Astronaut Neil Armstrong (b.1930) died on August 25. Armstrong was selected in 1958 for the Man in Space Soonest program to beat the USSR into space, but the program was cancelled shortly after it was started. Two years later, he was selected for the Dynasoar project, which was also cancelled. In 1962, he joined NASA in the second flight group, eventually flying on Gemini 8 with Eugene Cernan to conduct the first docking of two spacecraft, but which also suffered a failure that put Armstrong and Cernan’s lives at risk. In 1969, as the Commander of Apollo 11, with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the Moon. After retiring from NASA in 1971, Armstrong maintained a low profile, teaching at the University of Cincinnati. He served on accident commissions following the Apollo 13 mission and the Challenger explosion.
Author Josepha Sherman (b.1946) died on August 23. Her first novel was Golden Girl and the Crystal of Doom, and in the same year she also published a “Find Your Fate” novel. Sherman won the Compton Crook Award for her novel The Shining Falcon in 1990. In addition to writing science fiction and fantasy, Sherman was also a folklorist, and in 1995 she co-edited, with T.K.F. Weiskopf, the collection Goofy, Grimy, Gopher Guts: The Subversive Folklore of Childhood , one of many non-fiction books. Sherman also edited several anthologies, not just of fantasy, but of folklore.
Puppeteer Jerry Nelson (b.1934) died on August 23. Nelson began working for Bill Bard in the 1960s, but was hired by Jim Henson to fill in for Franz Oz when Oz got drafted. Nelson continued to perform with the Muppets for parts of 6 decades. His most famous character was the Count and he also was the muppeteer behind Herry Monster, Biff, Floyd, Dr. Strangepork, Gobo Fraggle, Pa Gorg, and the Trash Heap. On The Muppet Show, he provided the voice of the announcer of “Pigs in Space” and “Veterinarian’s Hospital.”
Shortly after new Weird Tales editor Marvin Kaye announced that he would be publishing an extract from a self-published novel by Victoria Foyt that has been widely decried as racist, new Weird Tales publisher John Harlagher announced that the excerpt would not run in the magazine after all. Following Kaye’s original announcement, former editor Ann VanderMeer, who had been retained to edit and publish a story by a new author in each issue, severed her ties with the magazine.
Fan James Brazell (b.1953) died on December 11, 2011. His wife, Cathy Ball (b.1952) died on July 5. Brazell and Ball were involved in Oklahoma fandom, attending OKCon, Conestoga, Soonercon, and ConQuesT. Ball also helped to establish the Norman Oklahoma Science Fiction Association. Ball attended Clarion Writers Workshop and published stories in Tomorrow Speculative Fiction. The two married in 2004.
The Going Under/Get Up and Over Fan Fund is seeking European fans who would like to stand for the privilege of traveling to Swancon in Perth, Australia, to be held from March 29-April 1, or to Au Contraire in Wellington from July 12-14, 2013. Nominees will need three European and two Australasian nominators and should inform the GUFF administrators of their intentions, provide a 100 word statement and put up a bond. Deadline for nominations is October 11, with the candidates announced on October 13.
Author Brad Sinor suffered a minor stroke on August 20. According to his wife, he is doing well and can walk, but not speak. She asks that people not inundate them with calls or e-mails.
Author Parke Godwin, who wrote the World Fantasy Award winning novella “The Fire When It Comes” as well as series about Robin Hood and King Arthur, has been moved to a medical facility where he can receive round-the-clock supervision. His short- and long-term memory are not adequate for him to hold conversations, but the doctors are hoping that he may improve if they can find the right medicines.
Chicago fan and conrunner Ken Hunt (b.1955) died on August 20, two days after suffering a cascading cardiac event. Hunt has long been active in running conventions in Chicago, most notably as head of operations for Windycon. He was currently heading logistics for Chicon 7, this year’s Worldcon, scheduled for next week.