Christopher J. Garcia, Hugo Award Winner; Awesome photo taken by Andrew T Trembley
Born and raised in Santa Clara, Christopher Garcia attended Westwood Open, Buchser Jr. High and Santa Clara High School before moving to Boston to attend Emerson College. Returning to the Bay Area after graduation, he’s become well known in many different social and professional circles around town. Most everyone who has been to the Cinequest Film Festival has had contact with the outgoing Mr. Garcia. If you have ever visited the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, you most likely have had a conversation with the bearded hunk of charisma. And if you are anyone who is anyone in the Sci Fi industry, you’ve most likely met, shaken hands with or been interviewed by this amazing writer and human being. Among various other successful projects, Chris has been writing and editing an amazing Sci Fi fanzine called The Drink Tank since 2005. And after several nominations and losses, Mr. Christopher J. Garcia has just won the most prestigious award in Science Fiction: The Hugo Award.
The Hugo Award
1. What is your earliest memory of the Sci Fi genre, and what first got you interested in it?
Wow, tough question. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t into SciFi and the like. My Dad had a bunch of paperbacks when I was a kid and I read them pretty early. He used to take me to conventions when I was a kid, and that introduced me to that world. I was really hooked as a life-long reader when I was in my early teens by the novels of Kurt Vonnegut and Phillip Jose Farmer.
2. When and how did you get involved in The Drink Tank?
The Drink Tank started partly because I had been working on another magazine that wasn’t going well and I was about to go to a convention called CorFlu which brought fanzine editors from around the world. I put out the first issue on January 31st, 2005 and have been going almost weekly ever since.
3. How did it feel the first time you were nominated for a Hugo Award?
I was stunned. I got a pair of eMails that said I’d been nominated and I was blown away. That time, I managed not to cry, but I think I did call everyone I knew that evening and did a bunch of ‘Woohoos!’
4. Your acceptance speech when you finally won, after having been nominated seven times, was very touching for those of us who know you. Tell us how real the tears and emotion were.
They were 100% real. I had no idea what I was doing, really. Some portion of my Lizard Brain had taken over and I was more or less just reacting. I’d actually lost 9 Hugos, so it was a bit of a combination of relief and over-whelming joy and a bit of sadness that my Dad hadn’t made it to see it happen. It was a whirlwind and you can see in the video how many times the emotional wheel of my Brain turns.
The Drink Tank
5. You mentioned a few people in your acceptance speech. Would you like to explain to us who those people are and why they are important to your success?
Well, Dad gave me life and introed me to SF and the like, and Mike Glicksohn was a Hugo-winning editor and writer who passed away this year. He is also my facial hair hero as his beard was full and awesome! Genevieve and Evelyn are my Ex and her daughter who have always been so very important to me. So much so that when Gen became my Ex I didn’t mind hanging out and babysitting Evelyn every day. The Lovely and Talented Linda is my Long-Suffering girlfriend. Taral Wayne is an artist best known for his Anthropomorphic works who also happens to be an amazing writer who has supplied more than 70 articles to The Drink Tank. Mo Starkey is another artist whose works for the covers of The Drink Tank, along with many more, earned her her first Hugo nomination this year. Finally, My Mom is my Mom. She’s good people.
6. You actually produce quite a few eZines. What are they called, what is each one for, and where can we find them?
They’re all on eFanzines.com. The Drink Tank and Claims Department are at http://efanzines.com/DrinkTank/index.htm while Exhibition Hall, my Steampunk zine, which I do with Ariane Wolfe and James Bacon is at http://efanzines.com/ExhibHall/index.htm. Journey Planet, which is a UK-US-sometimes Australian co-production, is http://efanzines.com/JourneyPlanet/index.htm. They’re all very different, but we love doing them. I used to be a part of the team that did Science Fiction San Francisco, though I left the team about a year ago. They’re still going strong at http://efanzines.com/SFSF/index.htm!
7. You now work at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Tell us anything you like about your job there, and the museum itself.
I love my Job! I was never much of tech geek, but when you grow up in the Silicon Valley and you love video games and the like, you pick things up. I’ve been a curator for more than a decade and it’s always a fun gig to study and present the materials of the information Age. Our current exhibit, Revolution, talks about the progress of computers and computing over the last 2000 years!
Current Film Project
8. The first time I ever met you was years ago when you had a short film showing at Cinequest. You’ve been a well-known fixture there ever since, and have helped with other films. Any future plans in the film industry?
I’m working on teaching myself the art of documentary short filmmaking. I love the short form and documentary is my preferred state. I’m working on a couple of things and I hope to have a short doc finished in the next month or two on the Illustrated Presidential Report of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography by Earl Kemp.
9. Where are you going to keep your Hugo Award?
On the table right in front of my TV so I can claim to be watching whatever’s on while I’m actually staring at the trophy!
10. You’ve found a time machine which can take you to any point in the future or past. Where would you go and why?
I’d probably do one of two things: go back to Colonial Philly in 1776 and hang with that Ben Franklin guy ‘cause he seems like a dude who knew how to party, or go back to the screening room where the full version of Von Stroheim’s Greed was shown. No other film has so thoroughly intrigued me!