Mike Aquilina

The Passing of a Mentor

Tuesday February 09th 2010, 11:12 am

One of my great mentors and benefactors died yesterday at age 89. The newspapers identified him this way: Philip Klass, Major science fiction writer in 1940s, 1950s. When I was nineteen years old and quite undeserving, Phil awarded me the internship that turned into my first job in the publishing industry. He was a man of great wit, great accomplishments, and tremendous integrity. Please remember him and his family. I can never repay the debt I owe him. Whenever there are meals on my family’s table, he helped to put them there. The day he offered me that internship, I had no idea where I was going in life. He picked me up and placed me on the road I’ve walked ever since. Read his books. His satirical fiction deserves the praise it has received, and it deserves still more. I’m pleased to have published one of his nonfiction works — a powerful essay that moves from his experience liberating the death camps at the end of WW2 to his arrival in the strange world of liberal academia in the 1960s. That piece appears in this book.

He ranks prominently among my “Fathers.” Thus I’m categorizing this under “patristics.” May he rest in peace.