Greg Bear (1951-2022)

Greg Bear

Five-time Nebula winner Greg Bear died November 19, a week after heart surgery from which he never awoke. A CT scan showed stroke damage was caused to many parts of the brain by clots that had been hiding in a false lumen of the anterior artery to the brain ever since an earlier surgery eight years ago. After a review of the possible outcomes by the medical team, and following the wishes expressed in his advance directive, Bear was taken off life support and died two hours later.

The author of over 50 books, Bear’s novels won Nebulas for Moving Mars (1995) and Darwin’s Radio. Three other works of short fiction won Nebulas, and two of those – “Blood Music” (1984) and “Tangents” (1987) — also won the Hugo.

Bear’s writing was very successful in translation, too. He twice won Japan’s Seiun Award, as well as the Ignotus Award (Spain), and Prix Apollo (France). Altogether his works have been translated into 19 languages.

Bear sold his first short story, “Destroyers”, to Famous Science Fiction at age 15, and along with high-school friends helped found San Diego Comic-Con.

He also published work as an artist at the beginning of his career, including illustrations for an early version of the Star Trek Concordance, and covers for Galaxy and F&SF. He was a founding member of the Association of Science Fiction Artists. He even created the cover for his novel, Psychlone, a 1988 reprint from Tor.

In 1983 he married Astrid Anderson. They have two children, Chloe born in 1986, and Alexandra, born in 1990.

He was a guest of honor at the 2001 Worldcon, Millennium Philcon.

He served as President of SFWA from 1988 to 1990.

A resident of the Pacific Northwest, he was eligible for and won the first Endeavour Award in 1999 for Dinosaur Summer – and won it again the following year for Darwin’s Radio.

Bear participated in Sigma, a kind of think tank where science fiction writers share insights about the future with agencies laying real-world plans, twice making national news as one of the group’s representatives to Department of Homeland Security conferences.

Bear’s career honors include San Diego Comic-Con’s Inkpot Award (1984), the Robert A. Heinlein Award (2006) presented by the Heinlein Society, and the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society’s Forry Award (2017).

52 thoughts on “Greg Bear (1951-2022)

  1. Edmonds, WA resident, at least for a while. What a great author, I think I’ve read everything he’s done.

  2. Greg was one of the true greats of the modern era. He enlivened the central stream of SF with his own fresh version of the masters he admired — Heinlein, Clarke, and Anderson, among others — and made hard SF sing.

    This is a sad day for SF, but his work will live on.

  3. When I was 17 years old or thereabouts (the same age as the book’s protagonist) Bear’s The Infinity Concerto was one of my favorite books, with a very unusual take on both elves and on doing magic: it was done not just through poetry but through instrumental music or even such arts as architecture or winemaking. I remember waiting very impatiently for the sequel (which did indeed stick the landing). They’re available these days as an omnibus, Songs of Earth and Power. Sad news.

  4. I loved The Infinity Concerto. It is a wonderful fantasy, well written, original, and fannish in outlook. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “transported by music.”

    The first thing I read by Greg Bear was Blood Music and wow did that make an impression. For a while he was my absolute favorite SF writer. He was in a new generation of SF writers that modernized the science in hard SF. He was also just a really good writer who could create complex, stylistically ambitious novels and make them compelling, great stories.

  5. Such a tragic loss. His writings were among my favorite. Eon had a huge impact on me. Truly imaginative.

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  7. Has this been confirmed? Astrid Bear’s latest public post says merely that she expected life support to be terminated some time this weekend, after the family has said their goodbyes. She has not confirmed his actual passing (unless it’s in a friends-only post).

  8. I loved Bear’s work (Slant was especially great) but “Infinity Concerto/The Serpent Mage” are especially close to my heart. RIP and my heart goes out to his family.

  9. Requiescat in pace.

    never got to meet him in person.

    My first Greg Bear I read was the original version of “Blood Music”. Then, I was recommended Songs of Earth and Power (Infinity Concerto and the Serpent Mage), Eon, Eternity, and so on from there.

  10. Greg was a friend for four decades (I had the pleasure of being SFWA secretary when he was SFWA president), an endlessly encouraging voice for me personally and professionally. Astrid, too, is a friend. I will miss Greg’s intelligent and kind perspective and I am very sad for what Astrid and the family are going through right now.

  11. a book need never die and should not be killed; books were the immortal part of man. – Robert A. Heinlein

  12. Gutted to hear this. Greg was a terrific writer and, even more important, a kind and wise human being. He and Astrid have not only been kind to me; they’ve been major forces for good in the SF community. So much love.

  13. Has this been confirmed?

    Mike and File 770 have a combined 12 Hugo Awards. You can trust the news reported here, especially something big like the death of one of the greats in the field.

  14. Terrible news. Queen of Angels is another just brilliant novel of Bear’s. I think I’ll go reread it in appreciation. RIP.

  15. So very sorry to hear of Greg Bear’s passing – such a wonderful writer and a kind, good person too!

  16. So sad. Songs of Earth and Power was my first introduction into “adult” SFF, give to me by my (late) father… He’s always had a special place on my bookshelves.

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  20. Phoebe Barton: Thanks for the correction. I had taken the children’s names from Greg Bear’s biography on his website.

  21. So sad that we’ve lost one of the Killer B’s. Loved his works ever since I first encountered Blood Music back in college in the 80s. A truly good man who expanded the horizons of human thought.

  22. R.I.P Greg Bear, long my favorite author, I have a quote from one of his books tattooed on my arm, and the infinity concerto and the serpent mage are second only to weaveworld as my favorite fantasy, if not my favorite book full stop, condolences to his friends and family

  23. This is a huge loss – my heart fell at the news. And another vote for Songs of Earth and Power / Infinity Concerto – although it wasn’t a big award winner, I see a disproportionate number of comments here mentioning this series. It’s super memorable. If you haven’t read it – highly recommended. We should all go back and reread his works…

  24. So, so sorry to read this. Greg was a thoroughly kind, wise, and honest man, one of the most decent people I have known in the field. Everyone who knew him will miss the man. The world will miss his writing. Deepest sympathy to Astrid and the rest of his family.

  25. I remember the breathless thrill I got, edge of the seat, at the end of “Moving Mars.” “Blood Music” was one of my late partner, Kelson’s, favorite books. I still have stuff by by Greg that I have not read.

    And therein lies the virtue of the writer, that when the writer is gone, that part so deep that has come without remains, and so the writer always continues to live and be loved.

    He was also a really nice guy.

    My condolences to Astrid and the rest of the family.

  26. I got to briefly meet Greg at Powell’s bookstore during the tour for the Second Foundation series. They authors had named themselves The Deadly B’s, and it was a wonderful time.

  27. This is very sad. Bear was the same age as my father, and has been one of his favorite authors all his life. When my own reading started growing into more mature works they we’re some of the first of “dad’s books” that I explored.

  28. Another vote for Songs of Earth and Power but I preferred Slant to Queen of Angels. A loss to all, but especially his family and friends,

  29. This is very sad. He was definitely an asset to the field. My condolences to his friends and family, and to all of us who never knew him personally but who benefited from his work.

  30. I strongly urge reading Greg’s deeply moving recent novel The Unfinished Land. It’s an astonishing mix of fantasy, history, and science fiction that could only have been written by a master of those genres.

  31. Greg’s works played a large part in kindling my love for sci-fi. I devoured his books in my late teens. We’ve lost one of the masters of the genre.
    He also seemed like a thoroughly decent person. He will be greatly missed.

  32. I’ll miss Greg’s warm smile and booming laugh. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of a wide variety of subjects. Greg was kind, generous and brilliant. His passing leaves a big hole in the Science Fiction community.

    My deepest condolences to Astrid, Alexandra and Chloe.

  33. Bear was part of my personal “big three” during my golden age. An innovator in a field of innovators. I’m happy to have shared a planet with him for a little while.

  34. Living in Mumbai , India and of the same vintage as Greg Bear, I confess to not having read him at all . In his passing, I’ve come to know of another maestro of the Sci fi genre and look forward to reading his books . My personal heroes have been Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Carl Seagan . A life has ended and a journey into his writings begins. RIP .

  35. What a beautiful imagination!
    He was genuinely inspired and inspiring.
    I think of his writing whenever I encounter a piece of creative work: writing, art, furniture, beer or wine that seems more than the sum off their parts; and I think, that’s magic ????
    Suaimhneas Síoraí Air (RIP)

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