Damn. I read "The Jaguar Hunter" back when it was released in the late 80s. It was (and is) one of my favorite books. When I was in college, I was lucky enough to take several classes from Tom Clareson, the groundbreaking Science Fiction academic. My senior year, I gave him a copy of "The Jaguar Hunter," since he'd never heard of Shepard. At one of our last meetings together, we talked about Shepard's work; Clareson thanked me for introducing him to such a remarkable author.
From Swanwick's piece:
'Fifteen grams, I believe that's a record.'
Did I miss something?
Reference to Dylan Thomas' (alleged) last words?
"I've had 18 straight whiskies, I think that's a record!"
Nice pub, the White Horse.
I fell asleep last night with The Dragon Graiule in my hands, woke to this sad news. I owe so much of my treasured ...perspective... to this man. I'm not much of a celebrity-death monger (and Lucius Shepard was not much of a celebrity), but his death hurts more than I could have anticipated. I'll be re-reading them all, I'm sure, for many years, with gratitude. Thank you Mr. Shepard.
Back in 1990, I had to do a project on a writer in a high school lit class. Being a smart-assed speculative fiction fan, I did it on Lucius Shepard. The only problem was that in those pre-Internet days I didn't have access to much information about him, outside of the stuff on the book jacket flaps.
In desperation, I wrote his publisher begging for some biographical detail, and weeks later received a handwritten note from the man himself, with some xeroxes of (I think) a Rolling Stone interview and some other assets. Seriously cool. I'm sorry he's gone.
"I watched a chess-boxing match with Lucius and I have never seen someone more delighted."
Seriously? I read about chess-boxing HERE, but never thought it was real.
It mentions Al Bester in the text: could it be? Is there an SF chess-boxing underground of which I've not been aware?
I'll put my money on Wladimir Klitschko.
I suspect he was no stranger to the hard stuff measured in grams. Besides an SF author he was a movie critic and he reviewed the 2000 movie "Almost Famous" (about a kid journalist following a 1970s rock band on tour) negatively. While I and most others liked the movie, he may have had a point -- the movie shows the band being wild by drinking and smoking pot and Shepard complained that that was unrealistic because the 1970s rock scene was way wilder than that.
"The Jaguar Hunter" was my introduction to him (probably around the time it came out too), still an amazing collection to this day, really opened my eyes to so much. As Cory says, one of those writers who changed those who found him.
Shepard's pioneering research into human magnetotaxis (by way of symbiotic fluorescent bacteria) led directly to recent developments in canine magnetotactic dog pooping.
Lucius or as he allowed me to call him, Lu Lu, was like a family member to me and Jack Dann and our Son, as he stayed with us in my son's room often writing his great works. We are so sad. Now I am without words. But I know I cannot make meals for him or listen to his singing Roy Orbison songs, or buy him Butterfingers candy. I hope he meets Roy somewhere in the universe, and he can get loads of Butterfingers! That would be heavenly. And he and Roy will get along, swimmingly! RIP me friend!
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