Sunday, February 14, 2010

R.I.P. Anvil & Tenn

I'd like to offer my belated respects to a couple of sf authors who died recently, Christopher Anvil (1925-2009) and William Tenn (1920-2010).

Anvil was a regular contributor to Analog magazine, with a career the began in the 1950's and ran steadily through to the 1990's. I know him best from his Interstellar Patrol stories which were recently reprinted in collected volumes by Baen Books. Not only did they feature colorful adventure, and a memorable A.I. super-ship, but they also explored some interesting ideas. One of the most memorable for me was "Stanglehold," which did a good job of dramatizing how the existence of strong psi powers (or magic, if you will) would make discovery of the scientific method impossible. This despite the fact that the story, like many at the time, was just a build-up for a bad pun.

Tenn was less prolific due to the fact that he secured a job teaching at Penn State, but what he lacked in quantity he made up for in quality. I only know his work from his most notable stories which I read in scattered anthologies, but I enjoyed them thoroughly. The one I remember best is "On Venus, Have We Got a Rabbi". Frederik Pohl has written a better eulogy to him than I ever could, and points out his collected works have been issued by NESFA Press. I really should read more of his writing.

No comments: