RIP: Gene Van Troyer 1950-2009

Gene van TroyerGene Van Troyer, a science fiction writer and poet who worked as an English teacher in Japan, died July 17, 2009 of cancer. He was 58.

Born in Portland, Oregon, he started writing poetry and science fiction at 13 started selling it professionally at about 20. In 1973, with assistance from Fred Pohl, he contacted Shibano Takumi, considered the key figure in founding Japanese sf. The next year he went to Japan as an exchange student and became a translation consultant for many of the key figures in the sf scene there. For years he reviewed American science fiction for SF Magajin editor Fukushima Masami.

Despite living across the Pacific Ocean, he actively volunteered in both the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. He served for a time as an assistant editor of Star*Line, the SFPA newsletter. With Grania Davis, he edited Speculative Japan: Outstanding Tales of Japanese Science Fiction and Fantasy, a book that presented the stories of Japanese writers in English translation that debuted at Nippon 2007, the 65th World Science Fiction Convention. The Kurodahan Press Web site credits him for being the driving force behind the anthology. He also edited the poetry anthology Collaborations (Ravenna Press, 2007).

Over the past three  years he wrote a series of poems examining subjects such as Internet pages and multi-user games  with a wry eye for psychological metaphor. Those poems were collected in You Are Here (Sam’s Dot Publishing, 2009).

He is survived by his wife Tomoko, his sons Makato and Akito and his daughter Miika.

7 Responses

  1. Jonathan Vos Post

    Oh no! He was, in many ways, my first long-term friend in the Science Fiction Poetry community. I adored his own verse, his criticism, his translations, or jolly times together. I feel a cold wind running through an emptiness in my spine, and in the spines of all my books. I know that he made Ray Bradbury very happy by printing (for the first time) the complete corrected version of a long poem done by myself with Ray Bradbury, in the anthology “Collaborations” — and now I have no way to repay the favor, other than by telling people what a kind, brilliant, magnificent man we have lost, and to wish the best to his wife and 3 children. We shared his light; we must live beyond the darkness.

  2. Bob Frazier

    I knew Gene poet to poet. Gene added a strong speculative / mainstream sensibility to the early years of the Science Fiction Poetry Association that has survived to this day. Gene visited my family once on Nantucket, and I visited Gene and Tomoko once in Portland, on a road adventure with poet Andy Joron. He was great friends with multiple-Rhysling-nominee Kathy Rantala, who I also met in Washington State on that trip, and the four of us collaborated on a massive round-robin poem by snail mail. He was the connective tissue. Gene and Tomoko with Makoto, Akito and their daughter Miika had made far off Okinawa their home, but connecting with poets in a heartfelt way was a specialty of his…he had just recently (late 2007?) published the poetry anthology “Collaborations.” That may well stand as a firm legacy.

  3. Dr.Arvind Mishra

    Oh its very shocking -Gene has been very regular on this forum and was a friend, philosopher and friend kind of persona for us -he expressed his views on various aspects of Sf on the forum from time to time and often showed the light and right path to choose whenever there happened to be some impasse in discussions in between us on the forum !
    I PERSONALLY feel very much deprived and bereaved on the demise of this visionary sf writer and critic.

    He was full of optimism but oh the cruel death does not spare any one this mortal land -perhaps he has gone to inhabit one of those planets of his sf stories which as a rule abounds with immortal lives .

    When I talked him last I did not realize that his health was deteriorated to the extent that the end was too near …he accepted that writing in sitting posture was getting increasingly difficult for him but I felt that this man of great optimism and determination would come out of all this and shall have the last laugh ! ALAS ! as ill luck would have it it could not happen so ….

    May all mighty give his family enough strength to withstand the great loss .

  4. Dr. R.P. Raman

    Gene Van Troyer’s sudden demise leaves a great vacuum difficult to fill in the SF-world. We at Indian Science Fiction Writer’s Group enjoyed his wonderful and inspiring company very regularly at our site with highly scholarly and thought provoking ideas and inputs. He proved to be a modern day icon of sf writings in the world literature.

    It’s really sad, he is no more with us. May his noble soul rest in peace at the lotus feet of the Almighty.

    Aamen !

    (Dr. R.P. Raman)
    Mumbai, India

  5. Pingback: File 770 » Blog Archive » Gene Van Troyer Dies

  6. Swapnil

    I came to know about Gene through a Forum and he always kept the discussions on the track through his deep insights.

    He was a man with great wisdom. We enjoy his presence on this planet, which enriched lives.