Brian Stableford

As I have probably said before, I am useless at obituaries. When I need to write one, one coping mechanism is to wait and see what others have said. But I can’t put this off any longer.

Most of the obituaries of Brian Stableford focus on his significant output of science fiction and fantasy novels. I only got to know him at the tail end of his career, but in that time he produced some amazing work. See this review on Emerald City for an example of what he was up to around the turn of the millennium.

Some people have also focused on debt that they owe Brian as a person. Kim Newman commented on social media that Brian’s SF vampire novel, Empire of Fear, was very important to him. Farah Mendlesohn, writing on the BSFA website, had a more personal connection. And I have one too. Brian was very kind to me when I was going back and for the California on a regular basis, putting me up for the night at his home in Reading to save me a hotel night at Heathrow. On one memorable visit I was up half the night because I could not stop reading an amazing new book called Perdido Street Station.

But the thing I really wanted to mention was alluded to briefly in the Locus obituary. They say that Brian produced, “translations of hundreds of French works”. Yes, hundreds. Let that sink in. Here you can find the eligibility list for the final year of the SF&F Translation Awards. There are over 40 novels by Brian on it, and a whole lot of short stories too. Most people would be hard pressed to read 40 novels in a year. Brian could translate as many in that time. And, I happen to know, when his eyesight was failing.

We will not see his like again.