Sunday, July 19, 2009

Phyllis Gotlieb: Canadian Science Fiction Writer and Poet (1926-2009)

Canadian SF writer and poet Phyllis Gotlieb passed away on July 14 at the age of 83. The top honour for Canadian science fiction is called The Sunburst Award and is patterned after her novel of the same name. Many tributes to Phyllis have been posted and you can visit a sampling from from the CBC, Sci Fi Wire, Cory Doctorow and Locus here, here, here and here.

I had the pleasure of meeting Phyllis numerous times at area science fiction conventions over the years and always appreciated her approachability and openness in sharing her passion for science fiction with the fans. One particular serendipitous encounter with Phyllis always raises a fond memory. My personal Phyllis Gotlieb anecdote occurred when I was shopping in The Worlds Biggest Bookstore in Toronto many years ago. Picking up some items in the science fiction and fantasy section (of course) I came across a first edition of her wonderful O Master Caliban. I was especially pleased because the hardcover had been out of print for several years and yet there it was. Even more surprising, when I looked in the next aisle over, there was Phyllis herself browsing the SF shelves. Needless to say I approached her, pointed out my find and she graciously inscribed the copy for me right there in the aisle.

Over the years I read and collected her books, many of which I also have signed. Here are some of the titles from my collection all with wonderfully distinctive designs.

Phyllis Gotlieb you will be missed but what a wonderful legacy you leave behind.


  1. July seems to be the month to die in. I know people die all year long, but look at how many celebrities died this month. My husbands uncle died yesterday. It's not a good month. On top of that, this is the month that I turned 49, one year closer to 50, 50 years closer to 100....

  2. I love the covers of her books you've collected.

  3. Sorry to here about your loss Mardel. as to age, I have already made that leap but I always believe, trite as it is, that you are as young as you

    Thanks Vickie she had such a wonderful career spanning so many years and I loved her stories.

  4. That's a problem for me...see in my mind I still feel about 20, sometimes 17. But my body feels about 70, and then I look in the mirror, and my hair is just about completely silver and white, with some gray mixed in. But I still think like a half teen/half twentysomething. I'm laughing as I write this though, not too broke up about it.

    Thanks for the sympathy. The uncle was a pretty good guy. A Viet Nam vet who had a lot of suffering when he came back (like a lot of other vets). He was always soft-spoken and kind to everyone he met.

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