HOME

Photos

Fanzines

Links

My Live Journal

Reviews

Files & Clippings

Steven Karl Zoltán Brust—Hungarian Guest of Honor*

by Fred A. Levy Haskell

If you’re looking for the “standard bio” on Steven, you can look in one of his 12-1/2 books, most of which, I believe, are still in print, which, in itself, ought to tell you something. I will, if I might, direct you especially to the bio contained in The Phoenix Guards, which is, in my humble opinion, a book well worth owning, not to mention reading, not merely for the bio contained therein; by which statement, you must understand, I do not mean to belittle the worth of his other books, each of which is worth owning and reading for its own, not inconsiderable, merits, but, rather, to call your attention to this book, and bio, in particular. But you’re not looking for the “standard bio”—I can tell—you’re seeking an understanding of why Steven has been chosen to be the Hungarian Guest of Honor at Congenial V.

Well, in Steven’s home hangs a reproduction of a painting he picked up in the Old Country. It is a portrait of a fellow who looks remarkably like Steven. They both have moustaches. This is not surprising—Steven assures me that the Hungarians invented moustaches.

Steven plays guitar, banjo, dombak, and traps. In fact, he doesn’t just play ’em—he plays ’em well. Steven tells me that the Hungarians invented the guitar, the banjo, the dombak, and the traps; so I guess that fits right in. In fact, late one evening, after I had imbibed a number of glasses of Steven’s good single-malt Scotch whiskey (another Hungarian invention, according to Steven), I believe that he stated that the Hungarians invented almost all extant musical instruments, but the memory blurs, so I cannot be certain of this. However, I’m pretty sure that he claimed that the accordion and the concertina were invented, not by the Hungarians, but by the Roumanians. Either that, or they were the Work of the Devil. It really was very late….

But I digress. Steven can frequently be found playing guitar, banjo, and/or dombak at convention parties long into the night, or even unto sunrise. Actually, it’s probably misleading to say that he can be found—heard might be a better word. Finding him, hidden, as he will be, by the horde of beautiful women who usually surround him, may be somewhat more difficult. If you look carefully, though, you might just be able to pick him out. He’s the one with the Hat. And the moustache. (I once asked Steven why he’s always surrounded by beautiful women. He explained that the Hungarians invented sex. Q.E.D.)

And the traps. Steven plays traps with both Cats Laughing and Morrigan, when they are playing in their electric, or “rock and roll,” configuration. Steven avers that the Hungarians invented rock and roll, so it stands to reason. (When in their “acoustic” configuration, Steven plays the aforementioned dombak. Steven once mentioned in passing that the Hungarians invented acoustic, too.)

All of this, of course, serves only to illuminate a tiny portion of this remarkable and polytalented individual. “So, all right,” I hear you ask. “How can I meet him?” Well, fortunately for you, Congenial has made this task easier by inviting Steven to be their guest this year. If you’d actually like to talk with him, well, Steven informs me that the Hungarians invented a really terrific way to meet authors and get them to talk to you: You simply walk up to them, wait for a pause in the conversation, and say, “I like your books. Can I buy you a drink?” Or, if you’re really Serious, offer to buy them a meal. Szechuan food would be particularly good for this option, as Steven vows that the Hungarians invented Szechuan cooking.

Oh…. Did I mention that Steven is of Hungarian lineage?

So, you know, look around for Steven at the convention, and have a good time. Steven, by the way, swears that the Hungarians invented both science fiction and science fiction conventions….


*Written for Congenial 5, 1993; ©1993, 2004 Fred A Levy Haskell.