Danish author Inge Erikson (b.1935 ) died on March 13. Erikson began publishing science fiction in 1980 with the play The Wind Is Not for Sale and wrote the novel Amanda Screamer’s Desire two years later. Her “Space Without Time” series is comprised of four novels and was published between 1983 and 1989. Prior to writing science fiction, Erikson wrote mainstream fiction and returned to that in the 1990s.
Fan Peggy Rae Sapienza (b.Peggy Rae McKnight, 1944 ) died on March 22, about a month after undergoing heart surgery. Peggy Rae, who was married to Bob Pavlat from 1963-1983 and to John Sapienza from 1999 until her death, chaired Bucconeer, the 1998 Worldcon (my first). She was long active in con-running and fanzine publishing. She was a driving force behind much of Washington and Baltimore fandom, and has chaired or co-chaired several recent Nebula Award Weekends. She helped create the modern exhibition concourse at Worldcons and in 2012, she was the fan guest of honor at Chicon 7.
Mercury 13 member Bernice Steadman (b.Bernice Trimble, c.1925 ) died on March 18. Steadman was one of the thirteen women who volunteered, and successfully passed all of the physiological tests performed on the Mercury 7 astronauts. Steadman met her future husband, Robert Steadman, in 1957, when he took flying lessons from her at a flight school she owned. She was the first woman to receive an Airline Transport Rating, and was briefly considered as a candidate to be an astronaut before NASA abandoned the idea of women astronauts.
Bookseller Ted Ball died on March 18. Ball was the co-owner of London’s Fantasy Centre, a SF/fantasy bookstore Ball opened in 1969 with Dave Gibson and which closed in 2009.
Danish author Ib Melchior (b.1917) died on March 13. Melchior wrote the short story “The Racer,” which was the basis for the films Death Race 2000 and Death Race. hisother short stories included “Vidiot” and “The Winner and New…” In addition to two novels, he wrote screenplays for Robinson Crusoe on Mars, Journey to the Seventh Planet, and two episodes of the Hugo-nominated Men Into Space.
Author Sir Terry Pratchett (b.1948) died on March 12 surrounded by his family. For the past several years, Sir Terry has suffered from Alzheimer’s. Pratchett is best known for the long-running Discworld novels, but has also been co-authoring the Long Earth series with Stephen Baxter. His other works include The Nome Trilogy, Johnny and the Dead, and Good Omens, written with Neil Gaiman. In addition to his knighthood, Pratchett has won the Andre Norton Award, the BSFA Award, the Skylark, World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award, and others.
Fan Dave Rike (b.1935) died on November 1, 2014. Rike became active in fandom in the 1950s, co-editing the fanzine Innuendo, with Terry Carr and, along with Carr, created the hoax fan Carl Brandon. He helped popularize the propeller beanie as a symbol of fandom and also worked on The Incompleat Burbee. A life-long Bay area fan, helped build the original Bheer Can Tower to the Moon.
Producer Harve Bennett (b.Harve Bennett Fischman, 1930) died on March 4. Bennett co-wrote and produced Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Star Trek IV: The Journey Home, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. He also worked as executive producer on Salvage 1 and Time Trax. His production credits also included The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman.
Author Carol Severance (b.1944) died on February 19. Severance was the author of The Island Warrior trilogy and the Compton Crook Award winning Reefsong. Her novels tended to use the Pacific Islands as their background and Severance did anthropological fieldwork in the remote coral atolls of Micronesia and eventually settled in Hawaii.
Actor Leonard Nimoy (b.1931) died on February 27. Nimoy was best known for his role as Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek, as well as the movies based on the series. He also directed the films Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In addition to his work on Star Trek, Nimoy was the long-time host of In Search of… and appeared in such films as Zombies of the Stratosphere and Them!. Prior to appearing on Star Trek, Nimoy had a recurring role on Sea Hunt. He appeared in episodes The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone.