Fare thee well, friend of those seeking something worth reading. Word came today that you departed earth on January 27. Perhaps the essence of you is speeding toward Mars, of which you wrote so eloquently in the December 2008 issue of National Geographic. In describing the various science fiction writers who wondered about Mars, your unfailing humor remained intact, as if you were far below on earth, wryly observing middle class moirés.
“Following Burroughs, pulp science fiction, brushing aside possible anatomical differences, frequently mated Earthlings and Martians, the Martian usually the maiden in the match, and the male a virile Aryan aggressor from our own tough planet.”
In Due Considerations (Essays and Criticism), you wrote in a section titled “This I Believe” that “Cosmically, I seem to be of two minds,” i.e. the scientific, and the religious side of our collective selves, the latter manifested in art and altruism, idealism, and joie de vivre.
You wrote this at age 73, three years ago. On my bedside stand is a copy of Due Considerations. When the heaviness of time presses in on me, I read from it before drifting off. Your words comfort.
I haven’t yet picked up your final novel, The Widows of Eastwick, but be assured I will. Have a safe trip Mr.Updike.