2011 was a harsh year for science fiction and fantasy fans, with several notable authors (and artists) passing on to forever wander the landscapes of our imagination. My apologies if I have missed anyone, but as we contemplate the joys of family and friendship over this holiday weekend, I'd like to pay homage to those who will not be joining us in 2012:
- Brian Jacques passed away on February 5 of a heart attack. Brian was best known for his Redwall series (beginning with Redwall and ending with the posthumous The Rogue Crew), but also wrote the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman trilogy, the Urso Brunov duology, and several independent works.
- Diana Wynne Jones passed away on March 26 of lung cancer. Perhaps best known in the YA genre, Diana was author of the Castle series, the Chrestomanci series, the Dalemark Quartet, and many others.
- Joanna Russ passed away on April 29 following a series of strokes. Joanna, of course, was the author of the seminal science fiction novels The Female Man and Picnic on Paradise.
- Mark Shepherd passed away on May 24 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Once the personal secretary of Mercedes Lackey, he went on to write (and co-write) several novels in the Serrated Edge series and the Bard’s Tale series.
- Joel Rosenberg passed away on June 2 of complications from respiratory depression. Joel was the author of the Guardians of the Flame series, the Keepers of the Hidden Ways series, the Thousand Worlds series, and many others.
- Leslie Esdaile Banks passed away on August 2. Leslie wrote in various genres, under the pseudonyms LA Banks, Leslie Esdaile, Leslie Banks and Leslie Esdaile Banks, but is perhaps best known for The Vampire Huntress Legend series (beginning with Minion and ending with The Thirteenth) and the Crimson Moon series.
- Sara Douglass (real name - Sara Warneke) passed away on September 27 of ovarian cancer. Sara was the author of the Sara Douglass The Axis Trilogy, The Wayfarer Redemption, The Crucible, The Troy Game, and Darkglass Mountain.
- Anne McCaffrey passed away on November 21 after suffering a stroke. Anne is, of course, best known for her Dragonriders of Pern series (beginning with Dragonflight and ending with Dragon's Time), along with The Brain & Brawn Ship series, The Crystal universe, The Talents universe, the Petaybee universe, the Acorna universe, and many others.
- Darrell K. Sweet passed away on December 5. A prolific artist, Darrell was responsible for the iconic covers of The Wheel of Time, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Xanth, the Saga of Recluce, and the Runelords series.
Our shelves are a little emptier, and our imaginations a little darker, without them.