SF author David Feintuch died died March 16, at the age of 61, following a long history of cardiac troubles. He passed away less than a dozen years after his first book was published. Midshipman’s Hope began the eight-novel Seafort Saga.
Feintuch did not set his sights on becoming an sf writer until mid-life. It was his third career, after the Harvard-trained lawyer practiced in Michigan for a decade, then retired from the law to become an antiques dealer.
He was already 50 when Midshipman’s Hope appeared. The novel made an immediate impact and led to his receiving the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best New Writer at L.A.con III. Feintuch responded with self-deprecating humor, recalls Michael Burstein: “He held it in his hands, looked at it as if he still couldn’t believe he was receiving this award, and said, ‘I’m glad it’s not for the Best Young Writer.’”
His father discouraged any youthful interest in science fiction, Feintuch told readers in an SF Book Club edition of his work: “One evening along about 1959 my father, in a fit of pique, hurled one of my Galaxy magazines across the room and demanded, ‘Why are you always reading this crap about rockets going to the moon, and people on other planets? It’s never going to happen! Why don’t you read something realistic!’”
Whether all the career changes represented a delayed escape from paternal expectations, or just the irresistible blossoming of Feintuch’s many gifts, fans’ celebration of his arrival as a writer continued after he won the Campbell. He also authored two fantasy novels, and The Still was selected as “the best fantasy of the year” by Science Fiction Chronicle.
Fans can look ahead to the eighth Seafort novel, which has yet to be published.