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Whitley Strieber To Be Awarded Special Hugo
© Edgar Harris

Philadelphia - The World Science Fiction Society announced today that novelist and alleged alien abductee Whitley Strieber was the recipient of a special Hugo Award to be presented at ConJose in San Jose, California in August 2002. The award, referred to as the "Hubbard", is intended to reward outstanding achievement in presenting science fictional concepts as fact to the general public.

Susan Tankersley, spokesperson for the WSFS, explained the situation. "Through such books as Communion, Transformation, Majestic, and The Secret School, Whitley Strieber has managed to present concepts once unique to science fiction and turn them into cultural icons. Thanks to him, you simply cannot hear the phrase 'alien contact' without thinking the complementary phrase 'rectal probe'. Admittedly, he's also thrown the SETI movement back fifty years in the process, but them's the breaks."

Presenting the Hubbard at ConJose are South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who had nothing but praise for Strieber's contributions to popular culture. "If not for Whitley's anal fixation, we'd have never been able to come up with that first episode of South Park, 'Cartman Gets An Anal Probe', and without that, we'd still be waiting tables in Burbank," said Parker, taking a break from filming of Orgazmo Goes To Salt Lake City, the sequel to his 1999 superhero film. "Trey and I feel that we'd never have managed to squeeze that initial $16 million contract for the first two years of South Park without that episode, and we wouldn't have thought of it until we borrowed Whitley's comment 'Why does everything around here involve something going into or coming out of my ass?' Now we have a multimillion-dollar entertainment empire, and we owe it all to him. Well, not really: if he tries to get any of this money, we'll have security break his legs, but we want to let him know how much we owe him in general."

Streiber himself was extremely enthusiastic about the new Hugo, and expressed it in a special segment of the Art Bell AM radio program by speaking in tongues for twenty-three minutes. Afterwards, he said "You know, certain snotty critics have said that the only thing my books have taught anyone is that 'Klaatu barada nikto' means 'You shore got a purty mouth'. Well, this isn't true. It really means 'Hello, sailor'."

With the announcement also came the announcement that Strieber had signed a contract to adapt his second Visitor book, Transformation, for the screen. Although the 1989 release of Communion was a critical and box-office flop everywhere but in the audience participation midnight movie circuit, producer Michael Nelson had high hopes for this adaptation to turn out better. "We found with Communion that nobody really accepted Christopher Walken as playing Whitley, because he's just a bit too creepy for words. We finally went with an actor who was a dead ringer for Whitley; we were originally considering [former televangelist] Jim Bakker, but then we found that Rick Moranis was free. We already have Comedy Central and the SCI FI Channel fighting over the first broadcast rights to Transformation, and we expect to make a fortune on the action figures. The 'Alien Probe Strieber' is a hit in testing groups: they all want to know how the toymakers managed to get that expression on the doll's face."

-- Edgar Harris is the former Sports Editor at "Science Fiction Age". Archives of his material are available at http://www.hpoo.com/harris/.

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