I heard the news about David Hartwell’s accident last night; it makes me inexpressibly sad to see one of the people who have shaped the speculative fiction landscape for so long pass. Others will tell you of all his wonderful accomplishments; I want to celebrate his life by recounting a few moments of it that I was privileged enough to share.
I first met David at the Locus Awards in 2006. I was incredibly nervous and introduced him to someone else as “David Hartman,” an error I would perpetuate for several conventions because I’d be so nervous about doing it again that I inevitably would. He was gracious about it every time.
He had an exhaustive knowledge of not just speculative fiction, but popular media in general. Connie Willis sent me to him at some point when I was researching screwball comedies, and we had a wonderful half hour session in the bar with me frantically scribbling titles down on napkins. He was always a pleasure to talk with, and full of interesting nuggets of information.
His dress style was inimitable; I wish more of our editors followed his example. I’m going to miss glancing over a convention crowd and being able to instantly spot him. He was one of the things I could count on at certain conventions.
January has brought some sad passings, including Bowie and Rickman. It breaks my heart to see David added to that list. He was definitely one of the influencers, and the publishing world will be changed by his passing.
Update: Locus says the obit was released prematurely. Keep an eye there for updates.