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William H. Patterson Jr. (1951-2014)

Writer and critic William H. Patterson, Jr., 62, died April 22, 2014. Patterson was an expert on the works of Robert A. Heinlein, and was chosen by Heinlein’s widow Virginia Heinlein to write the authorized biography. Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century, Vol. 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve appeared in 2011, and was a Hugo Award finalist. Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue With His Century, Vol. 2: The Man Who Learned Better is due out in June.

Patterson was born October 28, 1951 in St. Louis MO. The family moved to Indiana before relocating to Phoenix AZ in 1956. In 1969 he joined a local SF club and the local chapter of the Tolkien Club, and soon became heavily involved in Phoenix fandom.

Patterson relocated to San Francisco in 1978, where he founded the Heinlein Journal in 1997 and co-founded the Heinlein Society the following year. He worked on the “Virginia Edition”, definitive versions of Heinlein’s work, by locating manuscripts, doing substantial editing, and writing endnotes. He helped organize the Heinlein Centennial in Kansas City MO in 2007.

Patterson’s essay “The Heir of James Branch Cabell: The Biography of the Biography of the Life of Manuel (A Comedy of Inheritances)” won the Cabell Prize in 2000, and with Andrew Thornton he wrote The Martian Named Smith: Critical Perspectives on Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land (2002).

See the June issue of Locus for a complete obituary.


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