The Cast of Characters
Clarion West 98
I hold Daniel "Daniel" Abraham fully responsible for the spoof -- well, maybe Eric too, since he's the one who contributed Thorne the Relentless to the lounge, where we read out loud to each other about pulsing pectorals and heaving breasts. (Diana had a great talent for opening the book automatically to the steamiest scenes.) But without Daniel's typically surly comment one morning in class, "I'll be surly, he'll be tired, and you can be oblivious," the spoof never would have been born. The names stuck, although in the process of coming up with a complete cast, they did a transformation from the 17 Dwarves to the Spice Riders. (And no, we did not have any Australians in our group, although Lucy Sussex was with us for a week and we were threatened by some Austrians ...)
Oblivious Spice, aka Tamela Viglione aka Golden Warbitch. Known for her abs, her kooky laugh, her collection of souls in jars, her weakness for men in braids, and her tendency to put at least one sex scene in every story.
Baaaz-z, aka Ellen Levy Finch aka Elf. Unanimously acclaimed class president after I dreamed her into the position, Ellen charmed us with her Feghoots, exhausted us with her productivity, and made our T-Shirts!
Tired, aka Michael Bateman. The resisdent expert on all things SF. When Mike finished a critique with the sentence, "I think you might want to look at this story by ... " you knew you'd better rethink the originality of your premise. If he had a list, you'd better think very hard.
Existential Spice, aka David Wellington. David was responsible for a number of the myths of the OGM ("our group mind"), most prominent of which was probably the weather that hadn't changed for a thousand years.
Structured Spice, aka Eric Witchey. Eric brought us the great majority of our toys, from Thorne to Godzilla, making us laugh and keeping us sane. His database of ideas and characters and plots made him a figure of awe, and his awesome productivity was feared by all.
Ambiguous Spice, aka R.S. Blum, aka Robert. Robert got his name by avoiding any mention of his biological sex during our pre-Clarion listserv days, and managed to pull the wool over this old feminist's eyes at least. Our joke-challenged member.
Perky Spice, aka Chiara Shah. Chiara fed us candy and made us cookies and cooked for us -- and through all the adversities which are Clarion, make no doubt about it, somehow did manage to retain her "perkiness"!
Gourmet Spice, aka John Olsen. As behooves an American expatriot in France, John's stories invariably included detailed descriptions of food or involved eating, sometimes even as a major plot element.
Surly Spice, aka Daniel Abraham, aka Daniel. (Not Dan, not Danny, just Daniel.) Our listmaster, who despite his fond sarcasm (or so we hope) was integral to making our rapport possible. In any case, he was "there."
Bitter Spice, aka Diana Rowland, aka "The Diana." As one of the "this doesn't work for me" women, her critiques were feared by all -- as much as her coffee and her open, welcoming door were loved. My first OGM acquaintance: Diana and I found each other on sff.net even before the listserv was organized.
Subtle Spice, aka Karen Cupp, aka Karen C. After being told by Diana what wasn't working, Karen C. was always able to cheer the critiquee up by telling him or her, "I really appreciate the risk you took here." Strong woman -- she never hugged the toad.
She-Who-Can't-Deal-With-This, aka Karen Fishler, aka Karen F. When asked if she had any name preferences, Karen F. replied, "I can't deal with this." A name was born.
Local Spice, aka J.A. Deveaux, aka Jeff. Although we had several Seattlites among us, Jeff was the most local of them all, living all of two blocks away from the dorm. Jeff tried to teach several of us to juggle and Eric actually learned.
Leggy Spice, aka Susan Fry. Of our group, only John could beat Susan in the height department. Susan was notorious for wanting to see more violence and gore in our stories -- preferably presented in a humorous way.
Punchy Spice, aka Burke Kealey. The only real doctor in our midst (since Ph.D.s don't count.) Among the members of the OGM, Burke will probably best be remembered for his aliens with the astonishing power of -- making ice!
Nice Spice, aka Christyna Ivers. Known for the most original lunches at Clarion West '98. Christyna's aliens were even more astonishing than Burke's -- they had a habit of running around without heads for six months at a time.
Loopy Spice, aka Ruth Nestvold, aka Dr. Ruth. (Space here reserved for derogatory comments by members of the OGM who feel the need for verbal revenge.)
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