Monday, December 14, 2009

Janet Fox, 1940-2009

Well, here's how I put it to the Horror List at Indiana University:

The worst news all day, posted yesterday [Thursday] on LOCUS OnLine:

Janet Fox, 1940-2009
- posted @ 12/10/2009 01:25:00 PM PT
Writer and editor Janet Fox, 68, died [October] 21, 2009 at home in Osage City KS after a long struggle with cancer. Fox began publishing short fiction in the 1970s, and published scores of stories and poems in magazines including TWILIGHT ZONE, WEIRD TALES, CEMETERY DANCE, and others, as well as numerous anthologies. Under house name Alex McDonough she wrote five books in the Scorpio novel series for Ace, from 1990-93. She edited monthly market 'zine SCAVENGER'S NEWSLETTER from 1984-2003, and was secretary/treasurer of the Small Press Writers and Artists Organization.

A.R. Morlan has been named Fox's literary executor, and can be contacted c/o Locus.

See the January issue of LOCUS for a complete obituary.

--She was an underappreciated writer, who in horror notably did a series of stories over a period of years that concretized bromides such as "You can't take it with you" ("Materialist," MAGAZINE OF HORROR, May 1970, apparently her first sale) and "Inside of every fat person..." ("Screaming to Get Out" WEIRDBOOK 12, 1977, and collected in Gerald Page's THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES VI [1978]), among much else in the horror field, and at least one excellent series of S&S stories, the Arcana sequence, such as "Demon & Demoiselle" (FANTASTIC, October 1978). She bought a poem from me for SCAVENGER'S NEWSLETTER, published in 1989, my first arguably pro sale in fantastic publishing, and despite that desecration SCAV was a fine 'zine.

It's been a bad year for my friends and a bad year for my editors. I didn't know she was ill, and am sorry she's gone.

Todd Mason

[Then I noted, including letting LOCUS know that they had typoed the month, which they have since corrected:]

LOCUS has typoed the month of her death...October, not September. Her funeral was on Hallowe'en, which might've pleased her (if one has to have one, as one more or less does so far...).

From the TOPEKA CAPITOL-JOURNAL [and also slightly corrected]

Janet Kaye Fox
OSAGE CITY Janet Kaye Fox, 68, passed away Wednesday, October 21, 2009, at her home in Osage City. Janet was born October 25, 1940, in Topeka, the daughter of Earl and Luella Dorothy Nordling Fox. She graduated from Osage City High School in 1958 and Emporia State University in 1965. She taught school two years in White City and 15 years at Osage City High School and a number of years after as an instructor for Writers' Digest School. After retiring from teaching she was a writer and had worked as a bookkeeper at Nordling Motors in Osage City. Janet had served as secretary/treasurer of the Small Press Writers and Artists Organization, as well as issuing a newsletter for the group, afterwards establishing Scavengers Newsletter, a monthly market letter for SF/Fantasy/Horror/Mystery writers and artists with an interest in small press published from 1984 to 2003. Her writing career has extended from 1970 through the present, with her work appearing in professional and small press publications. Most of Fox's book length fiction has been written as Alex McDonough, the shared pseudonym under which Ace Books' six-volume Scorpio series was issued in the early 1990s. She wrote all but the first volume. She has also written, under her own name, the [short fiction collection] A Witch's Dozen (2005) and numerous short stories and poems. Janet was a member of the Osage City United Methodist Church. Survivors include a step brother, John Soetebier, Americus; an aunt, Evelyn Slater; cousins, Judy Alexander, Melvin Slater, Phyllis Slater, Rosie Slater and Victoria Rubottom, all of Topeka, Stephen Rubottom of Kent, Washington, Paul James Rubottom of Emporia, Joseph and Carolyn Nordling of Admire and Thomas and Helen Nordling of Osage City; and dedicated friends and caregivers, Sharon Larson and Charles and Deborah Cook, all of Osage City. She was preceded in death by her mother and step father, Luella and August F. Soetebier and her maternal grandparents, Joseph E. and Hannah Matilda Nordling. Memorial services will be at 10:00 a.m., October 31, 2009 at the United Methodist Church in Osage City. Memorial contributions can be made to the United Methodist Church or the CAT Association and sent in care of VanArsdale Funeral Chapel, 107 N 6, Osage City, KS 66523.


Unknown said...

Sad news indeed.

C. Margery Kempe said...

Very sad news -- and frustrating to see another writer who never got her due.

Frustrating too to see that you get the spam links I've been getting as well.

Todd Mason said...

I've been relatively lucky, as a relatively low-traffic blog, perhaps, in terms of spam (and churlish anonymous commentary).

I hope the end of her life wasn't too terrible. There are No guarantees, no matter how you slice it, though I think Fox never pushed too hard for wider fame. As Algis Budrys that other former editor of mine (RIP 2008) wrote about another impressive, underappreciated writer, Allen Kim Lang, perhaps the next book from him should be called WILD MODESTY.