Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Fred Saberhagen (1920-2007)

This just turned up in my in-box. Rotten, evil news that Fred Saberhagen has died. I knew he'd been fighting cancer for several years, but you always hope those afflicted are able to lick that nasty disease.
Fred Thomas Saberhagen passed away in his Albuquerque, New Mexico home on Friday, June 29, 2007. He was 77 years old.

Fred Saberhagen was the author of over 65 historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy novels, including such series at the Dracula and Berserker series. His first published story was "Volume Paa-Pyx" which appeared in the February 1961 issue of Galaxy, and his first published novel was The Golden People in 1964.

Before starting his writing career, Saberhagen served in the US Air Force, worked as a civilian electronics technician, and wrote and edited articles on science and technology for the Encyclopedia Britannica. He was born and raised in Chicago, but lived for many years in Albuquerque.

A memorial will be announced for later in the year. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any of the following: Doctors without Borders. Catholic Relief, SFWA Emergency Medical Fund, or John 23rd Catholic Church in Albuquerque. Saberhagen is survived by his wife, Joan Spicci.

I first met Saberhagen back in 1991, when he was gracious enough to be my writer guest of honor at Aggiecon 22. And a more cooperative guest I couldn't have asked for. He was friendly and accomodating to all the fans and con workers there. Privately, myself and several other concom began affectionately referring to him as "Yoda" after seeing him sitting in various areas in the university's student center outside of the convention events, silently observing all the students going to and fro. Around midnight on Friday we found him sipping coffee in a mostly-empty food court. He had a serene, dignified air about him, just like a Jedi Master should have.

I'd encountered him occasionally at various conventions in the ensuing years, and he always had a kind word for me. Once I started publishing interviews, he was always on my short list of people who I wanted to sit down with some day. Alas, I waited too long, and that day will never come.

1 comment:

Stephen Dedman said...

I enjoyed Saberhagen's Dracula books, but I was even more impressed by the man himself on the only occasion that I met him. He was on a panel at WFC where one writer seemed to be spoiling for a fight, and he defused the situation with admirable diplomacy. He will be missed.