When I think about it, it seems odd that although I lived most of my life in Oklahoma, I wound up living in Cleveland. I say this because many of my favorite science fiction writers were from Cleveland. Not all of them; I loved Jack Vance, and he was from California, and I was fond of Philip Jose Farmer, who was from Peoria, Illinois. And I liked Isaac Asimov growing up, and Arthur C. Clarke.
But Harlan Ellison, George Alec Effinger and Roger Zelazny were all from Cleveland, although all of them had left by the time I moved to the Cleveland area in 2003 after marrying a Cleveland girl. Effinger was a big sports fan who wrote sports SF stories, including one about a Cleveland Browns running back; when I moved here, I wound up becoming a loyal follower of all of the Cleveland sports teams Effinger used to root for, even after he left Cleveland.
Roger Zelazny wound up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he became close friends with George R.R. Martin. (It was recently announced that Martin will be the executive producer for an HBO adaptation of Zelazny's novel Roadmarks. Read my article about that. )
I am well read in all three of those authors, and I still read them, although I am particularly an Effinger specialist; I even did a fan tribute site about Effinger years ago. Google moved my site to a different location and destroyed the formatting, making it look odd and hard to read; when I get a bit of spare time, I need to reconstitute and update it. So in a sense, the Effinger site prefigures this one. (Effinger is probably the least known of the three, but honestly, he was a wonderful writer; he wrote very good short stories and some really good novels, such as What Entropy Needs to Me, The Wolves of Memory and the Marid Audran series that began with When Gravity Fails. At one point, he was married to Barbara Hambly, also a fine writer.)
In any event, I became very interested in Effinger before I wound up coming to Cleveland.
And as I thought about this, I realized something else -- I have an unlikely geographical connection to Robert Anton Wilson.
As far as I know, RAW lived all of his life in four U.S. states -- New York, Ohio, Illinois and California, except for a stint of living in Mexico. I have lived for all of my life in three states -- California, Oklahoma and Ohio -- so two of my states overlap two of RAW's. OK, maybe not the greatest coincidence ever, but there are 50 states.
RAW had a couple of different connections to Ohio. He lived for awhile in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the home of Antioch College, which of course was Simon Moon's university in Illuminatus! Yellow Springs also is the hometown of Ohio's current governor, Mike DeWine.
Timothy Leary, Robert Shea, Patricia Monaghan, Jeff Rosenbaum, Gillie Smythe at an Association for Consciousness Expansion event in Cleveland
As for Cleveland, RAW came to Cleveland for events organized by the Association for Consciousness Expansion, an organization founded by the late Jeff Rosenbaum, who was RAW's lecture agent for six years during the 1980s. RAW and Robert Shea both came to Cleveland for ACE events, and ACE published recordings of both men. (Unfortunately, I had never gotten around to tracking down Rosenbaum by the time he died in 2014).
I don't know if RAW read most of my other favorites (he did know Clarke's work), but I was delighted when I found out that RAW and Farmer were fans of each other.