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Anthologist Martin H(arry) Greenberg Dies

By Ian Randal Strock

Anthologist Martin H(arry) Greenberg died 25 June 2011, after a long battle with cancer. Born in Miami Beach, Florida, on 1 March 1941, he received four genre lifetime achievement awards, including SFWA's Solstice Award, the Bram Stoker award, the Milford Award in science fiction, and the Ellery Queen award in mystery.

Greenberg earned his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1969, and then started teaching there. He retired as a professor of political science in 1996. Beginning almost at the same time as his teaching career, he started putting together anthologies. Later, he would found Tekno Books, a book packager which is responsible for nearly 150 books a year.

Just before his retirement, Inside, UWGB's magazine, wrote "Greenberg said he stumbled upon the idea for his first anthology in January of 1970. Patricia Warrick, a peer at UW-Fox Valley, asked the 28-year old Greenberg to lecture on the future of politics to her freshman Liberal Education Seminars (LES) for older returning adults. 'I noticed that one of their textbooks was science fiction, and I offered to come back and give a lecture about science fiction. I did. And as I was going out the door, Pat said, "Did you ever think about combining your interest in political science with your interest in science fiction?" That was a career-changing comment.'

"That chance exchange resulted in Greenberg's Political Science Fiction, a textbook that used science fiction stories to illustrate political science concepts, edited in collaboration with Warrick. Later, Greenberg's expertise helped lead to the development of a cable network devoted exclusively to science fiction. He and his partners later sold the property, now the popular Sci-Fi Channel, to USA Network. His textbook anthologies led to collaboration with Isaac Asimov on popular and best-selling books. Other popular writers soon sought Greenberg's services."

While he was professing, Greenberg was also building his publishing empire. In Inside, he said "The connection (of Tekno Books) to UW-Green Bay is very direct. The University's academic plan in the early days, and its emphasis on interdisciplinarity, allowed and encouraged me to develop unique kinds of courses. If I were in a more traditional institution, I probably wouldn't be where I am now, so there's a debt to UW-Green Bay, at least to its academic plan."

Isaac Asimov would later become one of his most frequent collaborators (the two would eventually share editing credits on more than 120 anthologies). But their introduction got off to a rocky start. As Asimov wrote in his autobiography In Joy Still Felt: "The first time I received a letter from him, I responded by asking cautiously if he were the Martin Greenberg who had once owned Gnome Press. When he answered in a very puzzled fashion that he was not, I urged him to use his middle initial, at the very least, if he had one, if he expected to deal fruitfully with the science-fiction world. (Lester del Rey suggested that he change his name altogether, but I thought that was going too far.) From then on, he signed himself Martin H. Greenberg, and I invariable addressed my letters to him, 'Dear Marty the Other.'"

On Facebook, Mike Resnick writes: "First anthology I ever sold with Marty. We're eating lunch at the 1989 Boston WorldCon, he asks what I'm working on, I say a Teddy Roosevelt novella ('Bully!', which became a Hugo and Nebula nominee), and as we're getting up he says he's off to sell our anthology. I say what anthology? He says Alternate Presidents, with Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 and a bunch of others. I say I didn't know we were talking about one, but since you'll never sell it, I give you permission to add my name to it. Three hours later he hunts me up: 'We've sold it to Tor for a 5-figure advance.' I never doubted him again."

There are significant bibliographies for Greenberg at the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and the Internet Speculative Fiction DataBase. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has an obituary for Greenberg here.

Inside reports that Greenberg was "a member of the Urban and Regional Science faculty, he taught courses in political science and became known as an authority on Middle East affairs and terrorism. He also served as the first director of graduate studies at UW-Green Bay."

The Green Bay Press Gazette says "In addition to his parents, Martin was preceded in death by his first wife, Sally. He is survived by his wife, Rosalind; their daughter, Madeline (Seattle, WA); two stepdaughters from his first wife, Kari Walsh, wife of John Kerkhof, and their daughter, Delenn Kerkhof (Appleton, WI); and Kate Walsh, wife of Matt Hall (Bakersfield, CA)."

Comments (1)

On June 27, 2011, Robert J. Sawyer said: Respond

Marty was, quite literally, a scholar and a gentleman. He will be sorely missed.

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