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Sunday, April 28, 2002

Too many deaths. Too many people I know. Too many names that come with memories.Locus :George Alec Effinger is dead -- He wrote a wonderful story for the Sandman Book of Dreams, a Little Nemo in Slumberland pastiche. We had several meals in good restaurants, always discovered and recommended by him, and would discuss rewriting famous books from the points of view of more interesting characters than the ones who told them originally. I didn't know him well, but I knew him as the partner of a friend, and we'd make a point of getting together, eating and chatting, at conventions. No more.

And two entries down, on the same page, I learn that Joan Harrison, author Harry Harrison's wife, has died. I've not seen Joan or Harry for over a decade, but I first interviewed Harry for Knave in about 1984, in London's Natural History Museum for reasons that escape me now, and Harry wrote the introduction to Ghastly Beyond Belief, and I knew them both socially, and liked them both very much, when I lived south of London and they lived mostly in Ireland. Joan was the kind of person who made you feel, instantly, like family, if she liked you, and she liked me. When they'd talk about the famous SF people of the 40s, 50s and 60s, she was the one who'd say things like, "Well, of course his wife left him, and I couldn't blame her, it was just after that party, the one where he hit Bob Sheckley with a glass ashtray, you remember, Harry?" giving me a much more interesting and personal version of the history of the Science Fiction field than I might otherwise have had.

I remember when reading the Year's End Obituaries, in the Year's Best Fantasy or SF collections, I'd be looking at a list of names, which often meant something in terms of the work but nothing as people. These days they're all too often people I know.

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