Connie Willis, Steven Gould and others (including a flyer for Albuquerque's main SF convention, Bubonicon) adorn the table.

The first of 3 panels
(l to r) Steven Gould, Christopher Stasheff, Connie Willis, Walter Jon Williams, Eleanor Wood (SF agent extraordinaire!) and Melinda Snodgrass.
(note the plaques and awards around the central mounting of Jack Williamson in the background.  These are some of the awards that Jack Williamson received over the years and displayed with pride in his home.  The display case on the right houses additional awards, including his Hugo, and Nebula awards.)

NOTE: It was at this time that it dawned on me to take Vicky Medly to the ENMU Bookstore and have her autograph any unsold copies of THE WORLDS OF JACK WILLIAMSON.  Vickey studied under Dr. Williamson for many years and her Master's Thesis Queen of Space: Women in the Works of Jack Williamson was presented in 2003, and is included in WORLDS OF JW.
This impromptu autographing exercise resulted in my missing the two subsequent panels.

Following the Lectureship, Alexandra Allen and Stephen Haffner shot over to the nearby archaeological dig Blackwater Draw and toured the site.

The skinny on the site from Wikipedia:

Blackwater Draw, formerly known as Anderson Basin, is an extinct riverbed near Clovis, New Mexico that contains two important archeological sites. Particularly well-known is Blackwater Locality No. 1, which is the type site of the Clovis culture. Evidence of "fluted" points, spearheads also known as Clovis points (a New World invention) and other stone and bone weapons, tools, and processing implements was found at the archaeological site. These artifacts are in association with the remains of extinct Late Pleistocene megafauna that were hunted by the early peoples who visited there.

The archaeological site is known for its well-defined stratigraphic horizons that exhibit numerous cultural sequences. The sequences begin with the earliest New World peoples and continue through the southwestern archaic, and into the historic period. Investigations at Blackwater Draw have recovered evidence of human occupation in association with Late Pleistocene fauna, including Columbian mammoth, camel, horse, bison, sabertooth cat and dire wolf.

Since its discovery, the Blackwater Locality No. 1 site has been a focal point for scientific investigations by academic institutions and organizations from across the country. The Carnegie Institute, Smithsonian Institution, Academy of Natural Sciences, National Science Foundation, United States National Museum, National Geographic Society, and more than a dozen major universities either have funded or participated in research at Blackwater Draw. Eastern New Mexico University owns and manages the excavations and visitations at the site.

Blackwater Draw was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961 and incorporated into the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Posing at the Blackwater Draw
Showing no fear while awaiting a rampage of extinct mammoths

Rock strata (with a little too much Photoshopping)
Better-looking Strata-shot
More posing

More rock-strata
The structure left of center is a sheltered excavation
Inside the excavation

At the top tier of the sheltered excavation
The longest length of the sheltered dig
Right after this shot was taken, a rabbit shot out from beneath the mammoth's front leg.  Wish I had that shot for you all to see.
Where's the car?

Saturday, April 12, 2008
After 10 years of coming to New Mexico, finally made a trip to Roswell!

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!
Get that BEM some sun-screen!

Just a silo in the distance. 
It is just a silo, right?
A vacant lot in the middle of town. 
Obviously an invisible flying saucer

Alex likes to tickle aliens
Steve apparently likes to phaser them

Little Green Man in one of the many UFO shops in Roswell
Apparently, aliens like to ride on the running boards

Roswell will never want for a Black Light display
Used-Saucer Salesman: "One owner, only 2000 Light Years"

Even Little Orange Men come to Roswell
"Raise my arm, why?  What's behind me?"

After visiting Roswell, we journeyed to the Williamson Ranch in Pep, NM,
but took a side-trip to Haystack Mountain for some hiking and rock climbing.

This is what's next to the sign above
This is what's below the sign above

"Magnificent Desolation"
Good thing it's too early for rattlesnakes . . .

Some rock-climbing
Two hours later . . .
Now, how do you get down?

With the sky beginning to darken, we made it to the Williamson Ranch. Jim and Nancy Williamson and their daughter Betty Williamson,
along with her husband Milz Bickley, and their daughter Katie, hosted us for a pancake dinner!  It doesn't get any better than this!

The home rented by the Williamson family before they moved to the current property
Entering the Williamson compound
The Saddle Room that was originally the first building on the Ranch

"If I could talk to the animals . . ."
Jack's cabin on the Ranch built in 1934
Paying respects

Okay, Alex, give me a "scholarly" pose . . .
I give up, what's so funny?

Many thanks to Dr. Patrice Caldwell and ENMU for custodianship of the Williamson Lectureship, and to
Betty Williamson and Katie & Milz Bickley and Jim & Nancy Williamson for entertaining of couple of yanks from Michigan.

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