|The image is of a small stainless-steel rat, a|
reference to HH's most sustained fictional series
character, and his unflattering nickname...
|Harrison's third novel, and first crime-|
fiction (and ghosted) book.
David G. Hartwell was the editor for this and other Harrison books at Tor, among the many editorial posts and valuable work Hartwell had contributed over his half-century in and around the fantastic-fiction field (as noted previously on this blog, among his projects had been The Little Magazine, a notable journal for poetry particularly and not at all restricted to the fantasticated). Hartwell fell while carrying bookshelves on a stairwell, and never regained consciousness, earlier this year, and the suddenness of his death was not a little of what one feels in the remembrances in this special issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction, made available, at least temporarily, for download without charge; NYRSF is one of the literary children of Hartwell's, which he co-founded, and -edited for almost three decades. While he wasn't the only progenitor of the more literate work published in the fields over that time, he might've been the most consistently on-hand, and his interests ranged from keeping oral traditions alive on through to keeping an editorial hand in with all the media through which fiction is offered, not least being one of the editors of the short-fiction forum Tor.com. It is through one of the remembrances here, for example, that one might learn why Harry Harrison doesn't mention his first wife Evelyn at all in his book; their brief marriage was marked by her acting out sexually in ways that were rather extreme even for the rather bed-hopping community that the sf community could be in the early 1950s. What the various and impressive set of celebrants in the special issue do get across more importantly is the depth of the loss, personally and professionally and in terms of scholarship, the death of Hartwell creates in the field. This will probably not be the final form of this memorial, but it's an excellent start for the kind of task no one looks forward to taking on, except for the opportunity to say what should be said.
For more of what should be said about today's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.