Standard Normal Deviate (justpat) Sun 10 Aug 03 21:17
I electronically met Jude through Mondo. I had picked up a copy of the magazine in 1992 and learned how I could get on this thing called the Internet, via a New York ISP called Mindvox. She was on Mindvox at the time, and I got to know her there and here on the Well. She and Ken and Bart Nagel were starting to put together the Cyberpunk Handbook around this time, and they posted the outline here on the Well. I had never seen anything that excited me so much. I started to email Jude, suggesting movies, books, and slang terms that they really ought to mention. Most of what I told her was pathetically obvious and was already planned for the Handbook. But I got a few things in -- she said that she had never even heard of the novel "The Shockwave Rider" before I told her about it. Some of my ideas she rejected outright: when I pushed for Cliff Stoll to be made a member of the cyberpunk pantheon, she vetoed that without hesitation. "I've met him. He does yo-yo tricks in public. That's not what we're going for here." I met Jude (and Ken and Bart) in the flesh on September 22, 1995, when they were on their book tour for the Handbook. They were reading and answering questions at the Astor Place Barnes&Noble in New York. By this time we had all spent a year or more working on "How to Mutate" and we were all chummy, but this would be the first time we had met. I got there a little early and tried to see if I could identify who was who. I had seen pictures of Ken, so I recognized him. I heard Bart was tall, so he must be that guy over there. But which of these women was Jude? I had no idea what she looked like. I had just bought the book, and I thought for a moment that she might be the woman on the cover, which had me so excited I couldn't think. But the cover woman wasn't there at the bookstore. Finally, I chanced on a stacked blonde in what I guessed was her late 30s. She was dressed in a black sweater and black pants, and she had something that looked like a security badge around her neck. (Remember that 8 years ago, security badges weren't as prevalent in public as they are now.) The badge was hung right between her breasts, and as I'm nearsighted, it was going to be a challenge to read her name. Plus, she wouldn't stand still for more than a few seconds at a time. Finally, she started talking to Ken, and I figured she had to be Jude. I slid up to her and started to read her badge, which of course made it look as if I was staring at her tits. The badge was very detailed, which meant that I was staring for more than several seconds. When I finished reading the badge I looked up and she was smiling into my face, sort of like "Look at what I made you do." I introduced myself and she gave a whoop and pulled me into a bone-crushing hug. She said they were about to start the reading and the Q&A, and she ordered me not to leave afterward. When the reading was over, she insisted I join them at the @Cafe on St. Marks place, where the three of them were to do another interview for a print publication. I felt as if I had fallen down the rabbithole into a land of really cool people who, for a change, accepted and valued me. As magdalen said earlier, Jude had a talent for making you feel as if cool things were happening and you belonged there. I dutifully sat there as the three of them dealt with some lame-ass questions about evil hackers. Well, Bart hardly spoke, and Ken was exhausted, so it was mostly Jude doing the talking. She would occasionally try to draw me into the conversation, but I was reluctant to say anything. When the interview was over we walked down St. Marks and she asked me why I was so quiet. I said it really wasn't my place to speak -- I had only a minimal connection to the book. She told me to can that crap -- modesty doesn't serve the world. I had a great brain and if I had something to say, she lectured, I should say it. Then she said "Oooh, sunglasses!" and turned to sample the goods on a street vendor's table, my situation having been dealt with and forgotten. With her words still buzzing in my brain, I walked to where Ken and Bart were buying pizza. The three of them were scheduled for an NPR interview next, and time was getting short. I figured my time down the rabbithole was nearly over, but Ken invited me to come along. (Then he hollared for Jude to come and join us, but he didn't enunciate the D and all of St. Marx Place froze as he appeared to yell "HURRY UP, JEW!!!!" at a Saturday afternoon crowd.) We went to the NPR interview and it was essentially the Jude and Patrick show. Bart was still silent, Ken was about to fall asleep, but Jude and I riffed and spewed sound bite after sound bite about hacking, cyberpunk, URL jokes ("What's O.J. Simpson's web URL?" "Aitch-tee-tee-pee-colon-slash- slash-slash-slash-slash-slash-slash..."), electronic brain implants, virtual reality, virtual sex ("Who's going to clean out the VR suit?"), 56K modems and AOL hatred. I remember thinking over and over how un-fucking-believably _generous_ Jude and Ken and Bart were being. Either generous or mightily pissed off. Who the hell was I to come along and take over their NPR interview? The NPR reporter asked if they had a copy of the book she could have for research. Ken, Jude, and Bart all looked blank as they patted their pockets and looked in their bags. I held up my copy, which they all had autographed, and said they could have this one, as long as they promised to autograph my next copy. When we left the NPR interview the three of them thanked me for giving up my book and just for being there. The more I spoke, Jude explained, the less they had to speak, which was fine with them because they were all talked out on the topic. Jude invited me to dinner with them, but now I had to leave the rabbit hole voluntarily. I had a date that night and I was running late as it was -- the book reading had started at noon and here it was 6:30 already. I knew at the time that I was making a stupid mistake by blowing off Jude's invitation, but I couldn't do anything else. When we got to the restaurant Jude gave me a big kiss and disappeared across the street. Several weeks later I got a fresh copy of the Cyberpunk Handbook in the mail. It was obviously from Jude, because hers was the only autograph inside. She wrote "For my dear Patrick, with love and respect -- the man can WRITE!" I have yet to receive any higher praise.
RUSirius (rusirius) Mon 11 Aug 03 11:14
Nice tributes. Patrick, that was a fun NYC trip. One thing about your memories of Jude though: I find it hard to believe that Jude never heard of Shockwave Rider, since she wrote about Robert Morris' SR inspired internet virus for our 1989 issue (under the pseud Lady Ada Lovelace). Maybe she said she'd never read the book... but she must have known the title. I'm pretty sure it was mentioned in the piece although I don't have a copy convenient to check. Or maybe she forgot it completely. I think she was one of those people who get to be thrilled and surprised by something repeatedly by forgetting about them.... Queen Mu used to always look at the final design of each edition and say *I* never saw *that* about some piece even though we'd all been through everything in it a dozen times... Fortunately, most of the time she was happy with her "discovery." >>>>
Standard Normal Deviate (justpat) Mon 11 Aug 03 18:01
Honest, she really claimed not to know Shockwave Rider.
RUSirius (rusirius) Wed 13 Aug 03 10:59
Jude remembered as "Judy Milhon" w. photo http://famousdeaths.150m.com/WeekInReview/WIR2003/WIR20030802.html#D52
double-axled haywains and Harpo Marx going honk-honk (lioness) Mon 18 Aug 03 00:28
She was a good one. Glad I had the chance to be around her, here and between the covers of HowTo Mutate. She will be missed, but more than that, I believe she's left us a pretty good bunch of inspiration, which is a damn fine legacy for a damn fine writer and whatever-she-was. (She was one of the good ones who doesn't fit in one word.)
Mark Szpakowski (szpak) Sun 7 Sep 03 19:10
An appreciation, from Jude, of the people who helped her in her last two years, is at http://www.well.com/~szpak/jude/.
David Gans (tnf) Wed 17 Sep 03 09:19
<scribbled by tnf Wed 17 Sep 03 09:19>
from JEAN E. KREILING (tnf) Wed 17 Sep 03 09:20
Jean E. Kreiling writes: Jude was way ahead of me. She had an astonishing intellect, a fast brain that took in everything. I met her when we were 17 and newly enrolled in college. Her way with words was dazzling and I never knew a better writer. Some thought her gifts were wasted on comedy, but I doubt she could have done things differently. She had some early tragedies and I think these permanently set her face in the direction of humor. We were out of touch for years when I bumped into her on the Internet. We met in NYC and corresponded a bit before losing contact again. I didn't know she was sick until two months before she died when she sent me a file, a musical farewell. I was stunned. On the one hand, she was dying; on the other, here was this file that was the funniest thing I had ever received. Egad, as Jude would say. Goodnight, my friend.
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Tue 11 Nov 03 12:47
Wow, I'm just finding out about this now. How sad.
Infradibulated Gratility (ssol) Sun 16 Nov 03 15:33
Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Sun 16 Nov 03 17:50
These stories about St Jude are great! I wish I had known her better.
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