The year has turned. Today is Epiphany 2008, the end of Christmastide. We have been very busy with life in general, the holidays, family, friends, and our day-jobs. Kathryn and I have finished our reading on the Year’s Best volumes and are writing story notes, due soon.
We mourn the loss of our old friend, Sidney Coleman, a fine physicist and a quintessential fan. Sidney as a teenager helped found Advent:Publishers in Chicago in the mid-1950s to publish Damon Knight’s In Search of Wonder, hung out in fandom for five decades, wrote first rate fanzine articles and essays, reviewed books for F&SF for a while, and prepared a humorous schtick for every Worldcon as a contribution to the social scene. I remember in particular his creation from the early 1980s, “Promo Tarot”: fortune telling done with mass market cover flats, the kind you find lying around publishers’ parties on tables. You shuffle a deck and turn them over as “cards” to tell your fortune. I recall his lending to me a copy of The Anaesthetic Revelation of Benjamin Paul Blood, the true story of the New England dentist and late Trenscendentalist who discovered the recreational and religious uses of nitrous oxide in the 1890s. And I recall a fanzine article from the ’80s in which he told the story of his first mugging—the punch line is priceless. He was a dear friend of Terry Carr, and attended fewer cons after Terry died. He was a professor of physics at Harvard, and traveled the world with the best in the world to conferences in fine places. I remember feeling privileged at one Boskone to sit at a table in the Green Room as Sidney, Sheldon Glashow, and Gerald Feinberg (all once teenage sf fans) discussed what’s new in physics. He loved science fiction. He died in his early seventies from a rare form of Parkinson’s, which had forced his retirement a few years earlier. His passing is a loss to all of us.
Kathryn and I visited Janet Williams in Belmont, Massachusetts, where my friend Paul Williams from California was spending Christmas. Paul is the fan from the 1960s who founded Crawdaddy! magazine and more or less invented serious rock journalism. He also was my partner in Entwhistle Books, and introduced me to his friend, Philip K. Dick. After Phil’s death, Paul and I planned a campaign to keep Phil’s works alive—Paul was Phil’s literary executor—and it worked! Paul had a serious bicycle accident in the 1990s, fell on his head, and survived it only by having a chunk of his frontal lobe removed. He is seriously impaired now, can’t write much or initiate conversation, but is living with his wife, Cindy Lee Berryhill (who has a new CD of her music out) and their kindergatener Alexander. Paul’s personality is still there, as is his long-term memory, though he has problems with short-term memory. I hope he can make it to a few more cons—he was a great addition to a PKD panel at the LA Worldcon in 2006. He’s another resource the community would be poorer without.
We got some big orders from back issues after announcing our sale in NYRSF 230, but we still have a lot left. Remember: If you send us a check for more than $20.00, we’ll send you two copies for every dollar you send, starting with issue #1. We don’t guarantee complete runs unless you pay the usual price of $2.00 each, but you can take what we send and then order individual issues $2.00 if you want a bargain. We would rather have them in the hands of readers than in storage or, unthinkably, recycling.
—David G. Hartwell
& the editors