It falls to me to pass on some very sad and unexpected news. Mac Tonnies, a long-term web-friend of mine and former columnist on the paranormal here at Futurismic, was found dead (apparently of natural causes) in his apartment yesterday. [image borrowed from UFOMystic]
I’m at a bit of a loss to know what to say, really. A part of me wants to laugh, because I know the sort of fun Mac would have had ragging on conspiracy-theory types who’d try to suggest some nefarious governmental cover-up was involved. But the larger part of me is simply gutted; Mac was a thoroughly decent and sensitive guy, and an unflinching contrarian thinker, even when considered among the already contrarian fields of transhumanism and the extranormal. He’d just finished the manuscript for a new book, which he’d been working on for a long time.
So, rest easy, Mac – you’ll be missed.
As you’ve probably already heard elsewhere, legendary New Wave sf author J G Ballard died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. There’s a decent obituary at the Daily Telegraph, and Jeff VanderMeer has posted an appreciation of the man at the Amazon Omnivoracious blog. [image courtesy Wikimedia Commons]
Regular readers may have noticed that I very rarely mark the passing of famous writers here at Futurismic, principally because I feel it would be crass to do so when I don’t really have much to say about them; I’m poorly read in the classics of the genre, and such things are better left to those closer to a writer’s oeuvre.
Ballard, however, is one of the giants of the scene with whose work I am fairly familiar, and whose work also played a large part in shaping the way I see things – in science fiction, and in reality as well. Comments and blog posts describing him as a sort of prophet are appearing in great number, and allowing for the hyperbole that such occasions tend to provoke, I think that’s a fair comment. Alongside Philip K Dick, whose style and approach was admittedly very different, Ballard was writing the world we now live in… half a century ago.
A very smart man, and – as VanderMeer puts it – a truly fearless writer. My world feels a little smaller for his absence.
Article in the NYTimes. He was a young 90.
I grew up on the Rama series. It’s a close call between him and Asimov as to who influenced me most during my youth.
What are your fond Clarke memories?