David G. Hartwell
I don’t read facebook, but I’ve been alerted to this piece of information:
Late this afternoon David [Hartwell] had a massive brain bleed from which he is not expected to recover.
In case the name isn’t familiar to you, that’s not surprising. David G. Hartwell is a famous editor, not a writer. Gaming and SF have always had a relationship, I first went to SF cons (specifically, Balticon) out of curiosity, but I gravitated to the gaming connection. As such, it was possible that I would have eventually run into (or been introduced to) David Hartwell, but not likely.
In fact I already knew him before I went to my first convention. He taught a six week writing class (“Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy”) I took over a summer when I was seventeen.
Ms. Tao also attended that same institution, and her writing instructor was Ben Bova. At the time, I thought it strange that one section had a famous writer and the other had … a not so famous editor. But honestly I suspect I got much more out of that class than if we’d been in the other sections. For one thing, David was incredibly supportive. I don’t think anyone from that class went on to be a published writer (but even as I am bad with names now, I was practically antagonistic towards learning them in my youth, so who knows?) and gave me excellent feedback and hours of practical advice on how to get published. I mean, I know he did, even if I don’t remember the details.
All I remember were the personal stories. Those were great. Funny and engaging, Our section had a lot more laughter and joy, by all accounts.
The only real lesson that stuck with me? Being an editor could be a lot of fun, if you were willing to accept the limitations of the profession. The impression I had was that David enjoyed the hell out of his life, mingling with the interesting people that make up our little clique, finding new talent, and making just enough money to survive. In hindsight, I just think that David would have had fun, no matter what he was doing.
It’s a small circle, SF. One that I’m not really in.
But I was lucky enough to meet him and learn from him, nearly thirty years ago.
Update — Neil Gaiman posted to twitter that David has died. RIP.