[Today’s Mind Meld was suggested by an SF Signal reader, Gary Farber, who is here among our guests. Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
In the past couple of years, we have seen the appearance of at the least two important biographies of Science Fiction writers, the first volume of Robert Patterson’s work on Robert A. Heinlein (Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve) and Listen to the Echoes: The Ray Bradbury Interviews, a sort of complement to Weller’s biography, published in 2006. But there are so many writers out there, living and dead, whose lives we would have loved to know a bit more so we maybe could feel the same feeling of closeness we use to feel when we are reading their stories.
So, we asked this week’s panelists…
Q: Which figure in the history of the creation of science fiction, living or dead, would you most like to see the next thorough biography of?
Here’s what they said…
John Joseph Adams
John Joseph Adams
is the bestselling editor of many anthologies, such as Other Worlds Than These
, Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom
, Brave New Worlds, Wastelands, The Living Dead, The Living Dead 2, By Blood We Live, Federations, The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
, and The Way of the Wizard
. John is a four-time finalist for the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award, and he has been called “the reigning king of the anthology world” by Barnes & Noble. John is also the editor of Lightspeed Magazine
and the new horror magazine, Nightmare
, which launches October 1. In addition to his editorial projects, John is the co-host of Wired.com’s The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy
podcast. His next anthology, Epic: Legends of Fantasy
, comes out in November. Forthcoming in December is a revised and expanded second edition of his critically-acclaimed anthology, Brave New Worlds
, and then, in February, Tor will publish his anthology The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination
. For more information, visit his website at johnjosephadams.com, and you can find him on Twitter @johnjosephadams.
I’d love to see a biography of Alfred Bester. I don’t know if his life was interesting enough to warrant one, but I do know that he left his literary estate to his bartender when he died, and anyone who does something like that had to have had SOME good real-life stories. (Apparently the bartender didn’t know what to do with the estate, and as a result Bester’s work was out of print for several years, until Byron Preiss rescued it and brought it back to light in the 90s.) Bester also wrote Green Lantern for a while, and created the oft-quoted Green Lantern oath, when he was writing the comic, though I don’t know if there would be any interesting stories surrounding that or his time writing comics. A few years ago, I went on a big Bester kick — I’d gone back to read though his ouvre more completely, and re-read The Stars My Destination (my favorite novel). Then, sometime later, I read the brilliant Tiptree biography by Julie Phillips, and that’s when I first conceived of this desire to read a Bester biography. Given there wasn’t one, I went on a bit of a scavenger hunt, tracking down all the information about Bester I could find, not just online, but in old magazines and the like–looking for interviews or anything that talked about the man himself, as opposed to just his fiction. I never did find much indication that there’d be enough good material to make a biography, but still I wish there was one (or perhaps that Bester had been as interesting in life as his fiction was).