Astronaut and author William Pogue (b.1930) died on March 4. Pogue joined NASA in 1966 and served on the support crews for three Apollo missions. He was scheduled to serve as Command Module Pilot for Apollo 19 before the mission was cancelled, instead serving as pilot for Skylab 4, the last Skylab mission. After he left the astronaut corps, Pogue wrote the book How Do You Go to the Bathroom in Space? and co-authored the science fiction novel The Trikon Deception with Ben Bova.
Author Michael Shea (b.1946) died on February 16. Shea’s novel Nifft the Lean won the World Fantasy Award in 1983 and his story “The Growlimb” won in 2004. He began publishing with the novel A Quest for Simbilis in 1974, which was an authorized sequel to Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth series and was short-listed for the British Fantasy Award. Shea wrote many other stories and novels, including the Nebula and Hugo nominated “The Autopsy.”
Author Aaron Allston (b.1960) died on February 27. Allston collapsed earlier in the day while attending VisionCon. Allston began his career at Space Gamer magazine and served as editor before becoming a freelance game designer in 1983. He went on to write the Dungeons and Dragons Rules Cyclopedia and published his first novel, Web of Danger in 1988. Writing several more original novels, some in collaboration with Holly Lisle, Allston eventually turned to writing Star Wars tie-in novels, beginning with X-Wing: Wraith Squadron.
Bhob Stewart (b.1937) died on February 24. Stewart published one of the earliest comic fanzines and in 1969 curated the first exhibition of comic book art at a major museum, the Corcoran in Washington, D.C. Corcoran also wrote comics for several different publishers, developed the Wacky Pack line of trading cards, and co-authored Scream Queens.
Philadelphia fan Gary Dockter (b.1963) died on February 8. Dockter collected comic books. Dockter was also a fan of steampunk.
Director and actor Harold Ramis (b.1944) died on February 24. Ramis got his start with Second City and went on to write, direct, and act in numerous comedies, including Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, Stripes, Animal House, and Bedazzled.
Astronaut Dale Gardner (b.1948) died on February 19. Gardner joined NASA in 1978 and made his first flight aboard Challenger flight STS-8. Gardner made a second flight on Discovery mission STS-51-A. He was scheduled to be on the first shuttle launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base before the use of that launch site was cancelled following the Challenger disaster. In 1986, he left NASA to return to the Navy.
Actress Margery Mason (b.1913) died on January 25. Mason portrayed the old lady who booed Buttercup in The Princess Bride and also appeared in Quatermass and the Pit and a bit role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Other appearances included Pink Floyd’s The Wall and the live action version of 101 Dalmatians.
Actor Malcolm Tierney (b.1938) died on February 18. Tierney portrayed Doland in four episodes of the Doctor Who serial “The Trial of a Time Lord” and had an uncredited role in Star Wars as a guard on the detention block who was shot by Luke Skywalker. He also appeared in an episode of Out of the Unknown and the films Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and The Medusa Touch.
Cosmonaut Valeri Kubasov (b.1935) died on February 19. Kubasov joined the Soviet space program in 1966 and was scheduled to fly on Soyuz 2, whcih was changed to an unmanned mission after the discovery of a faulty parachute. He was also supposed to fly on Soyuz 11, but was grounded for medical reasons. The Soyuz 11 capsule decompressed, killing its crew. Kubusov did fly on Soyuz 6 and 19 and served as the commander for Soyuz 36. The Soyuz 19 mission linked up with a US Apollo space capsule as part of the Apollo–Soyuz Test Project.