The Colorado Authors Hall of Fame’s 2021 Inductees include a dozen living and four legacy authors — three of whom have written sff: Kevin J. Anderson, W. Michael Gear, and the late Robert A. Heinlein. The induction ceremony will be held September 18 in Denver.
The first Hall of Fame induction in 2019 honored 22 authors, among them Stephen King, Clive Cussler, and Connie Willis, eligible because they either lived in Colorado at some time or featured Colorado prominently in their works.
- KEVIN J. ANDERSON
With more than 170 published books, 58 of which have been national or international bestsellers, Kevin Anderson is a true creative wordsmith. He has written numerous novels in the Dune, Star Wars, X-Files, and Batman/Superman universes, as well as unique steampunk fantasy novels Clockwork Angels and Clockwork Lives, written with legendary rock drummer Neil Peart. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Wake the Dragon and Terra Incognita fantasy trilogies, the Saga of Shadows trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. He has edited numerous anthologies, written comics and games, and the lyrics to two rock CDs. Kevin is the director of the graduate program in Publishing at Western Colorado University in Gunnison and he and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers of Colorado-based WordFire Press.
Kevin does most of his writing by dictation while out hiking in the Colorado mountains. He has climbed all the Fourteeners in the state and has completed the entire Colorado Trail, and after lengthy hikes he enjoys relaxing with an IPA from one of Colorado’s many excellent craft breweries. His most recent novels are Vengewar, Dune: The Duke of Caladan (with Brian Herbert), Stake (set in Colorado Springs), Kill Zone (with Doug Beason), and Spine of the Dragon.
Books of note: Dune: The Duke of Caladan and Hidden Empire: The Saga of Seven Suns Book 1
- W. MICHAEL GEAR
Being a professional archaeologist and New York Times bestselling author with 60 novels, 2 short stories, and 82 non-fiction articles in print that have been translated into 29 languages is what brings William Michael Gear to the Hall. Earning his BA and MA in physical anthropology at Colorado State University, he transitioned to Wyoming as a field archaeologist. He is the 2020 winner of the Owen Wister Award and inductee into the Western Writers of America Hall of Fame. Over 17 million copies of his books are in print in 29 languages. His novels have been used as educational tools in grammar schools and high schools, and used as textbooks in university classes in archaeology, anthropology, and literature courses.
His writing was inspired by historical inaccuracies he encountered in reading historical fiction. “Irritated by historical inaccuracies in Western fiction, he swore he could do better. …he read a Western novel about a trail drive.. the historical inaccuracies of the story bothered him all night. The next morning, he hammered out his first five hundred and fifty page novel. It reads wretchedly—but the historical facts are correct.
His North America’s Forgotten Past series (co-authored with Kathleen O’Neal Gear) has educated millions around the world and is the only series of books written by professional archaeologists that tackles the panorama of extraordinary native cultures that have inhabited North America over the past twenty thousand years. Gear’s educational effort have been recognized by state and regional library organizations, and the Kansas National Education Association for the Kansas State Reading Circle for Middle/Junior High School students. He’s also won numerous awards from bison organizations, including the Western Bison Association’s Founders Award, the Classic Producer’s Award from the Dakota Territory Buffalo Association, and the FFA Pride Award for agricultural education.
Michael’s literary work has been honored by literary organizations, educational associations, and state and regional library organizations, as well as organizations dedicated to the history and future of bison. His service to other writers is demonstrated by his eight President’s Awards from the Western Writers of America, and the Emmie Mygatt Award and Arizola Magnanat Awards from Wyoming Writers, Inc. All were for dedicated service to writers that inspired and helped other writers.
Books of note: Unreconciled and Flight of the Hawk: The Plains
- ROBERT HEINLEIN – JULY 7, 1907 – MAY 8, 1988
Calling Colorado Springs home in 1949, Robert Heinlein’s personally designed house was featured in Popular Mechanics. Often called the “dean of science fiction writers”, he was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction and became a pioneer of the subgenre of hard science fiction. He was an American science-fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and Naval officer creating 32 published novels, 59 short stories, and 16 collections during his life. Four films, two television series, several episodes of a radio series, and a board game have been derived directly from his work. Heinlein edited an anthology of other writers’ Science Fiction short stories.
WWII, the atomic bombings in Japan, and the Cold War, galvanized Heinlein’s determination to make a difference with his writing. He published four influential short stories for The Saturday Evening Post magazine, including The Green Hills of Earth, which made him the first science fiction writer to break out of the “pulp ghetto”. In 1950, the movie Destination Moon—the documentary-like film for which he had written the story and scenario, co-written the script, and invented many of the effects—won an Academy Award for special effects. Understanding that the YA market devoured fantasy and sci-fi, he embarked on a series of juvenile novels for the Charles Scribner’s Sons publishing company that went from 1947 through 1959, at the rate of one book each autumn, in time for Christmas presents to teenagers.
Books of note: Stranger in a Strange Land, The Star Beast and Starship Troopers
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]