I'd like to take a moment to remember a great author and man, Elmer Kelton (April 29, 1926 - August 22, 2009). I had the privilege of being a fellow participant with him in cross-disciplinary, multi-day colloquia several times in recent years, and over the many roundtable discussions and meals we shared, discussing frontier literature (from Icelandic sagas to cowboy autobiographies), political philosophy, personal history, and our love of literature, I came to admire his graciousness, humility, humor, and fierce intelligence immensely. Elmer -- he told me to call him Elmer, although I think of him as Mr. Kelton -- wrote over sixty novels and received too many awards, honorary degrees, and recognitions to be listed here. Tommy Lee Jones directed and starred in a film based on one of Elmer's books. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum honored him, as did the Cowboy Hall of Fame. It is no surprise that the Western Writers of America named him the best Western writer of all time. I consider his 1973 novel The Time it Never Rained to be one of the most important American novels of the twentieth century, on any subject, in any genre, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to benefit from its keen and poignant insights on the U.S. Western mind and condition. I will continue to think of Elmer as a role model, to read, recommend, and teach his novels, and to miss him. He was a true gentleman, a true artist, and a true original.
* Obituary from The Washington Post
* Obituary written by his family
* Elmer Kelton's Official Website
* Elmer Kelton on Wikipedia
I am still under the weather and working to get well, and thus I'm criminally behind on my correspondence, so I appreciate your patience with me as I catch up with all of my replies and emails! In the meantime, I have a few personal announcements to share:
* My latest dramatic reading for StarShipSofa: The Audio Science Fiction Magazine -- I narrate Nancy Kress's remarkable novella Flowers of Aulit Prison -- is now available for download or streaming here. It was a pleasure to read, and if you listen, I hope you enjoy it!
* I will be interviewed on the NPR program State of Affairs on WFPL in Louisville, Kentucky on Monday, August 31, for one hour at 1pm EST (rebroadcast at 9pm). The topic of the show is "The Subversiveness of Science Fiction." The show streams live and will also be available for download after the fact at WFPL's State of Affairs website.
* I will be speaking at the McConnell Center at the University of Louisville in Kentucky on September 11 and 12. I'll be leading several seminars for the McConnell Scholars, but I'll also be presenting a lecture that is free and open to the public at 4pm EST on September 11, in Chao Auditorium, Ekstrom Library, on the Belknap Campus of the University of Louisville. (You can call 502-852-3323 for additional information.) The talk will be "What Young Adult Dystopian Novels Can Teach Us," and it's a longer version of the presentation I recently made at Anticipation/The World Science Fiction Convention.
Last but not least, "12 Weird Sci-Fi Statues You Can Buy for Your Garden." Needless to say, I wouldn't kick any of these out of my garden. What's not to love?
"I can't write about heroes seven feet tall and invincible. I write about people five-foot-eight and nervous."
- Elmer Kelton