Posts Tagged ‘Steven Utley’

Science Fiction Necrology: 2013–2014

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Joe Pumelia asked me to put together a quick necrology of notable science fiction figures who have died over the last 18 months for his forthcoming fanzine, a roll-call which is depressingly extensive and filled with world-class talent. Here’s a quick and dirty list that just hits the highlights of writers (and one artist) who have died in that time, along with select top works for those unfamiliar with their output to pursue.

  • Aaron Allston (December 8, 1960 – February 27, 2014): Texas writer best known for his gaming and media tie-in work. See: Doc Sidhe (a Doc Savage homage).
  • Iain Banks (16 February 1954 – 9 June 2013): Notable Scottish writer who penned both celebrated mainstream novels and (as Iain M. Banks) swell science fiction. Died entirely too young from cancer. See: The Wasp Factory, The Bridge, Player of Games.
  • Neal Barrett, Jr (November 3, 1929 – January 12, 2014): The dean of weird Texas science fiction writers. See: The Hereafter Gang and the stories in Perpetuity Blues.
  • Tom Clancy (April 12, 1947 – October 1, 2013): Bestselling technothriller writer, some of whose work qualified as near-future SF. See: The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising.
  • Basil Copper (February 5, 1924 – April 3, 2013): English horror writer who had four books published by Arkham House.
  • H.R. Giger (February 5, 1940 – May 12, 2014): Brilliant and darkly disturbing Swiss artist. Responsible for the Xenomorph creature design in the movie Alien.
  • Rick Hautala (February 3, 1949 – March 21, 2013): Prolific horror writer who had many books published by Zebra, and was a recipient of the Horror Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • James Herbert (8 April 1943 – 20 March 2013): British horror writer. His novel The Fog was made into the John Carpenter movie.
  • Daniel Keyes (August 9, 1927 – June 15, 2014): Writer famous for only one work, but it was a doozy: “Flowers for Algernon”.
  • Jay Lake (June 6, 1964 – June 1, 2014): A young writer who exploded in a supernova of productivity, only to be struck down in his prime by the recurring cancer whose fight he documented in his blog. See: Mainspring and the stories in The Sky That Wraps.
  • Doris Lessing (October 22, 1919 – November 17, 2013): Nobel Prize-winning writer, some of whose books used genre settings or tropes.
  • Richard Matheson (February 20, 1926 – June 23, 2013): A writer with a long and illustrious career in science fiction and horror, most famous for works adapted for TV or movies, including numerous scripts for the original Twilight Zone. See: I Am Legend (filmed three times, and they still haven’t gotten it right), The Shrinking Man, The Night Stalker, “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet,” “Little Girl Lost,” “Duel,” and “He Who Kills” (the Zuni fetish doll segment of Trilogy of Terror).
  • Andrew J. Offutt (or andrew j. offutt, as he preferred to spell it) (August 16, 1934 – April 30, 2013): Prolific SF/F writer, including work in the Thieves World shared-universe.
  • Frederik Pohl (November 26, 1919 – September 2, 2013): A giant from the golden age who had a career revival in the 1970s. Wrote collaborations with C.M. Kornbluth and Jack Williamson, and was a noted editor. See: Gateway, Man Plus, The Space Merchants (with Kornbluth), and “Tunnel Under the World.”
  • Nick Pollotta (August 26, 1954 – April 13, 2013): Writer who did humorous SF and fantasy under his own name, and series men’s adventure novels under house pseudonyms.
  • Frank M. Robinson (August 9, 1926 – June 30, 2014): Writer who compiled an illustrated history of science fiction, as well as collaborating on the novel that was made into the movie The Towering Inferno.
  • Alan Rodgers (August 11, 1959 – March 8, 2014): Horror writer and former editor of Night Cry magazine. See: “The Boy Who Came Back From the Dead.”
  • Michael Shea (July 3, 1946 – February 16, 2014): The finest dark fantasy prose stylist of his generation. See: Nifft the Lean, the stories in Polyphemus.
  • Lucius Shepard (August 21, 1943 – March 18, 2014): One of most important science fiction writers of the 1980s, winning Hugo and Nebula Awards for his short fiction. See: The stories in The Jaguar Hunter.
  • Steven Utley (November 10, 1948—January 12, 2013): Texas science fiction writer, known for his time travel tales and his stories in collaboration with Howard Waldrop. Died of an aggressive cancer less than a month after first diagnosis. See: “Custer’s Last Jump” and “Black as the Pit, From Pole to Pole” (both with Waldrop).
  • Jack Vance (August 28, 1916 – May 26, 2013): One of the all-time great science fiction writers, and arguably the finest prose stylist the field has ever produced. See “The Dragon Masters,” the stories in The Dying Earth, and the four Planet of Adventure books.
  • Colin Wilson (June 26, 1931 – December 5, 2013): British writer who wrote science fiction and horror. His novel The Space Vampires was turned into the movie Lifeforce.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Utley

    Friday, March 8th, 2013

    Lots of health-related news for the science fiction community, so I thought I would roll it up into a single post here.

    The good news: Jay Lake is currently free of detectable tumors. As Jay notes, this is quite different than being cured, but beats the alternative. Indeed, his optimism is so guarded as to be indistinguishable from pessimism. “No one knows what will work for me, and none of the choices are all that likely to pay off anyway.” He’s still waiting for the full results of the DNA scan.

    The bad news: SF writer, editor, and publisher and pioneering rock critic Paul Williams is in a hospice. Williams is suffering from early onset dementia brought about as a side effect of his 1995 bicycle accident. There’s a donation page to help his family. Williams was also executor for the Philip K. Dick estate for a number of years, but that’s now handled by the Philip K. Dick Trust. I think I may have met Williams, very briefly, at the 2006 Anaheim Worldcon, but I’m not sure.

    And now a few Steven Utley memorials:

  • Here’s a great tribute to Utley from a paleontologist.
  • A bit from Jayme Blaschke, including links to all of Utley’s stories that appeared on RevSF.
  • Utley’s under-utilized commemoration book.
  • Steven Utley, RIP: 1948—2013

    Sunday, January 13th, 2013

    I just received word from Jessica Reisman:

    Molly let me know that Steve passed last night at about 10:40 pm, eastern. His family was with him.

    I’ll miss him.

    As will we all.

    Utley announced to his friends that he had been diagnosed with Type 4 cancer in his intestines, liver, and lungs, and a lesion on his brain on December 27, 2012. On January 7, he sent out an email saying that he was losing his motor skills and designated Jessica as his literary executor (and hopefully she’ll be able to get some of his swell stories back in print). On the morning of January 12 he slipped into a coma and died that night.

    Steven Utley in a Coma

    Saturday, January 12th, 2013

    Jessica Reisman sent this out with permission to pass it on, so I’m putting it here:

    Hi all,

    I’m passing on this news somewhat piecemeal, but trying to let enough people know who I think would want to know. Please pass it on as you feel appropriate.

    Steve was fairly recently diagnosed with stage four cancer and a lesion on his brain and it’s progressed quickly. I heard from Molly this morning that he’s fallen into a coma and the doctor estimates two days. His mother and brother and ex-wife Molly are there with him.

    Very sorry to be the bearer of this news.


    Utley was one of the original Turkey City writers, along with Chad Oliver, Tom Reamy, Howard Waldrop, etc.

    Between this and Jay Lake’s latest bout, it hasn’t been a good cancer year for SF writers…