Gregory Benford Had a Major Stroke on December 22

Gregory Benford, who turned 82 last month, suffered a major stroke on December 22.

His twin brother, Jim Benford, told the sff community today:

I flew down south immediately and the Doctors told me they didn’t expect him to live. However, he did survive and since has been very slowly recovering. He is paralyzed on his left side, can’t see the left side of his visual field. A psychiatrist has determined that he is not competent to make any decisions.

 I’ve spoken with him, but mostly at him, via FaceTime and, although everyone thinks he’s improving, it seems to me that there’s something missing. My intuition is that he’s not entirely there, as of now. Deep down, he’s confused.

Gregory Benford is the author of Timescape, winner of the 1981 Nebula, British Science Fiction Association, Ditmar, and John W. Campbell Memorial Awards. His work has been nominated for a total of 13 Nebulas (winning twice), and four Hugos.

[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]

Gregory Benford

29 thoughts on “Gregory Benford Had a Major Stroke on December 22

  1. I’m beyond sad and sorry for him and his family.
    Hoping for a successful recovery.

  2. If anyone would know “something isn’t right”, it would be a twin ( and the Benfords are identical, correct?) .

    Hoping for improvement.

  3. Ah jeez. I read so much of his stuff as a teenager.
    Healing wishes to him and his family.

  4. How dreadful. I got to meet him for the first time just a few months ago at a party for someone we both know. Spent an hour and a half just shooting the breeze with him and his friend “Bob” — it took me a good half an hour to realize Bob was Robert Silverberg. Lovely guy, wonderful conversationalist. Hope there’s some real progress. Strokes are so tough to see.

  5. Best wishes for a full recovery for Gregory Benford.

    I’ve had experience with a close relative who suffered a major stroke. It is tough when you feel like they’re not themselves. Fortunately my relative did slowly recover mentally to the point that things returned to what we’d known, though physical challenges remain.

  6. I’m sorry to hear it. I hope he is being made as comfortable as possible, and that he will recover as much as he can. Sympathy to him and his loved ones.

  7. I was notified about Greg Benford’s stroke on Dec. 28, a few days after it happened, by Naomi Fisher, his close friend and now caregiver, who was with Greg when the stroke happened. Although most of the SF community has been kept in the dark about this, mainly to give Greg the distance he and Naomi both need during this time, I’ve been in constant touch with Naomi since the last days of December, and just last night I talked with Greg himself for an hour or so, the first time we’ve had a conversation since the stroke. So I’m in a position to clarify things a bit.

    First: Greg is not dying. He’s actually doing much better than he was only last week, when he was still in the hospital. He has been transferred to a rehabilitation center — “hey, they finally sent me to rehab” was one of the first things he said to me; when I heard that, I knew he was getting better — and although it’s likely that he’ll be there for awhile, he’s a long, long way from where he was seven weeks ago when things really were dicey. Alcor isn’t getting his noggin yet.

    Second: Greg is not incoherent, nor is he in any sort of daze or unable to understand what’s spoken to him. As I said, we spent an hour on the phone (thus saving me from America’s annual exercise in boredom that we call the Super Bowl) and although he’s still a bit hoarse from being intubated for a long time, I understood everything he said to me and he understood everything I said to him. He even got it when I commented that where he is now is at least better than being in Cleveland.

    And third, Greg is in good hands. Naomi Fisher, whom I’ve also known for years and years, has been with Greg constantly. As I mentioned earlier, she is responsible for his survival; if Naomi hadn’t been downstairs when she heard him fall in the shower, Greg would have died then and there. The lady is a brick; she deserves no end of gratitude for him surviving what would have doubtless been a fatal medical emergency

    While they’re grateful for the public concern and support, what Greg really wants and needs just now is breathing room, a chance to step away for a while and quietly heal. He’ll be back, folks; my friend is tough, and he’s not leaving us yet.

  8. I do remember Greg’s fanzines when we were both in the same APA years ago. Also his grace and charm when he visited us in recent years.
    I am really glad he is doing well, and look forward to his getting back to the word processor. He is one of our best hard SF writers, and one of the most informed.
    Besides, he gave me the autograph catch phrase he picked up from Robert Bloch, which is a treasure on such occasions as somebody asks for one.
    Just a great guy!
    Get well soon!

  9. Timescape meant a lot to me, and remains one of my favourite literary SF novels. Serious in theme, with delicate characterisation.

    At Loncon once – he looked me in the eye and suggested I could move to the US and work for SpaceX. I was a middle aged banking analyst with little kids in London, so that wasn’t going to happen. But for a microsecond the dream lived again.

    Major respect for the man. I hope he is spared suffering.

  10. My thanks to Jim for passing these specifics along. I first heard about this in late December, but since then had no real sense of how Greg was doing. We’ve known each other for forty years — from Eaton Conferences in the 1980s, through many conventions and editing projects, to the occasional phone call (last Fall, most recently). We got along even when we disagreed. I enjoyed working with him in the past and hope to work with him again.

  11. Hi Greg,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your illness, but I hear you’re making an amazing recovery. Please keep on being amazing and writing amazing books. Since we last corresponded, my Hard Science Fiction book club has just reread Timescape (which we all agreed was even better the second time around) and in July we will read Shadows of Eternity. Perhaps you’ll be well enough to be our guest in that Zoom meeting.

    In any case, I wish you all the best.

    Jeff Robbins

  12. Heartbroken when I heard the news, now grateful to hear the update. Truly one of the brightest lights ever. Look forward to his recover in time.

  13. Sad. I saw him at DragonCon on Labor day and he was looking great for his age, very spry, no physical difficulties. I wish him well, hope he either recovers significantly or does not linger, one has no idea whether the mind inside still functions.

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  15. Second RFI — it’s been about 10 months since the latest update. Hopefully, that’s not a bad sign.

    Anyone able to offer any status for public distribution?

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