Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Science Fiction Birthdays

Asterix and Obelix
René Goscinny

Today is the birthday of René Goscinny (August 14, 1926 - November 5, 1977), author of the comic book series Astérix, following a village of indomitable Gauls as they resist Roman occupation. Goscinny was born in Paris but grew up in Buenos Aires. After the death of his father, he and his mother moved live with his uncle to New York. To avoid US military service, Goscinny returned to France and joined the French army in 1946, becoming an army illustrator. His first illustrated book, Returning to the US, he became friends with future MAD staffers Will Elder, Jack Davis, and Harvey Kurzman, and became art director for Kunen Publishers, writing children's books on the side.

He met the cartoonist Morris during this period, and starting in 1955, began a collaboration as writer of the series Lucky Luke, which he would continue until his death. Returning once again to Paris in 1951, he met his future Astérix partner Albert Uderzo and co-founded the Edipress/Edifrance syndicate. He worked on numerous projects, including Signor Spaghetti with Dino Attanasio, Monsieur Tric with Bob de Moor, and Prudence Petitpas with Maurice Maréchal. His first collaboration with Uderzo, Oumpah-pah, ran from 1958 to 1962.

Astérix first appeared in 1959, and 34 volumes have appeared since, with total sales in excess of 325 million copies. One of the most popular and beloved Franco-Belgian comics in the world, it has been translated into over 100 languages, adapted into 14 films, turned into numerous games, and even a theme park, Parc Astérix, near Paris. 

Lee Hoffman

SFFY cover by Steve Stiles
Lee Hoffman (August 14, 1932 - February 6, 2007), is perhaps best known as an author of Westerns, wining the Spur Award for her 1967 novel The Valdez Horses, which became a movie starring Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland. But she is also a beloved figure in science fiction circles, from her early days as a fanzine editor (Quandry, which ran from 1950 to 1953), where she was initially thought to be male — an understandable mistake given the overwhelming ratio of males to females in the science fiction community of the time. (Legendary Irish fan Walt Willis, upon learning the truth, immediately called Bob Shaw and shouted, "Lee Hoffman is a girl!")

She was married briefly to science fiction editor Larry Shaw, becoming assistant editor of his magazines Infinity Science Fiction and Science Fiction Adventures while also publishing her folk music fanzines Caravan and Gardyloo.

In addition to her seventeen Western novels, she wrote four science fiction novels: Telepower (1967), The Caves of Karst (1969), Always the Black Knight (1970) and Change Song (1972), and numerous short stories.

Brannon Braga

Star Trek:Enterprise
Television producer and screenwriter Brannon Braga co-created Star Trek: Enterprise and worked on numerous other properties in the Star Trek franchise. His other science fiction work includes Terra Nova, Threshold, and FlashForward. He also worked on the series 24 in its later seasons.

Miscellaneous Birthdays

It's also the birthday of Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Doc Holliday, Lina Wertmüller, David Crosby, Steve Martin, Danielle Steel, Gary Larson, Halle Berry, Magic Johnson, and Tim Tebow.

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