During the Book Festival at UCLA in April, Greg Benford invited me to Sweden. Abisko is a biological research station in Sweden, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. I had never heard of it. It's the site of an annual seminar on systems and society. About 25 people, all the place will hold, gather to lecture each other on a chosen topic. Of course all attendees must be approved. Greg Benford had filled his roster, very late, and then three of them dropped out. If I was to fill one of those slots, the organizers of the meeting would have to approve me quickly. Even so, there was some delay. With a few days' slack I could have saved the sponsors some money, buying "economy" tickets on American Airlines and using upgrades to put me with my traveling companions, two science fiction writers named Greg. Getting the chosen topic was like pulling teeth. When I left home I had a generic title, "The Science of Fiction and the Fiction of Science." I interpreted that somewhat loosely, as the topic seemed a little loose too. Mats Forsman, the meeting coordinator, was having trouble with his electronic mail, so I never got an exact description of the topic until after I returned home. Then I learned why all the other attendees wanted to insert the word "lies" somewhere in their presentations. At the time I felt like the only Red who never got the word: "Hang a portrait of Lenin!"
Gregory Benford told me to take a computer. I did. He and I boarded the flight at LAX. The flight stopped in Chicago and picked up Greg Bear. Then it was on to Stockholm. Jack Cohen