Eating Authors: Lawrence Watt-Evans

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Lawrence Watt-Evans

Come on in, you’re just in time for another rousing installment of Eating Authors, the weekly blog post that asks writers of speculative fiction about their most memorable meals. No, really.

Our guest today is Hugo Award winner, Lawrence Watt-Evans, who has been publishing novels since 1980 and shows no indication of stopping. Normally in the introductory section of this feature I like to list some of the author’s books before getting to the culinary portion, but in this case even listing the names of all of Lawrence’s many series would take up too much space.

He seems equally at home in Fantasy and Science Fiction, and is no stranger to the Horror genre either. Lawrence has even written Star Trek novels (though interestingly enough, he did so under the pseudonym of Nathan Archer, who also gets the credit for his movie novelizations). But it’s in fantasy that he’s most prolific, as demonstrated by such series as the four volume Lords of Dûs, the three volume Worlds of Shadow, the three volume Obsidian Chronicles, and the extremely popular, twelve volume (and still going strong) Legends of Ethshar series, including the recently released Tales of Ethshar, which brings together all the short stories from the series in one place.

LMS: Welcome, Lawrence (offering him the secret handshake known only to elite members of the Brotherhood of Bearded SF&F-Writing Lawrences). So, let’s get to it. Are you ready to share with my blog readers the tale of your most memorable meal?

LWE: Long ago, at my high school, a European history class was interrupted by the sound of a bunch of other students traipsing along the hallway past their classroom, laughing and talking and having a good time, because they were off on a field trip. One of the history students asked plaintively, “Why don’t we ever go on field trips?”

“Because this is European history, and we can’t very well go to Europe, can we?”

“Why not?”

The teacher, Mr. Richard Case, realized he didn’t actually have a good answer to that, and decided to do something about it, so for a few years in the late ’60s and early ’70s my high school did indeed run field trips to Europe — five countries in three weeks, mostly staying in youth hostels, and cutting various corners to keep the cost down while visiting as many historic sights as possible.

Realms of Light
Tales of Ethshar
Dragon Venom

In April of 1971, when I was sixteen, I was one of the forty students on that year’s expedition. We started in London, then worked west and north, and spent a night in Stratford-upon-Avon. There was no youth hostel there, so our stay was in a row of bed-and-breakfasts. I was one of about eight of us who were put up at the Grosvenor House. (Which is apparently long gone; it was not the same place as the Grosvenor Hotel that’s operating in Stratford now.)

I don’t remember much about the evening we got there, but the following morning I got up and went downstairs to breakfast — and that was the best meal I’ve ever had. Ham, English bacon, a couple of different kinds of sausage, thick buttered toast, milky tea, cakes, fruits, all of it perfectly prepared, served in a lovely 19th-century room overlooking the street on a beautiful spring morning. Nothing exotic, nothing fancy, but everything was of absolutely superb quality, and the quantity was enough to leave my sixteen-year-old self feeling pleasantly stuffed and ready to face a long, full day of exploring the English countryside.

I remember four other remarkable meals from that trip — a banquet in Rouen, a picnic in Luxembourg, and two meals in Paris, a luncheon at a little bistro near the Louvre and a dinner in the Latin Quarter — that all have stories and fond memories attached to them, and I’ve eaten plenty of other wonderful meals since, but that breakfast, which does not have any particular story, remains the best.

Thanks, Lawrence. Clearly I went to the wrong high school. We never had field trips like that!

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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