Best wishes for recovery to sf authors F. Paul Wilson and Gregory Benford, both recuperating from strokes

By Michael Grossberg

Prometheus-winning author F. Paul Wilson is undergoing speech therapy after having a stroke.

F. Paul Wilson (Creative Commons license)

Prometheus finalist Gregory Benford, another veteran sf author well-known to both sci-fi fans and libertarians, also has been recovering from a stroke.

Gregory Benford (Creative Commons license)

Libertarian futurists are sending our best wishes for a full recovery to Wilson and Benford, two bestselling (and libertarian) sf authors whose novels and stories have entertained and illuminated millions of readers.

F. PAUL WILSON

A few days ago (on March 19), Wilson posted this statement on his Twitter account:

“Sorry I have been out of touch. I had a stroke January 26th. Experiencing expressive aphasia. Undergoing speech therapy which is a long, slow process. Well wishes welcome but I can’t respond. Be back soon unless some other shit happens.”

Let’s all hope and pray that no more s*** happens!

Wilson, a best-selling author well known for his Repairman Jack series of novels about an individualist hero, most recently received Libertarian Futurist Society recognition for his story “Lipidleggin’,” the 2021 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner for Best Classic Fiction.

Wilson is one of four authors to receive a Special Prometheus Award for Lifetime Achievement. (Wilson won his in 2015; the other lifetime-achievement recipients are Poul Anderson, L. Neil Smith and Vernor Vinge.)

Wilson’s most explicit libertarian science fiction can be found in his LaNague Federation trilogy and related novels and stories.

His LaNague trilogy includes Wheels within Wheels (the first Prometheus Award winner in 1979),  Healer (the 1990 Prometheus Hall of Fame winner); and An Enemy of the State (the 1991 Hall of Fame winner).

Set in the same fictional interstellar future is the novel Dydeetown World and several related stories.

Wilson also won a Prometheus Award for Best Novel for Sims in 2004.

* Check out this interview with F. Paul Wilson about his writing, published in the Spring 2011 issue of Prometheus,the LFS quarterly journal.

GREGORY BENFORD

Benford, 82, reportedly is recuperating and making good progress after having had a stroke in late December. He improved enough by February to be transferred from the hospital to a recuperation center.

Fortunately, his close friend Naomi Fisher (now his caregiver) was with Benford when the stroke happened, according to a report by his friend Allen Steele.

“Greg is in good hands. Naomi Fisher… is responsible for his survival; if Naomi hadn’t been downstairs when she heard him fall in the shower, Greg would have died then and there,” Steele wrote.

Steele, himself a veteran sf author (whose novel Arkwright was reviewed in 2017 on the Prometheus blog), shared tidbits about Benford’s progress in recovery in a “positive update” on Benford’s health.

The update was posted by Mike Glyer on File 770, Glyer’s longtime website reporting on news and publications and awards within the field of science fiction and fantasy.

Good news: Steele reported spending an hour on the phone with Benford, “(thus saving me from America’s annual exercise in boredom that we call the Super Bowl),” Steele wrote.

“Although he’s still a bit hoarse from being intubated for a long time, I understood everything he said to me and he understood everything I said to him. He even got it when I commented that where he is now is at least better than being in Cleveland,” Steele wrote.

Benford was a Prometheus Award finalist for Best Novel in 2000 for The Martian Race and was nominated in 1984 for Against Infinity and in 1985 for Across the Sea of Suns.

While those Prometheus nominees had enough politics incorporated into their stories and enough libertarian values to be nominated, that wasn’t central enough to those novels to make them winners.

Benford is best known for writing hard-science fiction, reflecting his knowledge as an astrophysicist and professor emeritus at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine.

With more than 200 scientific publications, his research covered both theory and experiments in astrophysics and plasma physics.

That strong scientific background helped make convincing the science and physics woven into many of his novels – including his Galactic Center Saga series (which includes In the Ocean of Night, Across the Sea of Suns, Great Sky River, Tides of Light, Furious Gulf and Sailing Bright Eternity.)

Benford is perhaps best known to science-fiction fans for his award-winning bestselling 1980 novel Timescape, an ingenious and innovative dystopian novel about a new form of limited time travel that won Nebula, Campbell and British SF awards.

Among his other novels: Artifact, Iceborn, Cosm, Beyond Infinity, The Berlin Project, Rewrite: Loops in the Timescale and Shadows of Eternity.

Bedford is a frequent collaborator with other sf authors.

For example, he wrote Beyond the Fall of Night with Arthur Clarke, If the Stars are Gods and Find the Changeling with Gordon Eklund, Shiva Descending with William Rotsler, and Heart of the Comet with Prometheus-finalist David Brin.

Most recently, Benford wrote an ambitious and epic interstellar alien-contact trilogy (Bowl of Heaven, Shipstar and Glorious) with Prometheus-winner Larry Niven.

Benford also has written novels in other fictional universes – including Foundation’s Fear (a sequel to Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy) and A Darker Geometry: A Man-Kzin Novel, coauthored with Mark O. Martin and set within Larry Niven’s Ringworld universe.

Among libertarians, Benford may be just as well-known as a decades-long contributing editor of Reason, the leading libertarian magazine since the early 1970s.

Although Benford (like another veteran sf golden-age author, Robert Silverberg) is a libertarian, he has not been recognized through the Prometheus Awards because his science-oriented novels and other fiction have not made libertarian or anti-authoritarian themes central to their stories and characters.

Just a thought: If Benford’s fiction is ever found to be eligible for a Prometheus award, that recognition might come from his shorter fiction.

For instance, he’s edited with Martin H. Greenberg four anthologies whose titles at least suggest the possibility of pro-freedom and/or anti-tyranny themes: Alternate Empires, Alternate Heroes, Alternate Wars and Alternate Americas.

P.S. Thanks to Fred Moulton, who served for many years on the LFS Board of Directors and as a Prometheus finalist judge, for bringing the news about Wilson to our attention!

IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE:

* Prometheus winners: For the full list of Prometheus winners, finalists and nominees – for the annual Best Novel and Best Classic Fiction (Hall of Fame) categories and occasional Special Awards – visit the enhanced Prometheus Awards page on the LFS website, which now includes convenient links to the full set of published appreciation-reviews of past winners.

* Read “The Libertarian History of Science Fiction,” an essay in the international magazine Quillette that favorably highlights the Prometheus Awards, the Libertarian Futurist Society and the significant element of libertarian sf/fantasy in the evolution of the modern genre.

Watch  videos of the 2022 Prometheus ceremony with Wil McCarthy, and past Prometheus Awards ceremonies, Libertarian Futurist Society panel discussions with noted sf authors and leading libertarian writers, and other LFS programs on the Prometheus Blog’s Video page.

Join us! To help sustain the Prometheus Awards, join the Libertarian Futurist Society (LFS), a non-profit all-volunteer association of freedom-loving sf/fantasy fans.

Libertarian futurists believe that culture matters! We understand that the arts and literature can be vital, and in some ways even more powerful than politics in the long run, by sparking innovation, better ideas, positive social change, and mutual respect for each other’s rights and differences.

Through recognizing the literature of liberty and the many different but complementary visions of a free future via the Prometheus Awards, the LFS hopes to help spread better visions of the future that help humanity overcome tyranny, slavery and war and achieve universal liberty and human rights and a better world (perhaps eventually, worlds) for all.

 

 

Published by

Michael Grossberg

Michael Grossberg, who founded the LFS in 1982 to help sustain the Prometheus Awards, has been an arts critic, speaker and award-winning journalist for five decades. Michael has won Ohio SPJ awards for Best Critic in Ohio and Best Arts Reporting (seven times). He's written for Reason, Libertarian Review and Backstage weekly; helped lead the American Theatre Critics Association for two decades; and has contributed to six books, including critical essays for the annual Best Plays Theatre Yearbook and an afterword for J. Neil Schulman's novel The Rainbow Cadenza. Among books he recommends from a libertarian-futurist perspective: Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist & How Innovation Works, David Boaz's The Libertarian Mind and Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress.

2 thoughts on “Best wishes for recovery to sf authors F. Paul Wilson and Gregory Benford, both recuperating from strokes”

  1. Unfortunately, we’ve heard nothing further about Benford, since it was reported that a severe stroke in December 2022 paralyzed his left side.
    The good news about F. Paul Wilson, though, is that he’s doing well enough to comfortably email – since we had a recent email conversation thread with him, and he seems just fine.
    We continue to have best wishes for Benford’s full recovery, and will update the blog when we hear more.

  2. This is 10 months old. Any further word on Dr. Benford’s situation? I met him at DragonCon in 2022, and he was amazingly spry for someone 80. He was climbing directly onto stages (ignoring stairs on the opposite side, and jumping off same staged to the floor).

    Just goes to show we’re all vulnerable at any moment for serious injury after 60-65, even when we’re still able to move and act as though 50yo.

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