The SFF Community Mourns the Loss of Kit Reed

Following the sad news of Kit Reed’s death yesterday at the age of 85, the community of science fiction and fantasy readers, fans, editors, and authors have made it clear how much she will be missed, expressed grief at the passing of a legend and celebrating an extraordinary life and career. Jen Gunnels, Reed’s editor at Tor Books, penned the following tribute to the author:

Several years ago, I met Kit Reed for the first time at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts. It was… an intimidating moment. I mean, Kit Reed. She was the most gracious, elegant, suffer-no-fools woman I had ever met, and I adored her for it. Over the years, we became better friends, and when I stepped in as her editor after the death of David Hartwell, we started the editor/author relationship. It was all too brief.

Kit was old school in all the best ways. Meet with an editor? Then it had to be at the Algonquin, that famous hotel where the Algonquin Round Table met—the literati like Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, and others shared drinks and barbs and molded literary culture. She would fill me in on literary news in a manner that Dorothy Parker would have approved. She was much like a fairy godmother—if fairy godmothers knew EVERYONE in the book circles, swore like a Teamster, and carried herself like that bullet proof broad from a noir novel. I think that this would have pleased her to know.

While we’ve lost a writer who helped pioneer the genre for women, she has left us with an ongoing legacy in her work and with her approach to young talent—authors and editors alike. So, remember her by raising a glass and saying something insightful and biting and clever. She’s really only gone just around the corner.

Tor editor Marco Palmieri tweeted a recent noir-ish photo of Reed, writing:

Elsewhere, Reed and her work have been celebrated with an outpouring of tributes by many of her fellow authors:

Finally, calling Reed “a brilliant giant of science fiction,” Cory Doctorow penned a touching tribute on BoingBoing, which you can read in full here. As he notes, those who wish to honor her memory with a donation can do so by donating to the Alzheimers’ Walk of Greater Los Angeles in her name, to 826 National or another writing program, or to a cancer charity like Cancer Research. Clearly, Reed’s impact on the field of SFF, her kindness toward and support of other writers, and her impressive body of books and stories will continue to inspire all of us—friends, fans, and strangers alike—for years to come.


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