2016 has been a pretty damned bleak and cruel year thusfar. Tonight when I got online, I found that David Hartwell died today.

David has been a staple of my annual trips to ICFA for over a decade. He was a constant presence in the book room and the pool and the conference special events. His obnoxiously aggressive ties and jackets, often worn in combination, were part of the "What in the world will David wear this year?" game we'd play with each other. It was like the "Who are you wearing?" game at the red carpet at Hollywood award shows.

David's long career as a an editor and his awards can be found in his LOCUS obituary notice I liked above. What I remember best about that is how I ran into David by accident as we both were heading to the World Fantasy Convention in Calgary. I'd flown from Cleveland to Minneapolis and he and his family from New York to the same city, and we both wound up on the same plan across the aisle from each other. David had a manuscript with him that he was editing. I can't recall which at the moment, but I remember it was a book in an ongoing science fiction series from an old name in the genre. It wasn't my genre or the sort of SF I'd normally read if I wanted to read SF, which probably accounts for my spotty memory.

But David told me about the book and about the series, and his enthusiasm for both was clear in his tone and his expression. While line editing isn't exactly the most exciting thing in the world, it couldn't dampen David's excitement about the story. While I might not share a lot with David in terms of our tastes in story (and other others), that excitement I saw in him today is what I'd wish for all writers when they have an editor to work with.

While I wasn't close friends with David, his presence is one I'm going to miss. I never thought that when I left Florida last March it would be the last time I saw him or spoke to him.

I suppose we can't really take things like that for granted because we never do know.


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