I was quite excited to see that Neal Barrett, Jr. was announced as this year’s SFWA Author Emeritus recipient. The award will be presented at this year’s Nebula Awards ceremony in Coco Beach, FL. I’ve been a huge fan of Neal’s work for a long time. I’ve always felt that his work didn’t receive the recognition it deserved, and it appears that SFWA agrees.
Barrett, Jr. likes to give his reader a protagonist who alternately falls into good and bad fortune (although, to be honest, mostly bad) much like how life can inexplicably give you good and bad times. The fun is seeing how Barrett, Jr. will pull them out of their mixed fortunes and set them down the right path. It isn’t a Neal Barrett, Jr. story without humor. If you like writers like Lucius Shepard, Howard Waldrop, Lewis Shiner, Andy Duncan, Kelly Link, or Jeffrey Ford, you should enjoy Neal Barrett, Jr.
I will admit to a little sadness at this award, as it tends to come near the end of an author’s career. For very selfish reasons, I would like to see more work from Neal Barrett, Jr. for years to come. I’ve spoken to Neal a lot over the years, but I’ve never been fortunate enough to meet him. I wish I could be there in FL to see him receive this award; I know it means a lot to him.
John Klima is the editor of Electric Velocipede, winner of the 2009 Hugo for Best Fanzine.