Friends posthumously honor sci-fi author

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Traveling across the country to participate in the 31st annual Jack Williamson Lectureship were science fiction authors and friends who gathered Friday at Eastern New Mexico University to continue the legacy left by Williamson.

About 60 people attended a luncheon at the Campus Union Building to hear authors and friends Connie Willis and Rick Hauttmann, and Williamson’s agent, Eleanor Wood, talk about the famed writer.

A panel discussion, “Science Fiction Past and Future: The Williamson Legacy,” followed in the Golden Library.

The topic for the Williamson Lecture was “From Metal Man to Stonehenge Gate: 75 Years of Science Fiction.”

Though it was the first lectureship since Williamson’s death in October, the mood was festive and full of humor, intermingled with memories that were shared of Williamson.

“It’s a real tribute to not only science fiction, but the campus that we can honor Jack Williamson,” said Patrice Caldwell, a former friend and colleague.

“Memories are a pathetic substitute for the real person,” said Willis.

Over the years Williamson brought the world of science fiction to the community of Portales, ENMU and New Mexico, Willis said.
“I think we are very eager to carry on Jack’s tradition,” she said.

Williamson always loved the lectureship and it was an opportunity for him to see and visit with friends, said niece Betty Williamson.
“It’s a nice tribute to Jack to be here and to honor and continue his legacy,” she said.

The lectureships always provided an outlet for Jack Williamson to see and visit with his many friends.

“The future is up in the air for the lectureship,” Caldwell said, but added that a lot of people are in support of continuing it.

Williamson’s niece said he didn’t want to be an imposition, and had spoke while he was alive about discontinuing the lectureship because of the amount of work required by others.

“If we determine if this is what he really wanted, then we will continue,” she said.