Challenge,  News

Just Be Safe

This Isn’t That Hard, Folks…

Just don’t go out unless you need to, wear a mask when you do, wash your hands all the time, and just stay six feet away from everyone.

Right now a person is dying from Covid in the States every 35 seconds. And it is going to get much, much worse shortly because of all the people who traveled at the American Thanksgiving holiday and those who just had family and a few friends over, no big deal, right? Sigh…

In a few weeks, before Christmas, we will be losing the same number of humans we lost in 911 every day.

Kris and I just lost another friend to Covid. Ben Bova, former editor of both Omni and Analog, died from Covid. Ben was a good guy, really smart, fun to have great conversations with. Over the decades I can’t begin to count the numbers of wonderful meals or drinks in the bar and great conversations I had with Ben. Or how many panels I sat next to him on.

I would never call him a close friend, but he was a friend. Kris and I couldn’t remember the last time we saw him, since he lived in Florida and we are out west. But it has been a good ten years plus. One of the things that happen when you grow older.

I can bet anything Ben didn’t do anything stupid to catch Covid. He was very smart and followed science. But someone around him, some careless person, more than likely thinking it would be all right, gave it to him, and since Ben was 88, he stood little chance of recovery.

Right now I know of more than a dozen friends, friends of friends, and students who are dealing with Covid.

Folks, this isn’t hard. Wear a mask and refuse to be around or even in the same room or area with anyone not wearing a mask. Be militant, or as I am when faced with mask-less stupidity, I am a loud asshole. I am 70 and I don’t want someone’s stupidity killing me or Kris. I have found a grocery store that is as militant as I am about masks and safely shields and keeping shoppers six feet apart. So that store is my one trip out each week.  And other than take-out once in a while, we never go in a restaurant.

My hope is to survive until I get a vaccine, and then I will still wear a mask and stay away from others for a long time to come.

So thanks, Ben, for all the great conversations over the decades. You were a great influence on how I treat young writers with respect and you didn’t deserve to go out because of someone’s stupidity. I’m going to do my best to not follow you. At least not soon.


  • Alix

    So sorry to hear about your friend, Dean. He sounds like a wonderful guy. So much terrible loss, and still winter to get through before the vaccine really starts to roll out. We’re doing pretty much the same as you and Kris, and hoping its enough to keep ourselves, and others, safe until we all come through the other side of this.

  • Mark Kuhn

    Back in 1975 I bought Ben’s book, “Notes to a Science Fiction Writer”. I still have it. I bought that book around the same time I bought L. Sprague DeCamp’s “Science Fiction Handbook”. Over the years reading Ben’s fiction was always time well spent.

  • Bonner Litchfield

    Sorry to read about Ben Bova’s death.
    I’ve read a couple of his novels. Also his writing book entitled The Craft of Writing Science Fiction That Sells. Really stresses heaping problems on the character.

  • Connor Caple

    Sorry to hear about Ben.

    I was re-reading his “Craft of Writing SF that Sells” last month. Some great stories from that guy over the years.

    We’re being just as militant as you are, Dean. Far too many non-masking idiots around.

  • richard schneck

    Sorry to hear about Ben. He wrote one of my favorite books on craft. I reread it every now and then.

    The infuriating thing is that it was almost certainly preventable.

    I am appalled at how many people in the country seem to care only about themselves, and won’t even do the simplest thing to be considerate of others.

    I hope that somewhere down the line that changes. I think it wasn’t this bad a few decades ago, but maybe there was just nothing going on to make it obvious.

    In any case I am old enough to be as nervous as a long-tail-cat in a room full of rocking chairs. So I am as vigilant as I can be. I like to think that if this sort of thing had happened when I was twenty-something that I would have done what was necessary to protect others.

    I have always liked people, and try very hard not to kill them. (But maybe that’s just me)