SF author and SFWA Grandmaster Samuel R. Delany will be presenting two lectures at the University of Chicago, the first will be a reading of his recent fiction on Friday, January 17 at 4:30 PM at Harper Hall 140. Two weeks later on January 31, he’ll return at the same time and room for a talk on “The Mirror and the Maze: Reflections on the Complexity of Writing.”
Canadian YA author Leslie Carmichael (b.1960) died on January 9 following a battle with cancer. Carmichael wrote the novel The Amulet of Amon-Ra and the short story “Something Plucked This Way Comes.”
Author Janrae Frank (b.1954) died on January 12. Frank’s first published story was “Wolves of Nakesht,” which appeared in the 1980 anthology Amazons!. She published several additional stories as well as co-edited the anthology New Eves with Jean Marie Stine and Forrest J. Ackerman. In 2004, her short fiction was collected in In the Darkness, Hunting.
Norwegian author Jon Bing (b.1944) died on January 14. Bing has published numerous stories, plays, and novels co-written with Tor Åge Bringsværd as well as solo fiction. His works span the range from adult novels to children’s books and a few of them have been translated into English, including “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” “A Meeting in Georgestown,” and “The Owl of Bear Island.”
Scientist and science fiction author Geoffrey A. Landis will receive the 2014 Robert A. Heinlein Award. The award recognizes outstanding works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space. In addition to publishing numerous short stories and novels, Landis works for NASA and has been involved with the Martian rover project. The award will be presented on May 23, 2014 at opening ceremonies during Balticon 48.
Author Neal Barrett, Jr. (b.1929) died on January 12. Barrett began publishing science fiction in 1960 with “To Tell the Truth” in Galaxy. He continued to publish short fiction throughout his career, but most of his work was at the novel length, with early works such as Kelwin or The Leaves of Time giving way to more complexly created worlds and narratives in the late 70s with his Aldair sequence and Through Darkest America. In addition to his science fiction, Barrett published a lot of work for hire, including volumes in the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift series, often under pseudonyms and house names. Barrett was name Author Emeritus by SFWA in 2009.
Nora Crook, a professor emerita at Anglia Ruskin University, has discovered a trove of 13 previously unknown letter written by Mary Shelley between 1831 and 1849. During that time, Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein in 1818, was suffering from a brain tumor near the end of that period, which is demonstrated by the change in her handwriting and the concerns voiced in the letters. The letters were written to Horace and Eliza Smith, who had been friends with Shelley’s husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, prior to his death.
YA author Ned Vizzini (b.1981) committed suicide on December 19. Vizzini’s first book, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, was a semi-autobiographical look at a teenager whose suicide attempt landed him in an institution. His second novel, Be More Chill, has science fictional elements in it and his third novel, The Other Normals, was an alternative fantasy. He also published a collection of essays and was working on a multi-book series with Chris Columbus.
J. K. Rowling has announced plans to produce a stage play based on her Harry Potter series. The play will focus on Harry’s life as an orphan growing up with the Dursley’s in the years before he was brought to Hogwarts. Rowling’s co-producers are Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender, and although she says she’ll collaborate with the as yet unnamed author, she has said she will not be the play’s author.
Author Hugh Nissenson (b.1933) died on December 13. Nissenson was the author of numerous non-genre works and worked as a reporter, covering Adolph Eichmann’s 1961 trial for Commentary. His 2001 novel The Song of the Earth was a science fiction novel and a nominee for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. His short story “Forcing the End” appeared in Jack Dann’s anthology More Wandering Stars.