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R.I.P. Lucius Shepard
March 20, 2014 2:25 PM   Subscribe

R.I.P. Lucius Shepard On March 18th, Science Fiction Literature lost one of it's best short story writers, Lucius Shepard

Here's a remembrance by Michael Swanwick, and one from Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing. Here's some of his work available online.
posted by Francis7 (34 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

posted by Kevin Street at 2:28 PM on March 20

posted by Iridic at 2:41 PM on March 20

Oh, this is too bad, I've been intending to read The Dragon Griaule for a while now.

posted by gudrun at 2:42 PM on March 20

He was a hell of a writer. :(

posted by zarq at 3:00 PM on March 20

I was just about to start in on his novel Viator. He had a real gift for making the fantastic seem real.

posted by mmmtofu at 3:01 PM on March 20

Not just short stories. Life During Wartime is an absolute masterpiece.

posted by daveje at 3:06 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]

I haven't thought about him in many many years, but he will be missed. Green Eyes was one the first, and best, literary zombie novels written.

posted by rtimmel at 3:12 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]

Life During Wartime -- that was a good one. No idea he was 70.
posted by MattD at 3:13 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]

posted by localroger at 3:29 PM on March 20

posted by Smart Dalek at 3:43 PM on March 20

posted by Renoroc at 3:45 PM on March 20

posted by DaddyNewt at 3:47 PM on March 20

I really liked The Golden. It was a vampire novel with a very different slant.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:51 PM on March 20

I don't know if it's his best, but Jailwise is the story that made me want to read more Shepard because it reminded me of Borges and Gene Wolfe. (I think that link is legit. It was free on when that existed.)
posted by straight at 3:53 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]

posted by newdaddy at 3:57 PM on March 20


One of the best.
posted by soundguy99 at 4:16 PM on March 20

When I was first getting into science fiction, Shepard was one of the (maybe the) hot young writers in Asimovs that blew everybody away with his talent. His stories are lush and immersive and emotional, more like stepping into the character's head and living their lives for a while than reading prose. He will be missed.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:21 PM on March 20 [2 favorites]

From Wikipedia : Lucius Shepard (August 21, 1943 – March 18, 2014) was an American writer.

A little further down, it says "He died in March 2014 at the age of 66."

What am I missing here?
posted by newfers at 4:43 PM on March 20

posted by eriko at 4:44 PM on March 20

This is a pity. He was one of the first authors I got into once I was starting to crave more well-written science fiction as a youngish reader (Life During Wartime and Green Eyes were two of my favorite books at that time, though I've never gone back to reread them). He was always a name I looked out for in the bookstore.

posted by whir at 4:52 PM on March 20

What am I missing here?

posted by localroger at 5:02 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]

According to writer Nathan Ballingrud, Shepard was vocalist/lyricist with a band called Sojourner Wolf's Cathouse Band. Can't find much about them, but that is one hell of a band name.
posted by misterbee at 5:03 PM on March 20

An excellent, underrated writer. And a good man.

posted by nowhere man at 5:50 PM on March 20

posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:03 PM on March 20


My wife just came into the room to see why I yelled out, "No!" when I saw this. I didn't realize he was that old, but he wasn't that old.


Another nice obituary.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:38 PM on March 20

Some time in the '90s I saw him do a reading in Seattle at Elliot Bay Books. Everyone in the audience expected some of his science fiction, but he read a pretty explicit piece of erotica. This made the crowd uncomfortable enough that afterwards someone asked him, "Why did you choose to read that? (the gist of his response was "Why not?"). I really felt for the father who had brought his pre-teen son to the reading ("Hey, son, let's go see this great science fiction author do a reading!"), and left me wondering if they headed home together in embarrassed silence or with a meaningful conversation about sex.
posted by ShooBoo at 8:41 PM on March 20

posted by hap_hazard at 10:25 PM on March 20

Wow, what awful news ... I read "R&R" when it came out in IASFM, and it was electrifying. I still have that issue and 18 other issues of IASFM and F&SF I picked up and saved all these years solely because of his stories in them ... I pre-ordered Beautiful Blood just a month ago ... So, so sad.

Oh, there's another story of his available free online: a BBC recording of "Delta Sly Honey"--morbid, but one of his best.

posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:33 PM on March 20

Shepard was one of the authors Sandra introduced me to, as she had Life During Wartime on her bookshelves. That book really was a bright icecream headache of a novel.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:24 AM on March 21

posted by TheophileEscargot at 12:54 AM on March 21

posted by mfoight at 7:19 AM on March 21

A great writer, and generally under appreciated by the SF world. I'm sorry he's gone, though not surprised since I'd read about his stroke last year.

What am I missing here?

He spent a lot of his life living abroad and/or without much of an income (and therefore I presume without good medical checkups), struggled with depression, and had a stroke last year.

Oregon Live obit, io9 obit, and a reminiscence of Shepard from 2001 from F&SF.
posted by aught at 8:14 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]

posted by Mezentian at 10:05 PM on March 21

I'm just about to start a new book. A "bright icecream headache of a novel" seems as good as any.
Sorry, Gateway, back on the shelf.
posted by Mezentian at 10:39 PM on March 21

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