The last time I heard from Michael Levy was in mid-March. I’d sent out a round of jog letters to reviewers, and I was surprised that list included Mike, usually our fastest and most reliable reviewer. I soon got back a very short reply, apologizing and saying that things had been “horrible” for him of late and that he hadn’t had time.
I don’t know if he knew how little time he had left. Despite our amiable relationship, I wasn’t the type of friend to whom he would confide if he suspected that things were going to end very soon.
Mike died on April 3. He had served as president of both the Science Fiction Research Association and the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts; he also coedited Extrapolation for two years. He wrote hundreds of published reviews, including over a hundred in NYRSF over 21 years. (His first issue was also my first issue.) Children’s Fantasy Literature: An Introduction, his final book, cowritten with Farah Mendlesohn, came out a year ago from Cambridge University Press to warm reviews; he would have been the obvious person to review it for us except for that pesky conflict-of-interest thing.
The online outpouring of love and gratitude from his former students has been overwhelming.
April’s poetic cruelty arises from its abounding joy, and this April began with a celebration. NYRSF cofounder Samuel R. Delany’s 75th birthday became part of the NYRSF Reading Series. Curator Jim Freund pulled together a wonderful program, starting with Terence Taylor, who explained how he came to read Dhalgren over the course of a day and then read his appreciation of the novel from Lightspeed Magazine’s People of Colo(u)r Destroy SF! special issue <www.destroysf.com>. Freund interviewed Chip about everything; then after a break, Chip read a new essay, “Ash Wednesday,” about love and sex parties and friendship and trains and the limits of knowledge and radicalism and CPAP machines and trailer parks and so much else. And then there was cake. The event was livestreamed and archived here <livestream.com/accounts/12973202/Delany75>. (No internet cake, though.)
So, that’s a full month of event in just three days. Life's extremes come at us fast; let us hope we can stay ahead of them. See you in May.
—Kevin J. Maroney
and the editors