(urth) Memento Mori

Gwern Branwen gwern at gwern.net
Mon Jul 14 08:17:03 PDT 2014

On Mon, Jul 14, 2014 at 1:25 AM, Charles Gillingham
<charlesgillingham at gmail.com> wrote:
> I'm very offended by this post, concerned with Wolfe's age and/or health.
> And starting off with "get autographs while you can" is absurd. Anyone that
> reads Wolfe knows it was a changing point in their life. Lets show more
> respect for Wolfe, who's changed each of our lives so much. Whether or not
> he reads this list doesn't matter.
> Certainly, we should be mature about the realities of mortality. Wolfe's
> life is his own, and that of his God. We profit off his work, not his
> personal life. I wish he has a long and healthy. But for his own enjoyment,
> not so I can get an autograph or send fan mail.
> If I interpreted the meaning or tone of the first post I'm sorry. Either
> way, should we really use this list to gossip about Wolfe?

I don't recognize any actual argument in your email. All I see is
venting about how 'offended' you are. So what.

Why is it off-limits to discuss Wolfe's impending death? That is of
serious concern to a mailing list devoted to Wolfe's work: it means no
more novels, no more short stories, no more interviews or
clarifications of mistakes, no more conventions, it means anyone who
wished to meet Wolfe or get his autograph - and why are you so
contemptuous of autographs, anyway? some people really like
autographs! - and so it is a useful service to a lot of people who
don't realize the odds are *really high* and *getting higher every
year* (counterintuitive & little appreciated by young people who have
never looked at life tables or read up on aging) to alert them of
these facts. These concerns are part of why Wolfe has been getting
accolades the past few years, even though most of his recent work like
_An Evil Guest_ hasn't really amazed the mailing list - the higherups
realize that if they want to honor Wolfe while it'll be most
meaningful, they had better do so as soon as they can arrange it.

Interaction with authors has always been a key part of SF fandom; for
example, didn't you read Marc's emails in this very thread? Why do you
think Wolfe goes to conventions in the first place? Why do conventions
exist? Because a lot of people do not seem to share your views that
authors are demigods best embalmed and up on a shelf.


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