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RIP, Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe

Tor is report­ing the sad news that Gene Wolfe has died.

The sci­ence fic­tion and fan­ta­sy com­mu­ni­ty has lost a beloved icon. We are extreme­ly sad to report that author and SFWA Grand Mas­ter Gene Wolfe passed away on April 14th at age 87.

I came to Mr. Wolfe’s writ­ing late in life. My dad had a copy of Urth of the New Sun but, as a teenag­er, I could nev­er get into it (not real­iz­ing, then, that it was essen­tial­ly book 5 of a 4-vol­ume series). I decid­ed he was too high­brow, too high­fa­lutin for my tastes.

Over the years, though, writ­ers I very much enjoyed, writ­ers whose opin­ions I respect­ed, con­tin­ued to tout the virtues of Wolfe. Neil Gaiman wrote on how to read Wolfe. Michael Swan­wick was effu­sive with his praise. Wolfe, they insist­ed, is the writer’s writer.

So I checked the Wiz­ard Knight duol­o­gy out of my local library, and I found myself hooked. I chanced upon a copy of The Fifth Head of Cer­berus at a local used book­store, and was entranced. Lat­er, I read The Book of the New Sun and its coda, Urth of the New Sun. This past sum­mer I read, and loved, Pirate Free­dom.

Gene Wolfe’s prose deserves to be read, and more, it begs to be re-read. Time, I think, for a re-read.

It is always a temp­ta­tion to say that such feel­ings are inde­scrib­able, though they sel­dom are.

Gene Wolfe, The Sword of the Lic­tor

Rest in peace.

Pho­to cour­tesy of Mark’s Post­cards from Beloit, via a Cre­ative Com­mons Attri­bu­tion-Non­Com­mer­cial-NoDerivs license.

2019 Hugo Award Finalists

Hugo Award logo — a stylized rocketship

The 2019 Hugo awards, to pre­sent­ed at World­Con, rec­og­nize excel­lence in spec­u­la­tive fic­tion. Con­grat­u­la­tions and good luck to all the final­ists. I’ve only read a few of the works on the list, and I’m read­ing a cou­ple more.

2019 Hugo and Retro Hugo award final­ists announced

(The Retro Hugos this year are for works that would have been eli­gi­ble 75 years ago, in 1944, but no World­Con was held that year.)

Hugo Award” and The Hugo Award Logo are ser­vice marks of the World Sci­ence Fic­tion Soci­ety, an unin­cor­po­rat­ed lit­er­ary soci­ety.

Jupiter’s Birth

Jupiter

Well, this is pret­ty cool:

Thanks to exten­sive com­put­er sim­u­la­tions, the researchers have cal­cu­lat­ed that the cur­rent asym­me­try [in the counts of Tro­jan aster­oids] could only have occurred if Jupiter was formed four times fur­ther out in the solar sys­tem and sub­se­quent­ly migrat­ed to its cur­rent posi­tion. Dur­ing its jour­ney towards the sun, Jupiter’s own grav­i­ty then drew in more Tro­jans in front of it than behind it.

Jupiter’s unknown jour­ney revealed

Image cred­it: NASA/J­PL-Cal­tech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill

A year without glasses

Eye (photo by Vanessa Bumbeers)

This time last year, I was still wear­ing hard plas­tic eye-shields to bed, thanks to my laser eye surgery. But my vision has been 20/16 since then, and the only glass­es I’ve had to wear are sun­glass­es and (to my wife’s ever­green amuse­ment) read­ing glass­es.

Thanks to Dr. Rocha and his entire crew for mak­ing my eyes bet­ter than they’ve been since, oh, grade 2 or so.

(That’s still not my eye­ball. Pho­to by Vanes­sa Bum­beers on Unsplash)