December 31st, 2009


Mark Owings

The last day of the year and I just found out that Mark Owings, a Baltimore fan, bibliophile and sfictional historian, died yesterday, of pancreatic cancer. (

I first met Mark in the late 1960s, and he later spent enough hours in my Owings Mills apartment at various BSFS and Baltimore in 80 meetings (and parties and fanzine collations) to add up to days if not weeks. Over the years we talked some about science fiction, about fantasy, about books, editions, authors, and about the minutia of publishing Mark was so fond of. He helped me on a number projects when I was Curator of Science Fiction at UMBC, he supported me when I ran for Baltimore In 80 office, and was often an uncredited general assistant, gofer, and presence at cons in the years when I was an artshow guy, and later, when I was huckstering. We had several ongoing conversations, one that was threaded through Worldcon and major convention consuites, and another threaded through con huckster rooms. He brought books of interest to me to my attention, and gave good advice and contacts on selling some of my rare editions... and had unexpected jokes, witticisms, and ironies to share as well. I saw Mark looking somewhat harried in the dealer's room at BaltiCon this year, and there was a book he was going tell me about. He was taken ill during the con, but it was assumed to be a sugar problem, requiring some rest, and I didn't see him anymore that weekend. I still thought I might see him at an East Coast con in the next months....

And there you have it: some conversations are never finished, some cites never confirmed. Condolences especially to Jul and those who had care of him.