The angels discover Terry Bisson



An author out standing in his field …

Locus Magazine has reported that sf/f author Terry Bisson is dead, a month shy of his 82nd birthday. Mr. Bisson, a versatile writer who made a living with a variety of styles and genres, including a series of children’s books sponsored by NASCAR (as “T. B. Calhoun”), may best be remembered for his pungent sf/f short stories that bordered on (or wandered over into) the surreal, like “Bears Discover Fire”, or “They’re Made Out of Meat”. His progressive politics worked together with his literary jobs, bringing him stories like “macs” (a 168 clones of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh turned over to the families of the 168 victims) and editing work like the Outspoken Authors series for PM Press. Just recently, in October 2023, the New Yorker offered a short piece on his last writing project, “This Month in History”, a monthly compilation of “future” history items published in Locus. He was a genial and generous member of the sf/f family, too, and remembrances of his colleagues are piling up. Locus will focus their February 2024 issue on him. 

I will miss him, too. In the late 1990s, Mr. Bisson taught writing at the New School in Manhattan. For the low, low price of $400, a student got to spend 14 weeks talking with and learning from one of the true crafters of sf/f. And the 2 weeks he was out, he got his friend Alice Turner, fiction editor for Playboy, to cover for him. A bargain at twice the price, as we say. 

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