Animator Monty Oum (b.1981) died on February 1 from an allergic reaction. Oum created the series RWBY and also worked in the gaming industry for Midway Games and Namco Bandai Games, often as a combat designer. He began working for Rooster Teeth in 2010. Prior to working in the gaming industry, Oum created on-line videos using character models he was able to extract from various games. He won a Steamy Award and an International Academy of Web Television Award for RWBY.
San Francisco’s Borderlands Books, which has been in business for 18 years, has announced it will close its doors no later than March 31 due to an increase in the minimum wage in San Francisco to $15/hour. The financial realities of this increase and what it would mean to keep the store open are spelled out in a blog post on the website. On a personal note, enjoyed shopping at Borderlands the last time I was in San Francisco, and also enjoyed working with them the past two years at the Nebula Awards Weekends in San Jose.
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Author and linguist Suzette Haden Elgin (b.Patricia Anne Wilkins, 1936) died on January 27. Elgin began publishing in 1969 with the story “For the Sake of Grace” and followed it a year later with the novel The Communipaths. She may be best known for the Native Tongue trilogy. In 1978, she founded the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and their Elgin Award is named in her honor.
Actor Barrie Ingham (b.1932) died on January 23. Ingham provided the voice for the title character in Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective. He also appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Voyagers! He appeared in the William Hartnell Doctor Who serial “The Trojans” as Paris, played Harold Godwinson on the show Theatre 625, and the title character in A Challenge for Robin Hood.
San Francisco fan Eric P. Scott died in the middle of January. Scott entered fandom around 1980 and attended every Westercon beginning with 1981, eventually helping to run the con-suite. He was an active party thrower at conventions and tried to raise the level of parties by example. He was active in BASFA and also worked on programming, green room, and art shows at various conventions.
French author Michel Jeury (b.1934) died on January 9. Jeury began publishing as Albert Higon in 1960 with the novels Aux Étoiles du Destin and La Machine du Pouvoir, the latter of which won the 1960 Prix Jules Verne. In the early 1970s, he published Chronolysis and continued to write science fiction into the 1980s, publishing nearly twenty books as part of the Anticipation line before turning his attention to mainstream fiction.
Editor Alice K. Turner (b.1939) died on January 16 from pneumonia. Turner had served as the fiction editor at Playboy from 1980 until 2000. In 1998, she edited The Playboy Book of Science Fiction, collecting 25 science fiction stories originally published in Playboy by authors including William Tenn, Ray Bradbury, Doris Lessing, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
ETC: Corrected year of birth.
Author Kate Gilmore died during the first week of January. Gilmore is the author of the young adult novels Enter Three Witches, The Exchange Student, and The Caverns of Kwandalin. Gilmore didn’t begin publishing until she was 50.
Designer Robert Kinoshita (b.1914) died on December 9. Kinoshita began working in Hollywood in 1937, but his family was put into Japanese internment camps during World War II. In 1956, he returned to Hollywood when he was hired to design and build Robby the Robot for the film Forbidden Planet. He went on to design the robot used in the television series Lost in Space. Kinoshita has been inducted into the Robot Hall of Fame.
Producer and writer Brian Clemens (b.1931) died on January 10. Clemens was the producer of the original television series The Avengers and wrote scripts for episodes of the show. He also wrote the screenplay for The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Highlander II: The Quickening, as well as episodes of the Highlander television series.