(A selection of my Kit Reed collection. Left and Right cover info below. Center cover: Peter Andrew Jones, 1978)
Today I learned on twitter that Kit Reed (1932-2017), one of my favorite SF authors, passed away back in September. Although I only had infrequent conversations with her via twitter, her charm and intelligence always showed through. Her most recent novels included Where (2015) and Mormama (2017) for Tor. I, of course, know her best for her 50s-70s short fiction and Armed Camps (1969), her single SF novel published before the 1980s.
I first encountered her work in her delightful collection Mister Da V. and Other Stories (1967). I described her first published SF story, “To Be Taken in a Strange Country” (variant title: “Wait”) (1958), as a disturbing fable of “the coercive powers of small town life […].” The most compelling story in the collection, and perhaps the best piece of Reed’s fiction I’ve encountered so far, is “At Central” (1967)–a tale of overpopulation and media saturation…. what you see on the TV can be purchased and delivered to you immediately with a click of the finger! Her stories often satirized consumerism, war, and societal perceptions/conceptions of women.
And do not miss SF novels….. A quote from my review of Armed Camps (1969): “Kit Reed’s first SF novel […] is all about characters constructing narratives and conjuring visions in order to keep the aphotic tides of societal disintegration at bay.” Highly recommended!
I will miss Kit Reed and her powerful visions.
If you have any favorite Kit Reed related novels/stories/memories/tangents/ thoughts/ruminations/reflections I’d love to know in the comments!
List of my previously posted reviews
Novel: Armed Camps (1969)
Collection: Mister Da V. and Other Stories (1967)
Her SF encyclopedia entry
Her bibliography via Internet Speculative Fiction Database
A Selection of Covers
(Richard Powers’ cover for the 1971 edition of Armed Camps (1969), Kit Reed)
(Vincent Di Fate’s cover for the 1973 edition of Mister Da V. and Other Stories (1967), Kit Reed)
(Alexander Wilensky’s cover for the 1981 edition of Magic Time (1980), Kit Reed)
(James Webb’s cover for the 1st edition of Enclave (2009), Kit Reed)
(Stéphane Dumont’s cover for the 1983 French edition of Magic Time (1980), Kit Reed)
(Uncredited cover for the 1970 edition of Armed Camps (1969), Kit Reed)
(Frederick Porter’s cover for the 1st edition of Fort Privilege (1985), Kit Reed)
(Alexander Wilensky’s cover for the 1st edition of Magic Time (1980), Kit Reed)
(Joseph Reed’s cover for the 1st edition of Little Sisters of the Apocalypse (1994), Kit Reed)