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Four Funerals and a Birthday

There are, at most, 366 days in the year. And there are over 6 billion people currently living on planet Earth, and billions more no longer with us. So, from a purely statistical point of view, it’s hardly surprising – indeed, it’s inevitable – that many of them will share significant anniversaries.

We at SF Gateway are logical creatures and, as such, completely comfortable with the mathematics of the above argument. Even so, there are times when we look at the fascinating On This Day function on the indispensable Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and wonder at the extraordinary concentration of famous names who were all born or died on a given day.

Take today for instance. The 11th March is the day the late, great Douglas Adams entered the world, in 1952 – a cause for great celebration, surely!  But it’s also the day we lost Lester Dent, the creator of the classic pulp hero Doc Savage (1959); Fredric Brown, one of SF’s first great humorists (1972), master of the cosy catastrophe, John Wyndham (1969) and British author and critic Edmund Cooper (1982).

Of course, there are a great many others who were born or died on this day, but we hope you’ll forgive us not mentioning them all. There are two reasons for this: partly, it’s because the five above are very much in the SF Gateway area of interest, even if not all are SF Gateway authors (yet!), but mostly – we should come clean on this point – it’s because any more and we couldn’t riff off Four Weddings and a Funeral for the title of the blog post, and for all that we are creatures of logic with a profound respect for the history and legacy of science fiction, we’re pretty much helpless before the lure of a good pun . . .