Robert Conquest (1917-2015)

Historian and sf anthologist Robert Conquest, famous for his groundbreaking studies of Stalinist purges and mass murders in the Soviet Union, died August 3 at the age of 98.

Conquest had wide-ranging literary interests. A love of poetry led him to become friends with Kingsley Amis, and together they edited New Lines, a showcase for Movement poets.

Both enjoyed science fiction, too, and they co-edited five editions of the sf anthology Spectrum (1961-1966).

Andrew Porter reminds that Spectrum II: A Second Science Fiction Anthology (1962) contained his famous epigram —

“SF’s no good,” they bellow ’til we’re deaf.

“But this is good!” –  “Well, then, it’s not SF.”

Conquest’s poetry collections included Between Mars and Venus (1962) and Arias From a Love Opera (1969).

He wrote one sf novel, A World of Difference (1955), published three short stories, and on his own edited The Robert Sheckley Omnibus.

Conquest was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) in 1956 and a CMG (Companion of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George) in 1996.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh and Andrew Porter for the story.]