Perhaps my favorite science-fiction series ever was the original five books of the Well World series by Jack Chalker.
The series was wild: a planet where over 1500 different races lived side by side was perfect reading material during my formative D&D years. And to have a main character who was also "the Wandering Jew" was a little something extra thrown in just for me (it didn't have the negative association with the myth).
Unlike some things which I returned to as an adult where I no longer know why I liked it at all, the original Well World series holds up as a great rollicking ride through a wild imagination and fine storytelleing.
I also very much enjoyed a number of his other books from the late 70s and early 80s, such as The Four Lords of the Diamond series and The Web of the Chozen. I failed to connect to his later stuff, but what I liked already earned him a place on my limited shelf of sci-fi classics.
When it would stay on the shelf, that is. I think between my family and me we must have bought the first book of the Well World series, Midnight at the Well of Souls, a good ten or eleven times. It was the book that we lent out the most and failed to be returned to us the most.
So it was a delight to discover this week that Jack's son, David, is involved in the gaming scene and writes for Critical Hits. Apparently both Jack and David loved to play Loopin' Louis. And it was even more of a delight when I noticed that he visited my profile on one of the social networking sites, MyBlogLog.
It was a terrible shock to discover, however, that Jack had passed away two years ago. That's sad. My very belated condolences to Jack's family.
Last night Kurt Vonnegut also passed away. Sigh.
Did you ever notice how we know when people who have affected our lives pass away but we never know when they are born? That means we're always saying goodbye to important things, never hello.