Yesterday, while having tea with my wife, I mentioned the uneasy feeling that I was getting over not only how many science fiction writers that influenced the way I think have passed away already, but also of how many were dying lately. I started making a list of dead sci-fi writers (which I enhanced through Wikipedia while writing this post).
Jules Verne died in ’05. Karel Capek died in ’38. H. G. Wells died in ’46. H. P. Lovecraft died of cancer in ’47. Henry Kuttner went to shovel snow off of his driveway in Jersey and died of a heart attack in ’58. Paul Linebarger died in 66. Hugo Gernsback died in 67. William Jenkins died in ’75.Philip K. Dick stroked-out in ’82. Kuttner’s wife, C. L. Moore died in ’87, of Alzheimer’s. Cyril Kornbluth died the same year. Bob Heinlein died in ’88. So did Clifford Simak. Isaac Asimov died in ’92. As it turns out, of AIDS that he contracted from a blood transfusion. Douglas Adams was working out and had a heart attack in 01. Robert Sheckley went to visit Ukraine, fell ill and later died in a hospital in ’05. Andre Norton died in ’05.Stanislaw Lem died in ’06, also of heart-related problems.
Well, at least Kurt Vonnegut is still alive – said my wife. Yeah, but he’s pretty young, I said. Little did we know that he was already gone…
It seems that I received a package in the mail from him just recently, although it was already 9 years ago.
Theodore Sturgeon, the real Kilgore Trout died in ’85.
The era’s not over yet. As I went through Wikipedia’s list of important sci-fi writers I was surprised to see so many classics born in the 20s and 30s to be still writing.
Also, three out of six Beatles are still with us.
Brooklyn Botanical Garden has many quirky little oddities, like a path with stepping stones carrying the names of famous Brooklynites. There’s one for Harry Houdini, Lena Horne, Woody Allen and of course, Dr. Asimov.
Asimov’s article at Wikipedia contains this gem of a anecdote:
“Asimov was a claustrophile; that is, he enjoyed small, enclosed spaces. In his first volume of autobiography, he recalls a childhood desire to own a magazine stand in a New York City Subway station, within which he imagined he could enclose himself and listen to the rumble of passing trains”.
I am actually a claustophile too, and I also like the rumble of subway trains. But the thing is, subway magazine stands don’t really have air conditioning…
Can I tempt you with these? I think I just did.
* Oh, such an awesome shot from inside the motorman’s cab. Click on “comments” to read about how it was taken.
* Wow. Decopix.com, one of the best sites about Art Deco that I’ve ever seen, presents mind-boggling Art Deco fridge.
* Similar to the celebrity path pavers in Brooklyn Botanical Gardenthat carry the names of famous Brooklynites like Isaac Asimov and Mae West, you can have your own paver in Tompkins Square Park through Make Your Mark in the Park program. And it’s just 250 bucks per paver! 70 characters – enough for a url. I am actually thinking about this…
There is one project that I am glad I was not on. A few people that were sitting in a octapod next to me at iXL worked on the http://www.aba.com website. It turned out to be a horrible death march. I found out about the project because one of the coders had an Asimov’s book displayed on her table (interestingly enough, I had that book in my collection).
The book in question was “Murder at the ABA”, a detective story about a murder at the American Bookseller Association convention.
Oh, if you are wondering what the “octapod” is. An octapod is this weird replacement of a standard cubicle. It looks somewhat like this:
In other news: Scient that swallowed iXL has now been swallowed by sbi. So long to Scient, Viant, Sapient jokes.