David G. Hartwell

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David G. Hartwell
David Hartwell.jpg
Hartwell the morning after winning the Hugo, 2006
BornDavid Geddes Hartwell
(1941-07-10)July 10, 1941
Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedJanuary 20, 2016(2016-01-20) (aged 74)
Plattsburgh, New York, U.S.
  • Editor
  • literary critic
  • publisher
Education Williams College (BA)
Colgate University (MA)
Columbia University (Ph.D.)
  • Science fiction
  • fantasy
  • horror
Patricia Lee Wolcott
(m. 1969;div. 1992)

(m. 1997)

David Geddes Hartwell (July 10, 1941 – January 20, 2016) was an American critic, publisher, and editor of thousands of science fiction and fantasy novels. He was best known for work with Signet, Pocket, and Tor Books publishers. He was also noted as an award-winning editor of anthologies. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction describes him as "perhaps the single most influential book editor of the past forty years in the American [science fiction] publishing world". [1]


Early years

Hartwell was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and attended Williams College, where he graduated with a BA in 1963. He continued his studies at Colgate University for an MA in 1965, and at Columbia University where he graduated with a Ph.D. in comparative medieval literature in 1973. By 1965 Hartwell was already working as editor and publisher of The Little Magazine (1965–1988), a small press literary magazine. [2]


Hartwell started out as a book review editor for the rock music magazine Crawdaddy! , founded by Paul Williams in 1966, and published through the 1970s. [3] In 1968, Hartwell, along with Williams, Chester Anderson, and Joel Hack, co-founded Entwhistle Books, [4] which published novels by Tom Carson, Philip K. Dick, and others, and nonfiction by Williams.

Hartwell worked for Signet (1971–1973), Berkley Putnam (1973–1978) and Pocket Books, where he founded the Timescape imprint (1980–1985) and created the Pocket Books Star Trek publishing line. From 1984 until his death he worked for Tor Books, [3] where he spearheaded Tor's Canadian publishing initiative at CAN-CON in Ottawa, and was also influential in bringing many Australian writers to the US market. Since 1995, his title at Tor/Forge Books was "Senior Editor". [2]

Hartwell also ran his own small press, Dragon Press, which was founded in 1973 [5] as a partnership, and published at least three early books of science fiction criticism by Samuel R. DelanyThe Jewel-Hinged Jaw (1977), Starboard Wine (1978), and The American Shore (1977), before they were taken over by Berkley Books and eventually by Wesleyan University Press. In 1988, via Dragon Press (with Hartwell now as sole proprietor), he established The New York Review of Science Fiction , where he served as reviews editor.

In 1977, Hartwell edited the short-lived Cosmos Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine [6] for the newly-formed Baronet publishing. Cosmos is remembered as "a fine magazine, providing a good range of quality fiction" in an attractive package, but poor sales for the rest of the publisher's magazine line forced its cancellation after only four issues. [7] The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (3rd ed.) described it as "a sophisticated mixture of sf and fantasy in an elegant format which included full-colour interior illustration". [6]

Hartwell chaired the board of directors of the World Fantasy Convention and, with Gordon Van Gelder, was the administrator of the Philip K. Dick Award. Hartwell edited numerous anthologies, and published a number of critical essays on science fiction and fantasy. [2]

Awards and other achievements

Hartwell in 2008 David Hartwell 2008.jpg
Hartwell in 2008

Hartwell edited two annual anthologies: Year's Best SF , started in 1996 and co-edited with Kathryn Cramer since 2002, and Year's Best Fantasy, co-edited with Cramer from 2001 through 2010. Both anthologies have consistently placed in the top 10 of the Locus annual reader poll in the category of Best Anthology. In 1988, he won the World Fantasy Award in the category Best Anthology for The Dark Descent. [8]

Hartwell was nominated for the Hugo Award forty-one times, nineteen in the category of Best Professional Editor and Best Editor Long Form, winning in 2006, 2008 and 2009, and twenty-two times as editor/publisher of The New York Review of Science Fiction. He has also placed in the top ten in the Locus poll for best editor for twenty-seven consecutive years, every year from the award category's inception to the present day. [9] He edited the best-novel Nebula Award-winners Timescape by Gregory Benford (published 1980), The Claw of the Conciliator by Gene Wolfe (published 1981), and No Enemy But Time by Michael Bishop (published 1982), the best-novel Hugo Award-winner Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer (published 2002), and the World Fantasy Award-winning novels The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe (1981) and The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford (1984). [9] [10]

Hartwell was a Guest of Honor at the 67th World Science Fiction Convention in Montreal in 2009. [11]

He was posthumously awarded the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in October 2016. [12]

Personal life

Hartwell was known for flamboyant fashion choices. [13] In 1969 he married Patricia Lee Wolcott. They had two children, but divorced in 1992. He married Kathryn Cramer in 1997, and they had two children. Hartwell lived in Westport, New York at the time of his death, and had previously lived in Pleasantville, New York. [14] [10]


On January 19, 2016, Hartwell fell down a flight of stairs at his home, and was hospitalized in Plattsburgh, New York with severe head trauma. [15] Cramer said that the fall caused a "massive brain bleed", and that he was not expected to recover. [16] He died the following day at the age of 74. [17] [14]


Books as writer

Magazines edited

Standalone anthologies

Anthology series

See also

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  1. SF Encyclopedia
  2. 1 2 3 "Hartwell, David G." Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  3. 1 2 Anders, Charlie Jane (January 20, 2016). "David G. Hartwell Kept Restoring Our Faith In Science Fiction". Gizmodo . Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  4. "The Archive of Paul Williams," James Cummins bookseller. Retrieved Jan. 9, 2023.
  5. "About Us". Dragon Press. Retrieved January 9, 2023.
  6. 1 2 "Cosmos Science Fiction And Fantasy: all four issues published". Cold Tonnage Books. October 1, 2006. Retrieved June 18, 2022.
  7. Mike Ashley, Gateways to Forever, Liverpool University Press, 2007, pp.323-325. ISBN   978-1846310034
  8. World Fantasy Convention. "Award Winners and Nominees". Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  9. 1 2 Science Fiction Awards Database
  10. 1 2 "Interview with David Hartwell". LOCUS. September 2004. Archived from the original on September 20, 2008. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  11. In Memoriam: David G. Hartwell (SFWA)
  12. the 2016 World Fantasy Award Winners, Tor.com, October 30, 2016.
  13. "David Hartwell's sartorial splendour 1941-2016". January 20, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  14. 1 2 Slotnik, Daniel E. (February 3, 2016). "David G. Hartwell, Literary-Minded Editor of Science Fiction, Dies at 74". The New York Times .
  15. Til Death Did Us Part by Kathryn Cramer, January 21, 2016, Kathryn Cramer.com.
  16. Locus Publications (January 20, 2016). "Locus Online News » David Hartwell in Critical Condition".
  17. "David G. Hartwell (1941-2016)". January 20, 2016. Archived from the original on January 21, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  18. Age of Wonders [... ] title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. ISFDB. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  19. THE ASCENT OF WONDER, edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer Archived August 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine