THE EDITOR'S WORD by Mike Resnick
Welcome to the thirty-second issue of Galaxy’s Edge.
We’re happy to bring you some new and newer writers, including Effie Seiberg, Laurence Raphael Brothers, Karlo Yeager Rodriguez, Walter Dinjos, Leah Cypess, Brian K. Lowe, Brian Trent, and Alex Shvartsman, plus old friends Joe Haldeman, Kij Johnson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Barry N. Malzberg, and Gardner Dozois, and book recommendations by Bill Fawcett and Jody Lynn Nye, a science column by Gregory Benford, a literature column by Robert J. Sawyer, the Joy Ward interview with Catherine Asaro, and another installment of Joan Slonczewski’s Daughter of Elysium.
In other words, it’s a typical issue of Galaxy’s Edge.
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Last issue’s editorial discussed the couple of dozen superstars currently working in the field who are all in their 70s and 80s.
It’s not that unusual. If there are more now than thirty or sixty years ago, it’s because the field is larger now, and medicine is better now.
Sooner or later, though, we all die. And conventions are quick to note our passing and to honor our memories. I’ve been to some fascinating, informative, and moving memorial panels in honor of Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, E. E. “Doc” Smith, A. E. van Vogt, and a number of others.
But one writer whose memorial panel I never attended was Jack Williamson, a close personal friend, and a man who was widely considered the Dean of Science Fiction during the final three decades of his life.
And do you know why I never attended it?
Because they never had it.
In a stroke of genius that has yet to be emulated, Noreascon Four, the 2004 Worldcon, didn’t wait for Jack to die.
He was in his mid-90s, and had not been up to traveling to distant conventions—he lived in New Mexico, Noreascon was in Boston—for a couple of years, but he was still alive, still writing, still in possession of his senses, and still in possession of a telephone.
So Noreascon put together a Jack Williamson appreciation panel. I was asked to chair it, and the participants included Eleanor Wood, Jack’s agent; Fred Pohl, Jack’s major collaborator; Stanley Schmidt, Dave Hartwell, Jim Frenkel and Scott Edelman, four of Jack’s editors; and Connie Willis, Michael Swanwick, Larry Niven, and Jack Chalker, Jack’s long-time friends.
And Jack wasn’t merely a distant observer. We phoned him at a pre-arranged time a few minutes before the panel started, and tied the phone into the speaker system so that he could hear every word that was said and the entire audience could hear his response.
I think that kind of tribute is both more enjoyable and more enlightening than the posthumous type. I’m not saying that we should eliminate the latter, but rather that all these years after the Williamson example, conventions should realize that there is no need to wait for each of us to die before following Noreascon’s example.