Greg Baer, the Seattle science fiction author who played a leading role in defining how audiences around the world saw the final frontiers of the future, died Saturday of complications from heart surgery.
Astrid Behr, the 71-year-old writer’s wife, said he died peacefully at a Seattle-area hospital. “He was not alone,” she wrote in a message to friends.
Born in San Diego, Greg Baer published his first novel in 1967 and began writing full-time in 1975. He wrote more than 50 books, including several award-winning series, a Star Trek novel and a Star Wars novel, as well as a trilogy. takes place in the Halo video game universe. His last novel, The Unfinished Land, was published last year.
Bear’s influence on the science fiction community extended far beyond the written page: He was one of the founders of San Diego Comic-Con International and served as president of the Science Fiction Writers of America, now known as Science, for two years. Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association. Bear has been a guest on podcasts and talk shows, including The Daily Show, and once appeared as himself in the comic strip Funky Winkerbean.
Bear, who moved to the Seattle area in 1987, also had an impact on his adopted home. He was a member of the team that created and organized the Washington State Centennial Time Capsule. And GeekWire contributor Frank Catalano recalls that Bear introduced the late software billionaire Paul Allen, a contact who helped found the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, now part of Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture.
Tributes from friends and admirers highlighted Lāčas’ personal as well as public contributions over the decades. “Greg the man was a friend,” tweets sci-fi icon Harry Turtledove. “Writer Greg was quite remarkable.”
Bear was best known as a writer of “hard” science fiction—stories based on the implausibility of science and technology. For example, in the 1982 novel Strength of Stones, Lācis presented a world in which cities ruled by artificial intelligence rebel against their creators. And in his War Dogs trilogy, Bear gives leading roles to private space companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
“I took the private events forward and called the Mars colonists the Muskies to pay homage to Elon’s dreams, if not to what the reality would be,” Bear told Catalano in a 2017 GeekWire interview.
During this interview, Lācis said that he was satisfied with his science fiction career.
“I don’t think any writer is ever happy with the attention we get, but I have very few complaints.” he said. “My books have been read by people I read as a teenager, and when I found out, it just knocked my socks off.”
Bear said there is still plenty of opportunity to turn his stories into new adaptations for a new generation. For example, his first published story, The Destroyers, in 1967, was about people who signed up to kill what they hated. At the end of the story, readers realize that the narrator is being hunted by someone who has signed up to destroy the fighters.
“That was my 16-year-old concept of the future,” he told Catalano. “And I think it’s a good HBO show today.”
Greg Bear is survived by his wife, Astrid Anderson Behr, and two children, Chloe and Alexandra.
This report is based on information from Greg Baer’s online biography.