Martin Morse Wooster (1957-2022)

Martin Morse Wooster died Saturday night, November 12. He had been attending an ale conference in Williamsburg, Virginia and was walking along the highway from the convention venue back to the hotel where he was staying when he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver. A local news station says police are asking for help in identifying the driver.

Martin’s sister, Ann Wooster, notified a member of Potomac River Science Fiction Society (PRSFS), a group he co-founded. Kyle McAbee released it to their mailing list. That is all the information presently known.

Martin has been a daily contributor to File 770 for years, and I will sorely miss him.

Martin Morse Wooster

50 thoughts on “Martin Morse Wooster (1957-2022)

  1. He will be missed, very much. May his memory be a blessing.

    I met Martin at my second con, in the previous century and have seen him at virtually every con I’ve ever been at (most recently about 6 weeks ago.

  2. Thank you for posting this news, Mike. I am a long-time PRSFS member who enjoyed reading Martin’s theater reviews and other items here on File 770. Martin valued fellowship and conversation highly. PRSFS will not be the same without him.

  3. Damn. Been seeing his presence in fanzines and online for… a long time. (Since the late 70s, I think?) Condolences to family and friends.

    And f*** the coward who hit him and drove away.

  4. RIP, and deepest sympathy for his family and friends.

    And I hope someone knows who did it – there would be damage to the car.

  5. OMFG…

    What a horrible piece of news. Rest In Peace, Martin. Your memory will always be a blessing and a continuing inspiration to all of us at File 770, your family and friends.

    And may justice be done to the perpetrator of this horrendous crime that took you from us…

    Chris B.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear this. I always enjoyed Martin’s theatre reviews and often had good conversations with him here in the comments at File 770.

    My sincerest condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.

    I also hope they catch the hit-and-run driver responsible.

  7. Saw him for the final time at Capclave a few weeks ago. Except that I had no way of knowing it was the final time. We’d known each other for a very long time and though we weren’t close friends he was still a big part of my fandom. And even though he’s gone his legacy lives on in all his fanzine articles and other contributions that have broadened the history of this genre. In doing so he’s become, in a way, immortal. Would that all of us will be so remembered.

  8. No! Oh, no! Martin was a really nice guy, I met him in the early ’70s when he was a kinda goofy oddball but also a real sweetheart. This is just so really, really, not OK.

  9. I’m sorry for his family and real-life friends. I’m sorry for us. We all lost him much too soon.

  10. Horrible, stunning, unexpected news. I’ve been sending him news items for years, and he was a daily and always interesting commenter on FictionMags, the group I’m in with perhaps too many posts.

    And I know he was a daily contributor here, Mike.

    A sad, horrible, so unnecessary death. Effing careless drivers.

  11. Very sad news about a very nice guy. So sad to hear how death came so suddenly and unexpectedly instead od the long life Martin deserved.

  12. I’m terribly sorry to hear this news, both here and as a member of PRSFS a few hours ago. It’s such a shock. It seems like just a few days ago I was just talking to him via email. I can’t believe he’s gone. He was a wonderful person, a mainstay of our community. We will miss him so very much. The Baltimore/DC science fiction community has lost so many these past few years. My heart and condolences goes out to all his loved ones.

  13. I don’t think I ever met him in person, only knew him as a member of this online community. Condolences to his family and friends. May karma get to the driver soon.

  14. This is a shock. Passing away after attending an ale conference seems like not a bad way to go, but it should have been at the age of 100, at least. Condolences to Martin’s family and many friends and readers.

  15. This is terribly sad and shocking news. I never met Martin, but I knew OF him, and always enjoyed reading what he had to say. This is a sad loss for fandom. May his memory be a blessing.

  16. I’m so sorry to hear this. I don’t think I ever met Martin in person but he was a regular correspondent to Plokta and many other fanzines. I’m so sorry for your loss, Mike, and for all his family and friends.

  17. My condolences to his family, and I echo the hopes of others that the driver will be found and punished. I used to see Martin at the trivia contests at Balticon, and was amazed at his depth of knowledge of all things F and SF. I also read his reviews here of items from the Washington Post, Financial Times, etc.

  18. This is truly shocking and sad news. I met Martin two or three times at conventions, and we would sit and talk for a while. He used to send me issues of the New Yorker with SF or Fantasy stories … not realizing that I am a long-time subscriber! And of course I enjoyed his posts here at File 770.

    Any man’s death diminishes me … but some seem to more than most, and this news really hits hard. My condolences as well to his family and all his many friends.

  19. Awful news indeed. Besides being a File 770 stalwart, Martin had regularly contributed to Ansible since 1981, and this century it’s been rare for an issue not to carry at least one snippet with his MMW credit. Now December’s will be the last. It hurts.

  20. I was introduced to Martin at my first PRSFS meeting in late 1976 by Joe Mayhew. We rode to a fair number of Hexacons together, other cons as well. In the mid ’80s, he was one of a few that would meet at my apartment and pretend to play softball at a nearby school field (Richard Thompson and Martin’s great friend Randy Brunk, both now gone, were also in the group). Martin visited my various abodes fairly often, and once brought a biscuit mix (I think) which he cooked with my young daughters. Like everyone else, he sent me magazines he’d finished reading (several with stories by our friend Tim Sullivan). During the pandemic I fell out of touch with many of my friends, but he and I still had a few calls and emails. I’ve been owing him a reply for a couple of months (to do with reports of some disgusting experience of a former housemate—our friendship was like that).

    He was respected as a diligent researcher by his academic associates. He produced a number of works on philanthropy. Although he couldn’t drink much of it in recent years for health reasons, he was a noted beer journalist as well, and proved a reliable source of local recommendations.

    Martin and I saw the world differently, in ways that could have produced contempt or antagonism, but somehow we remained friends. He deserves most of the credit there.

    Riding a bus a few weeks ago, I saw him on the street. Should have pounded the window and waved, but wasn’t quick enough. I regret that.

  21. I first met Martin when he asked me to be the Scandinavian correspondent for Reason Magazine’s international newsletter, more than forty years ago. The newsletter is long gone, but Martin has remained, a tireless correspondent and a companion at most US conventions I’ve gone over more than forty years. He was indeed a goofy guy but also a guy of innumerable interests, far from all of which we shared, as well as a well read knowledgeable guy, always willing to discuss and share. I heard from him last only hours before his death. I’ll miss him, and his sometimes daily questions about things Swedish he had stumbled on in some article or news item. He was a friend, though sadly not for life.

  22. I am devastated by this news. I hope and pray that the police catch the person who is responsible for this hit and run that deprived me of one of my best friends.

    I have known Martin since the early eighties. We first met through science fiction circles, either at a convention or at a party. For years he teased me about being a Star Trek fan, and I chided him about “not being a media fan.” We both belonged to Knossos, the Washington, D.C., area book discussion group under the umbrella of the Mythopoeic Society. I also belonged for many years to his monthly dinner club, the Silver Spring Science Fiction Society. According to Martin, he chose the club’s restaurant each month by climbing to a cave on Sugarloaf Mountain and consulting the gnomes who lived there. Occasionally, I attended movies with his Silver Spring Depressing Science Fiction group. It was at one of these outings where I met my wonderful, brilliant husband, Brick Barrientos.

    Brick, our daughter Miranda, and I enjoyed many years of friendship and camaraderie with Martin. He had a special rapport with Miranda, as he seemed to have with other children and young adults. We will miss his wit; loyalty; unique insights into science fiction, baseball, and politics; and surprising love of animals. Godspeed Martin.

  23. Gut-wrenching news. I enjoyed getting to know him here and wasn’t aware of how many places he was known until this discussion in his memory. I will greatly miss his contributions. My condolences to his family and friends.

  24. I am so sad to hear about Martin. I first meet him at Thanksgiving weekend in 1996. He had organized a party to go see Star Trek IV and a mutual friend invited me to join the group. I got to know him well during the 30 plus years that we were both members of the F&SF book club Knossos. I particularly enjoyed our conversations when I drove him home from various Knossos meetings. He never failed to ask how the other members of my family were doing. I will always love how he insisted, with some justification, that my particularly shaggy dog was actually a tribble.

  25. Oh, no, that’s terrible. I’m so very sorry to hear it, his presence here and elsewhere in fandom will be much missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

  26. Though I had not seen Martin in two decades, he was someone you never forget. A great writer, thinker, and human. RIP. Very inspiring to hear that many will remember him well.

  27. I am shocked and saddened to hear about Martin’s death. We loved discussing politics together (at Chicon he showed me his latest purchase: a Mayor Lori Lightfoot action figure) but we had a couple of acquaintances we both couldn’t stand and we spent some quality time gossiping about them. But once we moved on from that, he had marvelous grasp of politics and just talking to him was a education.

    I am so sorry and my thoughts go out to his family.

  28. I came to Martin’s attention at a convention because I wore a College Bowl t-shirt and he also played. We later played both academic and pop culture (AKA TRASH) tournaments together that were open to any participants, not just school teams. One of his proudest achievements was when our team finished 9th out of about 30 finalists at the 2009 TRASHionals.

    Martin would play the science fiction trivia contests I wrote for local conventions. He was quite impressive in the niche areas of publishing, editors, and old-time fandom.

    Martin wanted to see every major and minor league sports team in the Washington-Baltimore area. He tried to go to a baseball game when he went traveling. He also liked to dance during the 7th inning stretch. I went to a weekday day game at the old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, sitting in the lower deck. It wasn’t during the 7th inning stretch, but during a pitching change that they played some hyped-up dance music. There was Martin on the big screen, dancing in the first row of the upper deck, directly above where I was sitting.

    I will miss his humor, camaraderie, and conversation.

  29. I knew Martin in college as he was honing his linguistic skills and a member of our on the edge fraternity. He was quirky so fit right in to our group of intellectuals, dopers, soccer player and other misfits. Toga Toga Martin, sorry I never got your sleeping bag back to you.

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  31. An appeal:

    I knew Martin on the beer (and beer journalism) side for many years. I had not seen him for a long time, but we kept in touch by email, and he regularly sent clippings from the Post (and I discovered upon his death that he sent clippings to many people about their various special interests). As a journalist and friend, I am trying to learn more about the circumstances of his death, and to get in touch with his family about doing something to recognize and honor him.

    Please, anyone who can help with contact information of Martin’s family or otherwise help, please contact me through this space. thanks, Jim

  32. I met Martin in the late 1990s when he and I were both contributing to The American Enterprise magazine. We had stayed in touch, mostly by email, since that time. Martin was a good correspondent–never angry, seemingly always willing to listen to someone’s opposing point of view (we shared a few perspectives but differed considerably on politics). For years he clipped articles from the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and other newspapers or magazines and mailed them to me. In return, since the start of the pandemic, I mailed him nearly every issue of The New York Times Magazine. He was a very appreciative person, a good soul. I am very sorry to learn that he’s gone.

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