Categotry Archives: Writers/Editors

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Andre Norton

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Categories: Writers/Editors

anorton.jpgAndre Norton, the grand dame of science fiction and fantasy, died on March 17 of congestive heart failure. She was 93.
Born Alice Mary Norton, she studied history at the Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University. Norton left school during the Depression to help support her family, but later took night classes in journalism and writing at Cleveland College.
For the next 21 years, she worked as a librarian at the Nottingham Branch Library in Cleveland, Ohio, as a special librarian to the Library of Congress and as the owner of a small bookstore and lending library in Mount Ranier, Md. In 1934, Norton published her first fantasy novel, “The Prince Commands,” and legally adopted a more masculine moniker to appeal to speculative fiction’s typically male audience.
Over the next 70 years, the prolific author published more than 130 books, wrote nearly 100 short stories and edited numerous science fiction, fantasy, mystery and western anthologies. An old-fashioned storyteller, Norton was best known for her “Witch World” series, which details life on an imaginary planet that is reachable through metaphysical gateways. The 30-title series began in 1963 with a Hugo-nominated book of the same name and became a fixture on library and bookstore shelves.
Norton established The High Hallack Genre Writer’s Research and Reference Library in Nashville, Tenn., in 1999. (High Hallack is the name of a country in the “Witch World” series.) Before closing in 2004, the library served as a retreat for authors looking to research ancient religions, weaponry, mythology and history.
In 1977, Norton became the first woman to receive the Grand Master of Fantasy Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She won the Nebula Grand Master Award, the Fritz Leiber Award and the Jules Verne Award, and was inducted into the Ohio Women Hall of Fame and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. The SFWA recently named an award in her honor; it will be presented in 2006 and recognize outstanding science fiction and fantasy novels written for young adults.
Her latest novel, “Three Hands of Scorpio,” is scheduled for publication next month. Knowing she was very ill, her publisher, Tor Books, rushed an advance copy to her last week. Norton has requested that she be cremated with a copy of her first and last books.
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Jack Muller

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Categories: Law, Writers/Editors

Jack Muller, a retired Chicago police officer who was once known for his uncompromising law-and-order attitude, died on March 11 of kidney failure. He was 81.

Born to Hungarian and Polish immigrants, Muller played football and studied law at the University of Michigan. He dropped out of school to enlist in the U.S. Navy and spent World War II serving in the Pacific theatre aboard the USS Sheldrake as a minesweeping specialist.

Upon his return to the states, Muller joined the Chicago Police Department. As a rookie cop, he was shot in the head during a shootout. The bullet deflected off the police shield on his hat and lodged in his skull, where it remained for the rest of his life.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Muller developed a reputation for his ticketing practices. He patrolled Rush Street on a three-wheel motorcycle and strictly enforced all traffic laws. Fame, fortune and status didn’t matter. If a citizen broke the law, Muller was there to write him up.

“He wrote lots of tickets,” his son Kurt Muller said.
The newspapers loved to write about the honest cop, particularly when he issued tickets to Mayor Richard J. Daley, Cubs broadcaster Jack Brickhouse and mobsters Tony Accardo and Sam Giancanna. When Chicago Sun-Times gossip columnist Irv Kupcinet’s car was illegally parked in front of the Esquire Theatre, Muller had it towed. Even actor Jack Webb couldn’t avoid Muller’s determined pen. While Webb played straight-laced Sgt. Joe Friday on the TV show “Dragnet,” Muller ticketed him for being drunk and disorderly.

But Muller’s actions didn’t sit well with the higher-ups back at headquarters. For doing his job and being a good cop, he was demoted to the cemetery beat. Then, to save face, the city made him a detective. Detectives, after all, don’t write tickets. Unable to turn a blind eye to lawbreakers, however, Muller continued his efforts to rid the city of crime.

In the early 1970s, Muller worked a number of cases involving the theft of high-end tires. His investigation led to the arrest of several high-ranking police officials. For speaking out about the case on the local news, he received a written reprimand from police administrators. Muller fought the disciplinary action all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals, and won. The reprimand was eventually expunged from his record.

After nearly four decades on the force, Muller retired in 1981. He moved to Benedict Lake, Wis., took up fishing, wrote his autobiography (“I, Pig: Or, How the World’s Most Famous Cop, Me, Is Fighting City Hall”) and won $1.6 million in the lottery. He was also the subject of the biography, “Cycle Cop: The True Story of Jack Muller, the Chicago Giant-Killer Who Feared No Evil,” by Paul G. Neimark.

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Jef Raskin

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Categories: Business, Education, Writers/Editors

jraskin.jpgJef Raskin, an author, educator and computer interface expert who was known as the “Father of the Macintosh,” died on Feb. 26 of cancer. He was 61.
The New York native studied mathematics and philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and earned a master’s degree in computer science at Pennsylvania State University. He enrolled in the graduate music program at the University of California at San Diego, then spent four years teaching art, photography and computer science there.
In 1978, Apple hired Raskin to run its publications department. At the time, computers were mostly used by scientists and academics, but Raskin believed the machines should make tasks easier for ordinary people to use. With this vision in mind, he assembled the initial development team that created the first Macintosh computer, which was named after Raskin’s favorite variety of apple. He wrote the manual for the Apple II, pioneered the use of the word “font” and helped invent the “click and drag” method of manipulating icons on the screen.
But when the first Macintosh debuted in 1984, Raskin was no longer with the company. In fact, he’d quit two years earlier after his relationship with Apple co-founder Steve Jobs went sour.
Raskin later designed the Canon Cat, a small computer that used a text-based user interface, and published the landmark computer book, “The Humane Interface: New Directions for Designing Interactive Systems.” He also wrote and/or edited for Forbes ASAP, Wired, Mac Home Journal, Pacifica Tribune and Model Airplane News. In recent years, Raskin worked on The Humane Environment, a revolutionary software system that incorporates open source elements with his own user interface concepts.
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Barbara Jo Petry

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Categories: Writers/Editors

Barbara Jo Petry, a Texas author best known for writing a popular series of cozy mysteries, was struck and killed by an automobile on Feb. 18. She died a day later in the hospital at the age of 57.
Readers knew the Austin resident as Barbara Burnett Smith. Her five-book Purple Sage series featured the crime-solving adventures of Jolie Wyatt, a radio station reporter and aspiring writer. “Writers of the Purple Sage,” the book that launched the series, was nominated in 1994 for an Agatha Award for best first mystery novel. In addition, Petry penned the books “Bead on Trouble” and “Mauve and Murder.”
For two decades, Petry did vocal work in radio and television commercials. She also owned and operated Catalyst Training & Development, a company that provides communication and leadership classes to corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations.
Petry and her husband Gary drove to San Antonio on Feb. 18, to rescue an Airedale. On the way home, the couple stopped at the Remember the Alibi mystery bookstore. Unexpectedly, the dog jumped out of the car and ran into traffic. The night was dark and rainy, and as Petry tried to save the animal she was struck and fatally injured by a passing car.

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Hunter S. Thompson

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Categories: Hollywood, Media, Writers/Editors

hsthompson.jpgHunter Stockton Thompson, the renegade writer who stretched the boundaries of journalism, committed suicide on Feb. 20 at the age of 67. He died at his fortified compound in Woody Creek, Colo., of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Born in Louisville, Ky., Thompson finished high school, but missed the graduation ceremony because he was in jail serving a 60-day sentence for robbery. When he got out, Thompson enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and discovered a passion for journalism. He edited the sports section at an Air Force newspaper in Florida, then worked as a correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune and the National Observer.
In the 1970s, Thompson helped pioneer the “New Journalism” movement. Utilizing first person narrative, he discussed current events and politics in a more novelistic and opinionated manner. While writing for Rolling Stone magazine, the gonzo journalist once covered a district attorneys’ anti-drug conference after taking copious amounts of psychedelic drugs.
The unapologetic and self-destructive writer never graduated from college, yet he bestowed on himself the title of “the good doctor.” His original voice filled nearly a dozen books, including “Hell’s Angels,” “Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72” and “Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century.” Thompson was best known for “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream,” the 1972 book that turned him into a counterculture icon. His latest book, “Hey Rube: Blood Sport, the Bush Doctrine, and the Downward Spiral of Dumbness,” was published in 2004.
Thompson’s influence reached from bookstores to newsstands to Hollywood. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau modeled the balding, pot-smoking character of Uncle Duke in the “Doonesbury” comic strip after Thompson, a move that angered the journalist. At one point, Thompson vowed to set Trudeau on fire, if they ever met. Bill Murray portrayed him in the 1980 film “Where the Buffalo Roam,” and Johnny Depp did so in the 1998 film “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” A film adaptation of “The Rum Diary,” Thompson’s only published work of intentional fiction, is currently in production.
Thompson became more reclusive in recent years, spending most of his time shooting firearms in his backyard. In 2000, he accidentally shot his assistant, Deborah Fuller, while chasing a bear off his property. Thompson also wrote the popular column, Hey Rube, for ESPN.com. In his most recent column (“Fore!”), he called Murray to discuss a new extreme sport: shooting golf balls like skeet.
[Update, March 8, 2005: Thompson’s body was found in a chair in his kitchen in front of his typewriter. On stationary from the Fourth Amendment Foundation, an organization that defends victims of unwarranted search and seizure, Thompson had typed the word “counselor” in the center of the page. He also left behind a suicide note.]
[Update, Aug. 22, 2005: In keeping with his wishes, Hunter S. Thompson’s ashes were fired from a 153-foot tower erected in Woody Creek, Colo., on Saturday. About 250 friends and family attended the private ceremony, including actors Johnny Depp and Bill Murray, musician Lyle Lovett and Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.).]
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