RIP, Parke Godwin

The wonderful and gracious award-winning sf and fantasy author Parke Godwin has died at the age of 84, due to natural causes. Godwin was one of the first writers I ever met, while I was a teenaged volunteer at the Ad Astra science fiction convention. He was extraordinarily kind and thoughtful of the convention's volunteers, and impressed me as an example of how a professional writer can conduct himself. That led to my reading his wonderful, comical, philosophical novels Waiting for the Galactic Bus and Snake Oil Wars, which are proper atheist high comedy. I've kept up with his work over the years and though I never met him after that first time, I've always remembered him fondly and thought of him as a role model and a talented writer.

Here's what his friend and literary executor Connor Cochran sent to IO9:

Novelist and short fiction writer Harold Parke (“Pete”) Godwin, aged 84, died of natural causes on June 19, 2013 in Auburn, California. He leaves behind him a legacy of extraordinary novels spanning many genres, including thrillers, social and religious satire, science fiction, historical romance, and historical fantasy. He wrote what are arguably two of the best Arthurian novels ever, Firelord and Beloved Exile; radically rethought Robin Hood in Sherwood and Robin and the King; and set the entire planet’s sociocultural history on its ear with Waiting For the Galactic Bus and The Snake Oil Wars.

Parke joined the army as a young man and wound up doing top secret work at critical radio listening posts during the Korean conflict. Having been raised in a family with deep roots in stage performance and Vaudeville, after his service stint was over Parke made his living as a touring actor for many years. Through all this time he wrote, but only for himself. He became a published novelist comparatively late in life, at 43, when Playboy Press released his first book, Darker Places. He went on to release 14 novels, two story collections, two plays, and three books written in collaboration with a friend from his acting days, Marvin Kaye: The Masters of Solitude, Wintermind, and A Cold Blue Light.

He won the World Fantasy Award for his novella “The Fire When It Comes,” and his story “Influencing the Hell Out of Time and Teresa Golowitz” was adapted for the Twilight Zone television series in 1985.

His last two published books, Watch By Moonlight and The Lovers: the Legend of Trystan and Yseult, were both released under the pseudonym “Jane Hawks.” Before his death he completed three more books which will be released posthumously, and a comprehensive short story collection.

R.I.P. Parke Godwin, World Fantasy Award-winning Author


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  1. I received “The Snake Oil Wars” back in the early 90’s by accident from the Sci-Fi Book Club when I forgot to return the “Do not send” slip – best accidental book I ever read.   It took me a long time to find a copy of “Waiting For The Galactic Bus” but it was worth the effort to find it.

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