Donald J. Sobol, the author who created the great Encyclopedia Brown series, died last week. Encyclopedia Brown were kids' mystery stories about a boy detective, whose solution required careful reading and imaginative reasoning. When I started working on Little Brother, I told people it would be "Encyclopedia Brown meets Wargames" -- and I've often noodled with the idea of a set of contemporary, Internet-based mystery stories called "Wikipedia Brown."
I'm always running into die-hard Encyclopedia Brown fans in the happy mutants set. GeekDad's Ethan Gilsdorf is another megafan, and he's written a very good, informative obit for Sobol:
I lived vicariously through Encyclopedia Brown. And I came up with a hundred schemes a summer to make money, trick the bully, or otherwise engineer a scenario to be the smart one who would sweep in to save the day.
But Encyclopedia’s success wasn’t only due to his problem-solving prowess. Credit his best pal (and girl Friday) Sally Kimball: older, stronger and sometimes smarter. She also could stand up to Bugs, and was Encyclopedia’s bodyguard. That was a novel premise, to give that role of “the muscle” to a girl.
Update: There's one more Encyclopedia Brown book coming out in the fall (Thanks, Craig Pittman!)