David Feintuch (1944-2006)

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.

Bastards of Kirk

Lloyd Penney’s acting talent is in demand. The perennial FAAn Awards contender for Best Letterhack has already performed for a CD of SF radio dramas titled Sectarian Wave. Now he’s about to appear in a film – or at least his voice will.

Maninder Chana at Red Fort Films, who worked with Lloyd on the Sectarian Wave project asked him to work on their newest project, a fan film called Bastards of Kirk, looking into how a certain starship captain might have left little ones throughout the galaxy.

The project’s website teases: “In the 23rd century, 60 Minutes searches out the whereabouts of one James T. Kirk, who has disappeared following a row of paternity lawsuits. As the news magazine investigates, they uncover a conspiracy by the Federation that could have universal consequences and create all-out war among the planets. And Kirk is at the centre of it all.”

Lloyd was invited to an audition and asked to put on his best Scottish accent. And he got the part. He writes: “Taping should start in just a couple of weeks, and while I will not be seen in the film, I will be heard. (Possibly my profile, with perhaps a moustache and a red shirt.)”