Obituaries, real and imagined

TTers remember a science fiction legend and create their own epitaphs, this week in Table Talk.

By Salon Staff
March 18, 2005 8:44PM (UTC)
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Work Life

The Grad Lounge

Megan Knight - 12:18 a.m. Pacific Time - Mar 8, 2005 - #2412 of 2469

I am overwhelmed by books. Every time I see my supervisor he loads me up with another dozen or so.

My obituary will read:

Bowled out by the public sphere

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Megan Knight, Ph.D. student, was tragically killed today when the pile of books her supervisor had insisted she read toppled from her desk, pinning her beneath the crushing weight of 100 years of Marxist sociological thought. It is thought that the last book added to the pile, Calhoun's collection of essays on the public sphere, was the culprit in the fatal bookslide. Theorists speculate that it was the weight of Nancy Fraser's essay in that book that triggered the tragedy.

Her academic supervisor has not been indicted in the incident, although that possibility has not been ruled out.

Ms. Knight is survived by her husband, Martin, and her cats, Giles and Beryl.

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White House

White House Bar & Grill XI

Nina Katarina - 12:58 p.m. Pacific Time - Mar 17, 2005 - #143 of 284

Andre Norton memories...

My first science fiction book was Norton's "Ordeal in Otherwhere." I got it at the elementary school used-book sale, for 10 cents. I still have it. It's very typical Norton -- orphan girl is kidnapped, escapes her captors through hitherto unknown psychic powers on a strange planet, where she finds ancient artifacts that enhance her psychic powers. I have all of her books.

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I wrote to Andre Norton twice -- once on her 90th birthday, and once when I heard she was in the hospital. Each time I was astonished to get a letter in return. Not just a card with "thank you for thinking of me," but an honest-to-God letter, responding to what I wrote and expanding on the themes.

I've since found authors whose books I like better than Norton's. Her writing can be obscure and hard to read. Her plots are pretty predictable. Her syntax gets mangled, in places. But I still have every book she's ever written. When I was purging my book collection, not one of those books made the slightest twitch toward the giveaway box. I feel sad that they're buried. I feel a deep need to pick up "The Crystal Gryphon," or "Breed to Come," or "Year of the Unicorn" right now, and bury myself.

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Science fiction and fantasy take you to other worlds, but it's the people you meet in those worlds who stay with you. Andre Norton made so many of those people real for me.

I'm crying.

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