It was the Year of the Old Guy—the Old Genre Guys.
We lost Ray Bradbury this year, in his 90’s. I am far from the only writer in the world to say that he had a huge impact on me. We saw writers from all over the world and from a variety of genres pen their feelings about his death. His footprints were so big that they made their way to a planet he’d dreamed and written about: Mars. When I heard that the Gale crater that marked the landing of Curiosity rover in August was named “Bradbury Landing,” it brought back a flood of memories of devouring his stories and books in my youth and then again as an adult.
And Elmore Leonard won the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in November, in his late 80’s. Western and crime writer extraordinaire, Leonard was the first genre and/or popular writer to win this since Stephen King ten years ago (and we can hope he survives without an annoying rebuke from that asshole of assholes, Harold Bloom).
Both honors, the Mars landing title and that of the National Book Foundation, were well deserved for each of these American treasures.