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Today is officially cancelled

David G. Hartwell died today. He was 74.

For those of you who haven't heard of him, two factoids might be of interest. Firstly, he was nominated for a Hugo award on 39 occasions (winning three times). That fact alone probably says more about his standing within the SF field than anything I can add. (Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Tor's Editorial Director, describes him as "our field's most consequential editor since John W. Campbell.")

Secondly, he acquired and edited my Merchant Princes for Tor; and acquired and was editing a new trilogy in that setting for publication next year. I've known him for more than 15 years and was looking forward to seeing him again next month—this is a terrible shock.

A giant of the field has departed, and I'm going to miss him as a friend as well as an editor. I offer my deepest sympathy to everyone else who knew him.



I was thinking of something you wrote, many months ago, about Iain Banks, and the fact that you would much rather have the man alive again, just to spend a few more moments with him, than have the library of books that he might have written had he been around longer.

And I was thinking of that with the news of Alan Rickman's passing, that for all my disappointment that I would not see him perform the many more roles he had to perform, that my disappointment counted for naught in the face of the grief of those who knew and loved him.

I may one day grow to have an appreciation for David G Hartwell as an editor, and feel genuine sadness at the knowledge that his talent is no longer with us. But it saddens me much more, right now, to know that you have lost a friend. My condolences on your loss.


My best wishes to all of you who knew and respected him. For Charlie, losing someone who is a partner in a creative collaboration has to be especially hard to take. My condolences to his family, for big and small values of "family."

It's hard for ordinary readers to appreciate what makes a book well edited. However, if Gene Wolfe chooses you to be his editor, then you are probably damn good.


I didn't know David Hartwell, but he seemed like a great tree in the forest of literature, sheltering many beneath his branches.

It's always hard when things shatter, and you're left with a pile of shards and memories. My sympathies and condolences are definitely with all those who, like Charlie, are picking up the pieces now that he has fallen, and trying to figure out what to do with them.


Like many I suspect, I had no idea who David G Hartwell until I heard of his untimely death.

Editors are the unheralded people of the literary world, fashioning an author's avalanche of words into something saleable.

Then I found he published "Mirrorshades" cyberpunk anthology and edited Gregory Benford's "Timescape" and is therefore partially responsible for two literary artefacts that got me into SF.

Farewell, David, and thank you.


I knew of David Hartwell, but never worked with him. Everyone who publishes books owe a huge debt of gratitude to editors. In fact, some of "my" best ideas came from them.


A few years ago I was in a bookstore in Pleasantville, New York, and came across a section of local authors. David Hartwell wasn't represented, which seemed odd, since he lived in Pleasantville, but when I asked, they'd never heard of him. He would certainly have come into the store -- Pleasantville is a village of 7,000 people, and this was the only bookstore in town. It seemed he wasn't one to put himself forward in that way, and clearly he didn't need to.

It struck me sometimes that I was living in the same area as David Hartwell, just as I'd grown up not far from where Isaac Asimov was living. A major figure, and he'll be missed.


"he was nominated for a Hugo award on 39 occasions"



Short answer: nope.

Bezos's Blue Origin is a fake-out; it goes up to the notional "threshold" of space, 100,000 feet ... but never gets much above Mach 3, it's way slower than orbital velocity.

In contrast, SpaceX's Falcon 9 first stage flyback happens around Mach 10 and the rest of the ship makes orbit, so it's the real deal. Also, SpaceX expect to re-fly a used first stage later this year -- it all depends on their flight schedule and the outcome of upcoming recovery attempts (that first stage they landed at the Cape in December is probably destined for the Smithsonian or another big ticket museum).


Actually, you mean YES ( elventy! etc ) but ... not this way, but the other (SpaceX) way ... yes/no?
Can we hope?


I did not know Mr. Hartwell; hearing so much about him makes me wish I had.

To quote T'Pau: "I grieve with thee."


David Hartwell IS A name IN THE back Ground OF sf/FANTASY literary space OR lITERATURE OF fANTASY .. i NEVER met him in person but ...Gods but he was mentioned in Song and Sable by just about every writer that I count as friends for ...Ghods! Decades now! Much more importent to me beyond those Hugo Awards was his regard by more than the many writers that I know ..or Knew for it has been a hard Year of Two in terms of mortality!

Anyone here on Charlies Blog will have come upon expresions of lit Crit that said " This would have been a better BOOK if only a decent EDITOR had had INFLUENCE on .. insert Writer at this Point " Familiar? I came upon an instance when I was reading Jim Butchers NEW series .. Someone just has to mention BOOKS in this ever so short shuffle around ..Dare I Say ..type thread beyond the obvious Sympathy that we must always feel at the Death of the Friend of a Friend ..SO ..

Every time that yoou think that ..A Given Story would have been better if only a Decent Editor had intervened and Said - as Appropriate - It IS IT really ..IS!!! .. possible to have TOO MANY Cute but Ferocious CATS in a Story!!!

Someone may have been sufficiently Editorially POWERFUL to have said that in, say, ..

" (Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Tor's Editorial Director, describes him as "our field's most consequential editor since John W. Campbell.") "

Way upon back then Campbell's day but here and Now? Maybe not now that Hartwell is dead.

WHO is going to curb our Host Charlies Natural Exuberance now that Hartwell has moved on ?

OH BUGGER!! as Death Might have said in the Pterry universes Personification of DEATH.

Ah, Well ... Mind How You Go David!


You'll Be Lucky!!

My modest investment portfolio -- Hasty Scroll Back to insert that I will be 67 years of age by the end of this January -- consists of ..about one third Public Service pension - say £10,000 or so - my British State Pension - a bit below £8,000 - and ..this is the significant bit ..the income from my British Government ISA Tax Shelter - also called a stocks and shares ISA - the US of A s citizens have a rough equivalent of the same sort of investment fund.

So ..that private fund is the important thing.I recently learned that a Canadian Public Service Pension Fund is suspected of being in the early stages of making a substantial investment in a British Utility Company that I have a Modest investment in.

Beyond that, a ..well do your own research into just Who owns the British Utility Northumbrian Water a Hint ?

Read this ...

and ..

So, " Bezos's Blue Origin is a fake-out; it goes up to the notional "threshold" of space, 100,000 feet ... but never gets much above Mach 3, it's way slower than orbital velocity. "

Agreed, but the fact is that the finance to fund such an Enterprise goes beyond the Bezos ambition -- HA! Could he take his Money with him when he goes off to Mars? -- to retire to the Great Beyond and Prove that, " You Cant Take it With You When You GO " is not in fact TRUE.

I don't write off the Nation States ability to confiscate Private Oligarchs "Personal" fortunes and conspire with other Nation States to do the same ..nor should you.

Maybe Bezos can maintain his interest whilst he lives and breaths but ? ...

Did HE take it with him when he went?

International Finance is a great deal more complicated than we would wish or desire should be the case.

I lost about £20, 000 in the past couple of weeks in my ISA...Oops! LOOK, got some of it back yesterday ..hows about that then?

Oh, Well, you got to Laff don't you?


Tomorrow might be cancelled, too, particularly in tropical reagions.
Zika Virus
Wiki LINK:

It appears to have either mutated or started to spread more rapidly ( known sine the 1950's in parts of Africa, apparently.
It WILL re-spread back to Africa & the Far East, after this year's Olympic Fiasco.
Remember some of us are going on about not just "too much Carbon" but also "too many people" ???
Could this be a "natural" (as in the Black Death was a natural event ) Err "solution" to the problem?
Please note I am making no moral judgements, merely noting that a potentially population-reducing disease is on the loose.


Um, Zika's not pandemic influenza, so no. I'd recommend reading David Quammen's Spillover if you want a more nuanced (if sadly Zika-free) take on the issues of pandemic diseases.

I'd also recommend reading Hot Earth Dreams if you want my take on it. It's a bit too long to post here.

One thing to note is that it's perfectly normal to worry about whether this year's new disease is The Big One. Wasn't it Ebola last year? In any case, they generally aren't, at least until they are. Regardless, I'm somewhat mildly more worried about MERS right now than Zika, but then again, I'm not pregnant.


Yes / No / Maybe
It was obvious, that horrible as Ebola is, it was never going to be a global pandemic. Something that an especially stupid & arrogant US congresscritter(?) should have realised when he demanded a returning nurse be quarantined ...
Because Zika is spread easily by mosquitoes, like Yellow Jack & Malaria, it has a much greater potential for this.
OTOH, it seems to "target" pregnant women, if you see what I mean.


Not something that I have been following closely across the Global 24 Hrs News Media, BUT, from the Experts thus far interviewed on the news media it does look as if the main FEAR could be if the disease gets spread by a sexual transmitted vector to Africa and a cross transmission to their 'local ' mosquitoes and such like bugs - LOCAL since Africa is a HELL of a BIG place - and from these very charming insects onward to, say, Italy and its mosquitoes which might spread via climate change to South of France and ..Eeeeq ! Say it aint so.

Oh, well the Daily Heil hasn't thought of this one yet.

Are WE downhearted?


A gentleman, in the positive sense of the word—for one thing, he never firgot tgat Adams and Eves were continually spinning and delving....

I must admit that Mmy most recent thoughts of him were in conteast to the perpetrators of the Late Hugo Unpleasantness, in that he was an object of their opprobrium both for his viewpoints and for putting the lue to the notion that those solely determined whom he would assist.



Clumsiness and bad vision can imitate illiteracy.



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on January 20, 2016 12:16 PM.

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