William H. Patterson, Jr., 1951-2014

We are sorry to report that William H. Patterson, Jr. has passed. Patterson, a critic and writer with a lifelong dedication to studying the work of Robert Heinlein, published a two-volume biography on the writer. Patterson was chosen by Virginia Heinlein to write the works. The first volume, In Dialogue with His Century: Volume 1 (1907-1948): Learning Curve was published in 2011, nominated for Hugo and Locus awards, and praised by Locus’ Gary K. Wolfe as “a truly impressive feat of research.” The second volume, 1948-1988: The Man Who Learned Better is forthcoming in June, 2014.

Patterson was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His interest in science fiction took root in the late 1960s, when he joined the Phoenix Library’s science fiction club, and worked with committees on LepreCon and the 1978 World Science Fiction Convention, IguanaCon II. After moving to San Francisco, he began working on developing a formal critique of science fiction, which led to him founding the Heinlein Journal in 1997 and co-founding the Heinlein Society with Virginia Heinlein in 1998. His exhaustive research on the massive Heinlein biography began in 2000, and continued for six years, resulting in two volumes of 375,000 words each. While working on the biography, he also helped organize the Heinlein Centennial, which took place in Kansas City in July, 2007.

Patterson was also the co-author, along with Andrew Thornton, of The Martian Named Smith: Critical Perspectives on Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land and was designated The Heinlein Scholar of the Heinlein Prize Trust. His contribution to the science fiction community was profound, and he will be missed.


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