In Memoriam: Michael Bishop

Michael Bishop (12 November 1945 – 13 November 2023) was a prolific and beloved speculative fiction writer of short to long fiction, along with poetry and anthology curation, with professional publications spanning over fifty years. In addition to four Locus Awards and numerous Hugo Award nominations, he won the Nebula award in 1981 for the novelette “The Quickening” and in 1982 for the novel No Enemy But Time, and the Shirley Jackson award for his 2008 short story “The Pile”.

Bishop continued to wrestle publicly with dismissive views of science-fiction, personally embracing both the child-like wonder of the genre and the literary mastery of its greats. The writers he admired most were those who wrote “what matters to them, and they make it matter to others because their own conviction of its importance inheres—even glitters—in every word.” He said that in his own moments of considering other paths, it would strike him how blessed he was to be “doing something that matters.”

Universally in those remembering him, he is spoken of as kind, empathetic, a teacher. The best of men. If in his work, he did something that matters, it is clearly also true in his life.

Former SFWA Director-at-Large, Kelly Robson adds, “Mike’s body of work is unmatched in our field. His stories and novels are humane, uncommonly intelligent, linguistically playful, and deliciously inventive. He was a generous, welcoming soul, and we are sadly impoverished by his loss. ”

Author Patrick Swenson also contributes, “I only met Michael once, but in emails and phone calls, we probably made up for it in the last 13 years when my book company Fairwood Press worked to get 14 of his books into or back into print, starting with his monumental Brittle Innings and ending with his Nebula Award-winning book, No Enemy but Time. He was one of our best speculative fiction writers, and a truly kind human being. There haven’t been many like him to pass this way.”

Michael Bishop lived 78 years.