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Frank Robinson says that when he was 18 and serving in the navy, he already knew what he wanted to do with his life: he wanted to be a writer, "preferably a science fiction writer. Have an office with broken-down furniture, a couch with broken springs, and drink lots of beer and cheap whiskey." Since then he's gone to journalism school, had a three-year stint as the Playboy Adviser, and written a novel, a mystery, and several thrillers (one of which, The Glass Inferno, was the source for The Towering Inferno), but he's still an authority on the pulp magazines where he got his start and learned that "good writing will seldom sell a bad story, but a good story will frequently sell bad writing." Robinson is a guest speaker at this weekend's third annual Windy City Pulp & Paperback Convention, which includes wares from 100 dealers, an auction, a film festival, and an appearance by horror master Hugh B. Cave. It runs from 7 PM to midnight Friday, April 4 (registration starts at noon); 9 AM to 11 PM Saturday, April 5; and 9 to 4 Sunday, April 6, at the Radisson Lincolnwood, 4500 W. Touhy in Lincolnwood. Robinson speaks at 7 on Friday. Admission is $10, $25 for a weekend pass; kids 13 and under get in free with an adult. See www.pulpshow.com or call 847-217-4241 for more information.

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