Gene Wolfe, it was announced today, will be recognized with the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. The award will be presented next year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at their annual Nebula Awards banquet.
I’m pleased for Wolfe, of course, although I did wonder why it had taken SFWA this long to recognize one of the giants of science fiction and fantasy.
There are three principle lifetime achievement awards in the field: the SFWA Grand Master Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the World Science Fiction Convention Guest of Honor. Until today only 10 people have been the recipient of all three. Gene Wolfe becomes the eleventh person. He was the Worldcon Guest of Honor at Aussiecon Two in 1985, and he won the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1996.
The triple winners are an interesting group of people. Some that might be expected, such as Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, Fritz Leiber, and Jack Vance. There are only two women on all three lists (Le Guin and Andre Norton), which is sign of where we’ve been but hopefully not a sign of where we are headed on gender issues.
There are some major authors who were overlooked by all three acknowledgements of lifetime achievement: Philip K. Dick, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree (Alice Bradley Sheldon) for instance.
Gene Wolfe chosen as SFWA Grand Master