Jack Williamson, R.I.P.

Science fiction author Jack Williamson has died at the age of 98. I never met him, but by all accounts he was a great guy as well as being a great author. His life completely encompassed what we know as literary science fiction – he made his first sale in 1928 and he was a working author for the next 78 years.

When I met L. Sprague and Catherine de Camp in 1994, at one point she leaned over to me and was proudly talking about Sprague’s lengthy stint as an SF writer. Then, her voice got low and conspiratorial and she said “If it weren’t for that blasted Jack Williamson, he’d be the oldest working science fiction writer!” Who would have thought that the world would get twelve more years of him after that? I consider us all lucky for that.

5 Replies to “Jack Williamson, R.I.P.”

  1. I took a course in basic physics at ENMU from this fine gentleman in 1970. He invited my wife and me and a few others to Thanksgiving dinner. The Williamsons were gracious, self-effacing, generous hosts. They lived simply and loved to travel. Dr. W. roasted the big turkey in his backyard barbecue and did a fine job. He proudly showed off his collection of foreign editions of his books — there were many — some of which were legitimate, bot some not. He was good-humored about it all. His great spirit lives on in his memory and his work as he joins his beloved wife.

  2. I took several classes from Dr. W when I was at ENMU, and he published my poetry and a short story in his literary magazine, El Portal. He was also my first mentor for creative writing. He was a gracious and generous human being who loved writing and teaching. I feel honored to have known him. One of the greats.

  3. Thanks to both of you for the comments. I’m envious that you both got to take courses from him. I’ve met or at least talked on the phone to a number of the leading lights in the SF field, but I never had the pleasure of interacting with Dr. Williamson.

  4. he was my great uncle and it is a blessing to read such wonderful comments about him. he was an inspirational man. he was a very honest and encouraging uncle:) he would have laughed at and loved the comments posted. he is truly missed

  5. Just read Darker than you Think by Mr. Williamson. May he rest in peace indeed. What a talent and what a loss to the reading and writing world.

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