David Hartwell

Me, Robert Charles Wilson and David Hartwell with our respective awards at LACon IV, 2006. Photo: Kathryn Cramer

Very bad news about David Hartwell, one of most important editors of science fiction and fantasy: According to Kathryn Cramer, David has had a massive bleed in his brain and is not expected to recover. Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who has known and worked with David for decades, has further thoughts and information.

I’ve also known David for a number of years; his knowledge of and passion for science fiction and fantasy literature is beyond contestation. My thoughts are now to Kathryn, their children and family, and all who know David, personally and professionally. This is a significant loss for the field.

Edit, 8pm: Kathryn Cramer reports via a Facebook comment to Neil Gaiman that David has indeed passed away. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.

23 thoughts on “David Hartwell

  1. I remember first meeting him at CanCon in Ottawa a few months ago. I had no idea who he was, but when he commented to me after a panel was over that I had great taste in authors, I was flattered. When I actually *sat* on a panel *with* him the next day and realized WHO HE WAS, I felt even more flattered (and also kind of dumb). How on earth did I not know who he was and how influential he was in the field?

    I really looked forward to talking to him again. I guess that ship has sailed though.

  2. What a shame! He hosted a science fiction forum at Williams College a few years ago and was utterly charming and kind. I’ve reread Dark Descent a dozen times.

  3. I first met David at, IIRC, Norwescons back in the dawn of time 30-some years ago. He’d occasionally be in Seattle for Vanguard parties as well. He was a thoughtful, articulate, funny man who I would frequently find myself discussing ties with. David always felt that there was no such thing as an “ugly” tie; rather, every tie had a purpose. It might be a singular, isolated, unusual purpose, but there would always be that *one* occasion, he’d say, for which that tie was perfect like unto none other. :)

    He was a great man in many ways and my world is a little smaller and a lot sadder for his loss. :(

  4. I am so sorry to hear such grim news (as if there hasn’t been enough lately). He sounds like a wonderful person.

  5. David was a good con friend to me. My thoughts are with Kathryn and their kids and also to his son Geoff Hartwell the musician. Geoff was the first Hartwell I ever met.

  6. All this tragedy so early in 2016 is not creating a good outlook for the year. My sympathies to David and his family. I hope we start hearing more happy news.

  7. David was a true gentleman and a fine editor; his knowledge of many genres was phenomenal. For several years my husband and I attended the Baker Street Irregulars’ weekend in New York, and we almost always met up with David for lunch at some point, after first popping into his office in the Flatiron building (he’d wave at the bookshelves groaning with recent publications and say ‘Help yourselves to anything you want’). So very sorry to hear of his sudden passing; condolences to Kathryn and his children. And I’m glad I have so many fond memories of him.

  8. Sorry to hear the news about David. As John H. has already noted above, nobody could sport such a diverse array of “colorful” ties as fashionably as our esteemed Mr. Hartwell (*grin*).

    There are a number of classic SF stories including “The Star” and “The Cold Equations” that I finally got around to reading courtesy of his and Kathryn’s fine anthology The Ascent of Wonder.

  9. I met him first at an academic conferences. He treated me like an equal, a professional, even though I was very young and new to SF conventions and conferences. I will always remember that, and I endeavor to show the same courtesy to the next generation. He was a critical force in modern SF, and will be remembered with other giants like Campbell.

  10. He was on panels at CapClave and I always enjoyed his comments. He was a kind person and thoughtful editor. He mentioned studying Arthuriana in college and I very much would have loved to talk to him about King Arthur.

  11. I’ve never heard of David Hartwell, but this is how my father died a few years back, although at a better age (older) and didn’t linger (36 hours). I wish grace for his family in this time between.
    “We thank thee for life’s tasks faithfully and honorably discharged, for trials met without surrender and weakness endured without defeat. “

  12. I’m surprised that (so far) TOR hasn’t mentioned this on their main site. My condolences to him and his family.

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