News of David G. Hartwell’s death reminds me of how close a family writers, editors, and readers of science fiction and fantasy often are. WorldCons are family reunions where we pick up conversations precisely where we left off the last time we met. Award banquets are family feasts where we converse at the table over rubber chicken instead of turkey. Is it any wonder that for half a century I have chosen to attend conventions scheduled during holidays (Wiscon on Memorial Day weekend, Worldcon over Labor Day, Windycon on Columbus Day, Chambanacon over Thanksgiving, World Fantasy Con over Halloween) rather than dine at home with blood relatives?
So many of my extended family have recently passed on: Gretta M. Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Fredrick Pohl, A. J. Budrys, Jon Arfstrom, Ken Hunt, Jack Williamson, Jerry Williamson, Robert Bloch, David B. Silva, Richard Laymon, Tom Piccirilli, George Clayton Johnson, Poul Anderson, and now David G. Hartwell. Their works remain, and the memories of conversations and correspondences endure. But there is a final period at the end the sentence and no “To Be Continued” at the bottom of the last page.
I feel fortunate to have interacted with many great writers and artists over the years. I treasure their works and return to them often for inspiration. I am still the bright-eyed fanboy I was at age twelve.
However, this will likely be the last year I make the full convention circuit. Arthritis in my knees make it difficult to walk long distances at Worldcons. I plan to stay connected via Facebook and blog posts. But I’ll miss the face-to-face interactions with my friends and extended family.
So goodbye, David G. Hartwell. Thanks for talking sf with me at the 2005 Nebula Awards and at Worldcons and Wiscons. Thanks for the anthologies. Thanks for the novels you edited and the authors you introduced to the world. And thanks for the twelve-year-old’s smile you kept even into your seventies.