Phyllis Gotlieb, the legendary Canadian science fiction writer, died yesterday. Phyllis was very old but very sharp -- I last saw her at an Ad Astra convention in Toronto a few years ago, and I followed her on a mailing list for Canadian sf writers, where she was a smart and funny poster. Phyllis wrote well into her old age, continuing her very long career in the field.
I first met Phyllis at Ad Astra, the Toronto area science fiction convention. She and I were co-panelists on the very first panel I ever sat on. I was 17 and I'd just sold my first story. Phyllis was well into her senior years. She was delightful. I don't remember what the subject of the panel was, but I remember the warmth and wit with which Phyllis engaged with little pipsqueak me, the welcome she made me feel as a freshman writer. I have never, ever forgotten that -- the author of O Master Caliban! deigning to notice me, much less treat me as a colleague.
Phyllis and her husband Kelly were palpably, achingly in love (Kelly once had my father in his university physics class, a class he never forgot). We had dinner together in 2007 at Ad Astra, and the two of them were the epitome of sweet old married coupledom, finishing each others' sentences, helping each other in a million tiny and affectionate ways.
By my reckoning, Phyllis was 82 when she died (I don't know the details of the death). I can only hope that when I'm 80, I'll be as sharp, productive and good-spirited as Phyllis was when I last saw her. Science fiction has lost one of its greats today, and Canada, too. My sincerest condolences to her family. You are missed, Phyllis.
(Image: Sunburst Awards)
Photographer Chris White takes readers behind the scenes of making his surf photography book Dark Light.
Eric Schlosser’s book and film Command and Control look at the terrifying prospects of nuclear friendly fire, where one of America’s nukes detonates on US soil. It also looks at what might happen if a false alarm gets relayed to a trigger-happy general or President. He starts this New Yorker piece with a terrifying story […]
Published by the fine fringe culture explorers at Daily Grail, the new essay anthology Spirits of Place features stories by the likes of Alan Moore, Maria J. Pérez Cuervo, Warren Ellis, Gazelle Amber Valentine, Iain Sinclair, Mark Pesce, and many other mutant thinkers riffing on how we connect with the locations we inhabit. You can […]
Looking to upgrade your weekend? Here are three randomly awesome products on my mind this week.#3 FRESHeBUDS Pro Magnetic Bluetooth EarbudsAs more and more phones and gadgets switch to Bluetooth-only compatibility, you’ll need to get Bluetooth headphones like the rest of us. I’ve been super impressed with these affordable magnetic headphones. Pull the magnetic earbuds apart to auto-connect […]
Traditional folding wallets are designed for paper bills—but these days, carrying cash is rarely a necessity. More often than not, I don’t carry cash at all. This Bogui Clik Wallet is the best answer I’ve found for avoiding the hassle of those tight-fitting credit card pockets.This attractive, minimalist wallet features a protective lip, so my cards don’t […]
Using my iPhone while it’s charging is always a hassle. With tucked-away outlets and the meager length of included lightning cables, comfortable scrolling while plugged in is annoying. These 10-Ft MFi-Certified Lightning Cables are super convenient and probably the best iPhone accessory purchase I’ve made.At over three times the length of normal cables, these reach anywhere you […]