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Saturday 19 August 2000


Emil Petaja, 1915 - 2000

Emil Petaja, 85, SF and fantasy writer whose career spanned seven decades, died at his San Francisco home on August 17th.

He was of Finnish descent and was best known for several novels based on the Kalevala, the Finnish epic poem. His first work was Brief Candle in 1935. He published short stories prolifically in the 1940s and 1950s, and continued to publish novels as late as 1970, with Zodiac World. Several other novels remained unpublished.

Petaja grew up in western Montana, moved to Los Angeles in the late 1930s, and got involved in the Los Angeles fan scene, befriending Ray Bradbury, Forrest J Ackerman, Henry Kuttner, and others. He later corresponded with H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, and August Derleth. He created the Bokanalia Foundation after the death of artist and one-time-roommate Hannes Bok, and later published And Flights of Angels: The Life and Legend of Hannes Bok (1968) and several volumes of Bok's artwork and poetry.

In 1995 Petaja was named the first Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

Michael Gilbert, 1947 - 2000

Michael Gilbert, 53, artist, author, and publishing professional, died August 14, 2000 of complications following open-heart surgery.

He was a prolific fan artist in the late ’60s in Locus and other fanzines. Later he did illustrations for Analog, F&SF, etc., and served as art director for If. He was co-author with Andre Norton, as well as illustrator, for The Day of the Ness (1975). He married Sheila Gilbert, née Elkin, in 1971. His wife is co-publisher of DAW Books, and Mike worked in both editorial and art capacities at DAW, and was one of their primary first readers.

A memorial service was held August 17 in Fords, New Jersey. The family requests, in lieu of flowers, donations in Mike’s name to either the American Diabetes Association or the Humane Society.

— Full obituaries and appreciations in the September 2000 Locus Magazine

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