Wednesday, November 05, 2014

RIP: George Slusser (1939-2014)

Some sad new to report: George Slusser has died.

George wrote one of the earliest studies of Ray Bradbury's work, The Bradbury Chronicles (Borgo Press, 1977). This short study, written in an accessible style, concentrated mainly on Bradbury's early short stories, and drew out the key themes that seemed to be Bradbury's preoccupation in those classic weird tales.

George Slusser was an academic at the University of California Riverside, where he built the J.Lloyd Eaton Collection into the world's largest research collection for science fiction, fantasy and horror. He also organised or helped organise many of the Eaton Conferences, and edited and co-edited many of the books that collected the proceedings of those conferences.

As well as writing about Bradbury, George wrote books on Ursula Le Guin, Arthur C. Clarke, Harlan Ellison, Robert Heinlein and many others. He collaborated frequently with Eric Rabkin, and helped shape the academic study of SF.

In 2008, I submitted a conference paper proposal about Bradbury to the Eaton Conference, and was surprised to get a personal response from George. I was even more surprised when he told me my paper had been accepted - and that Ray Bradbury was to be a guest of honour at the conference. That conference would be my first meeting with both George and Ray.

Both the Eaton collection and the Eaton conference look set to continue in the future. Both are a fitting legacy for George Edgar Slusser.

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