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 Comments 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. Melanie Marttila – Eyes on the skies, head in the clouds, #actuallyautistic author Melanie Marttila writes poetry and speculative tales of hope in the face of adversity. She lives and writes in Sudbury, Ontario, in the house where three generations of her family have lived, on the street that bears her surname, with her spouse and their dog. "Golden Ratio," Polar Starlight 4, December 2021; "The Wolf You Feed," Home for the Howlidays, November 2021; "Encoded," Sulphur X, August 2021; "A Poet's Apprentice," Polar Borealis #18, May 2021; "Illusion," Polar Borealis #17, February 2021; "Visiting Endymion," Polar Borealis #16, October 2020; "Fire and Ice," Polar Borealis #15, June 2020 and Stellar Evolutions: The best of the first fifteen issues of Polar Borealis; "Relativity Speaking," Polar Borealis #14, April 2020; "Cicadas" and "Molly Finder," Sudbury Ink, 2016; "Downtime," On Spec, Fall 2014; "The Broken Places," Bastion Science Fiction Magazine, June 2014.
    Melanie Marttila

    So sad. I’d just met him for the first time in the fall. Lovely man.

  3. 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.

  4. John Hedtke – Eugene, OR – John Hedtke (www.hedtke.com) is the author of 26 books and a couple hundred magazine articles. He does disaster recovery and business consulting for public and private companies. John has several blogs, notably "Hey, kids! Become an author at home in your spare time and earn big bucks!" (tradebookauthor.com) for would-be authors. He is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication. John lives in Eugene, OR, with his wife, their youngest daughter, and 4 cats. (Follow him: @johnhedtke).
    John Hedtke

    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. :(

  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. Mary Robinette Kowal – Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of SHADES OF MILK AND HONEY (Tor 2010) & won the 2008 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. She is also a professional puppeteer.
    Mary Robinette Kowal

    I think the entire community is in mourning.

  9. 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.

  10. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.

    Tamora Pierce’s and I’s thought are with him and his family.

  11. 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.

  12. Leesa – I am the assistant features editor at Sequential Tart. I like to read webcomics. I like to Twitter with friends and keep up with my favorite web comic creators. http://www.twitter.com/leesalogic I play MMORPGs like EQ, EQ2, GW2, and can't wait for Csmelt Unchainef. I also play in a tabletop D&D game my husband DMs. I love pens, especially fountain and gel pens. In a nutshell, I'm a nerd.

    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.

  13. 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. “

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