Thursday, January 21, 2016

Farewell, David Hartwell

Two weeks ago I was cleaning up and rearranging stuff in a storage shed in my back yard. There are a lot of books and magazines there, and I ran across a small pile of old Astounding magazines from the 1940s - the kind on the real cheap pulp paper that by now has turned very yellow and brittle.

I thought of David Hartwell.

Living in New York state, our paths didn't cross much at the regional conventions I usually attend. I've met David in passing a couple of times at WorldCons, but he was usually surrounded by a gaggle of fellow old pros and I didn't have much of a chance of chat. He always seemed friendly and accessible, though.

Back in 2007, when the NASFIC was in St. Louis, we actually shared a panel - "Lost and Forgotten Writers from the Pulp Fiction Era". This panel Saturday morning was the single panel I enjoyed the most at the convention, and it was well attended.

I brought along some of those old crumbling pulp magazines to display on the table. As it happened, another panelist, Lloyd Kropp, did the same thing. David was on the panel and he had a lot to contribute. I really enjoyed it. We all had a good time, and there was a good interaction with members of the audience. I think everyone enjoyed it.

The magazines I took were all duplicates from when I had bought lots on eBay, so I didn't intend to haul them back to Texas. I said at the conclusion of the panel I would give them away,and when I mentioned this, there was a rush to the table.

David took a copy of Amazing Stories from 1947 that featured The Shaver Mystery. Kropp also took a copy of Amazing, and the rest went to audience members.

David and I chatted briefly after the panel. It was obvious he loved those pulp magazines and knew a lot about the era. I was impressed. I also learned a few other things. I didn't know he grew up in Massachusetts like I did.

Finding the old pulp magazines in the storage shed made me think of David again. Now he's gone.

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