In Memoriam: Lucius Shepard

Posted by KathrynBaker

Lucius Shepard (b.1943) died on March 18. Shepard began publishing in 1983 and his first novel, Green Eyes, appeared the following year. He won the Campbell Award for new author in 1985, a Nebula Award for his story “R&R,” a Hugo for “Barnacle Bill the Spacer,” and the World Fantasy Award twice, both times for collections.  Shepard’s second novel, Life During Wartime, incorporated the earlier “R&R” and was followed by several novellas, including The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter and Kalimantan.

His publications slowed down in the 1990s, but beginning with the novella Valentine in 2002, he began publishing with greater frequency.  Shepard’s early story, “The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule” set up an exotic setting which Shepard returned to several times, eventually releasing the collection of related stories, The Dragon Griaule.

He returns to the setting in the forthcoming Beautiful Blood, now posthumous work.  While many authors write science fiction and fantasy set in a gleaming future or a fairy tale past, Shepard’s writing embraced squalor and third-world settings, particularly those models after South-East Asia (where he served during the Vietnam War) and Central America, we he lived for many years. In addition to his fiction, Shepard also contributed a film review column to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

SFWA President Steven Gould said, “In my disreputable past I wrote reviews for Kirkus and it was my honor to cover his World Fantasy Award winning collection THE ENDS OF THE EARTH in 1991. He was a great writer.”