Friday, February 11, 2005

Jack L. Chalker (1944-2005)

Damn. I only met Jack Chalker once, at the 1997 Worldcon in San Antonio. He was as nice a fellow as you could ask for. I'd hoped to interview him, but we couldn't work our schedules out. I never read much of his work, but my overriding memory of belonging to the Science Fiction Book Club throughout the 80s--when I had no other access to SF books--was his Four Lords of the Diamond, which was a perennial selection there. I mean, that one was always a prominent selection, right beside Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber. Still have my SFBC copy, too, boxed away somewhere.
Jack L. Chalker passed away peacefully at 11:12AM EST on February 11, 2005.

Jack was hospitalized for congested heart failure on December 6. Although there were ups and downs, his condition had been poor during the intervening two months and his kidneys and lungs had failed near the end. He was receiving care in the ICU at Bon Secours in Baltimore, MD.

Funeral details and date are being finalized, but the service will be in the Marzullo Chapel 6009 Harford Rd, Baltimore, with a reception to follow.

Biography condensed from

Jack Lawrence Chalker was born December 17, 1944 in Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up in Baltimore and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Towson State College (Towson University) and graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University. He taught history on the high school and college levels, and was a lecturer at the Smithsonian, The National Institutes of Health, and numerous colleges and universities, mostly on science fiction and technology subjects.

He had a varied career which included being a professional typesetter, a sound engineer for outdoor rock concerts, an audio and computer reviewer, free-lance editor, a publisher (founder and owner of The Mirage Press, Ltd.), a book packager, an Air National Guard Information Director, new and used book dealer, and teacher as mentioned above. He was a special forces Air Commando during the Vietnam war, stationed in the United States.

Since 1978 he made his living solely by writing and published over 60 science fiction or fantasy novels and anthologies. During their years of publication, Jack wrote a regular column on SF/fantasy small press for Fantasy Review and continued the column on an irregular basis in Pulphouse magazine.

A long time science fiction fan, he attended hundreds of conventions. As a SF professional, he stayed very accessible to fans. He was Toastmaster at the1983 WorldCon, and co-chaired the 1974 WorldCon, Discon II. He was a 3-term treasurer of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

His awards included the Dedalus Award (1983), The Gold Medal of the West Coast Review of Books (1984), Skylark Award (1985), and Hamilton-Brackett Memorial Award (1979). He was nominated for the Hugo Award 4 times.

Jack married Eva C. Whitley in 1978 and they have 2 sons, David Whitley Chalker, and Steven Lloyd Chalker.

Posted February 11, 2005

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