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Monday 15 April 2002


§ Writer, editor, and critic Damon Knight died shortly after midnight, on April 15, at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene, Oregon. He had been hospitalized since Friday, and had been ill for some time with a number of ailments.

Born in 1922, Knight was a prolific short story writer through the 1950s and '60s -- titles including "Not with a Bang" (1950), "To Serve Man" (1950, famous for its Twilight Zone TV adaptation), "Stranger Station" (1956), and "Masks" (1968), with "I See You" (1976) notable among his less frequent later stories -- but his impact on the field was initially as book reviewer and critic, with reviews that insisted that logical coherency and literary standards applied to SF; one infamous review excoriated the work of A.E. van Vogt. His reviews were collected into In Search of Wonder, for which he won a Hugo Award as best Book Reviewer in 1956. He was an occasional novelist, with titles ranging from A for Anything (1961) to Humpty Dumpty: An Oval (1996).

Perhaps Knight's greatest impact on science fiction was as editor, especially for the Orbit series of original anthologies, which ran from Orbit 1 in 1966 through Orbit 21 in 1980, and helped launch the careers of several major writers, including Gene Wolfe, R.A. Lafferty, Kate Wilhelm, and Gardner Dozois.

Knight was active in various fan and professional organizations throughout his life. In the early '40s he was a member of The Futurians, the New York fan group that included Donald Wollheim, Frederik Pohl, and James Blish (Knight told the club's history in The Futurians, 1977). With Blish and Judith Merril he co-founded the Milford Science Fiction Writers' Conference in 1956, which ran for over 20 years, and inspired the more famous Clarion Writers' Workshop. He wrote a popular handbook on writing, Creating Short Fiction (1981, revised 1997). And in 1965 he founded the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), and served as its first president.

Knight won a Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association in 1975, and a Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1995.

He is survived by his third wife, writer Kate Wilhelm.

The SFWA website has posted appreciations by Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Steve Miller.

Locus Magazine will publish a complete obituary in its May issue.

Update 19 April: Published obituaries of Knight include:

Also, Patrick Nielsen Hayden appeared on National Public Ratio on April 18; the audio file is here:


The SFWA website has been updated with appreciations by Jane Yolen, Michael Burstein, Leslie What, and others.

Update 2 May: This Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard editorial recalls Knight's letters to the editor, and quotes two of them about evolution and censorship.

Saturday 13 April 2002


Deborah Fredericks reports that Jon Gustafson, earlier reported hospitalized, died today, April 13, at about 12:30 p.m.

§ [Updated 17 April] Writer Henry Slesar died on April 2 in New York City from complications due to minor elective surgery. Slesar, born 1927, was a novelist and short story writer for six decades. He published several dozen stories since the mid-1950s, including several in collaboration with Harlan Ellison; most recently, "The Dinner Party" was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 2001. A full obituary will be published in the May issue of Locus Magazine.

Friday 12 April 2002


§ The James Tiptree, Jr. Award website has posted the winner of this year's award: The Kappa Child, a novel by Hiromi Goto (Red Deer Press). In addition, the 2001 jury announced the following shortlist:

  • The Fresco, by Sheri S. Tepper, Harper Collins/Eos
  • The Song of the Earth, by Hugh Nissenson, Algonquin Books
  • Half Known Lives, by Joan Givner, New Star Books
  • Dark Light, by Ken MacLeod, Tor Books
The award will be presented at a ceremony at Readercon 14, July 12-14, in Burlington MA.

Friday 5 April 2002


§ John R. Pierce, best known as a scientist and electrical engineer, died April 2, 2002, at the age of 92. He wrote SF and nonfiction articles, under his own name and as John Roberts and J.J. Coupling, from the 1930s through the early 1970s.

Joan Benford, wife of SF author Gregory Benford, died March 25 of cancer. She encouraged her husband's early writing career and was portrayed by him in several novels, including Artifact, In the Ocean of Night, and Timescape, in which Gregory and Jan Markham are the Benfords thinly disguised. She is survived by her husband, and by children Alyson and Mark.


Deborah Fredericks writes:
Jon Gustafson, SF art historian, appraiser, author and "emperor," has been hospitalized since January after a stroke complicated by diabetes. Jon has now become completely unresponsive. In late March his family, including his wife, author V. E. Mitchell, made the painful decision to maintain pain medication but terminate life support.

Jon has been active in Northwest fandom since the late '70s, when he helped to found the MosCon science fiction convention in Moscow, Idaho. His published works include a history of SF art in Brian Ash's The Visual History of Science Fiction (1977) and over 50 artist biographies in Peter Nicholls's The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (1979). His first solo book was a biography, Chroma, the Art of Alex Schomburg (1986). His first works of fiction appeared in the Rat Tales anthology and Figment Magazine. In all Jon sold over 200 articles and several short stories, including quarterly columns on SF art for Pulphouse, Figment, and Science Fiction Review. He was a contributing editor for Pulphouse and Figment.

Jon Gustafson was one of the founding members of A.S.F.A, P.E.S.F.A. (the Palouse Empire Science Fiction Association), MosCon, the Moscow Moffia Writers Program, Writers Bloc, and the J. Martin and Associates literary agency. In 1983 he started J.M.G. Appraisals, the first professional SF/ fantasy art and book appraisal service in North America.

Jon regularly edited Westercon and Worldcon program books, and also edited collections of SF art on CD. In 1999 he was proclaimed "emperor" of Empire Con (Westercon 52 in Spokane, WA).

A wake will be scheduled in Moscow, Idaho when Jon's body has joined his spirit in passing away.

Wednesday 3 April 2002


§ Winners of the British Science Fiction Association Awards for 2001 were announced at the 2002 Eastercon, Helicon 2, in St Helier (Jersey) on 31st March 2002:

  • Chasm City, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz)
  • "The Children of Winter", Eric Brown (Interzone #163 Jan 2001)
  • Colin Odell, Cover of Omegatropic (by Stephen Baxter; BSFA)
  • Omegatropic, Stephen Baxter (BSFA)

  • § Finalists for this year's Prometheus Awards, chosen by the Libertarian Futurist Society, have been announced:

  • The American Zone, L. Neil Smith (Tor)
  • Enemy Glory, Karen Michalson (Tor)
  • Falling Stars, Michael Flynn (Tor)
  • Hosts, F. Paul Wilson (Forge)
  • Psychohistorical Crisis, Donald Kingsbury (Tor)
  • A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess
  • It Can't Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis
  • The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Prisoner, Patrick McGoohan, writer and producer
  • "Requiem", Robert A. Heinlein
  • Winners will be announced over the Labor Day weekend in San Jose, CA, in an awards ceremony at the World Science Fiction Convention.

    § Tim Powers's novel Declare, included on the current Nebula Awards ballot, has been declared ineligible due to the limited Subterranean Press edition published in 2000:

    Monday 1 April 2002


    § Richard Paul Russo's Ship of Fools (Ace) won this year's Philip K. Dick Award on Friday, March 29, at Norwescon 25 in SeaTac, Washington. A special citation was given to Ken Wharton's Divine Intervention (Ace).

    The Philip K. Dick Award is given annually for the distinguished original science fiction paperback published for the first time during the previous year in the US. Russo previously won the award in 1990 for Subterranean Gallery.

    The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society. Judges for this award were Constance Ash, Greg Beatty (chair), Jan Lars Jensen, Louise Marley, and Scott Westerfeld. Judges for next year are Shelley Rodrigo Blanchard, Michael Blumlein, Nalo Hopkinson, Donna McMahon, and Lois Tilton.

    March News Log

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