Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending the 31st Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards show in LA. I had no idea what to expect, but I can honestly say my expectations were promptly blown out of the water. From the moment we arrived, my wife and I were treated like royalty. Everything from the hovering paparazzi drone to the gorgeous red carpet guests combined to create a truly surreal experience. Once inside the Ebell theater, we were treated to a visually stunning introduction piece that summarized thousands of years of story telling while also explaining why the contest continues to thrive despite a declining market. In short, the contest survives as a vehicle for new writers to find their path. It helps new artists get a start. For this, I am endlessly appreciative. The show highlighted each of this year's winners, transformed some stories into interpretive dance routines, and allowed some iconic sci fi writers to offer their thoughts. I never thought I'd get a chance to meet Orson Scott Card, Larry Niven, and Jerry Pournelle, but they were all in attendance and gave remarkable speeches. After the show, I purchased a book and spoke briefly with the winners while hounding them for an autograph. It was clear they were all hard workers caught up in a whirl of "I can't believe this is finally happening." Aside from the authors, there were a lot of Hollywood types lurking in the shadows. My wife did some smoozing with the show organizers and got me an interview with a documentary crew. The whole thing was a blast and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.