Philip Klass and William Tenn, RIP

February 8, 2010 at 5:15 pm 4 comments

Former Penn State English professor Philip Klass—best known to generations of science fiction fans by his pen name, William Tenn—died Sunday at 89. This obituary in the Centre Daily Times gives a good sense of what made Klass and his work so memorable and influential; among the writers touched by his guidance are David Morrell ’67 MA, ’70 PhD Lib (best-selling author of First Blood among many others) and Steven Levy ’74 MA Lib, who today penned this terrific tribute on Wired magazine’s site.

Quick update: Our editor, Tina Hay, found a link that we just had to add to this post — a profile of Tenn from a 1973 issue of The Penn Stater. No, none of us were here then (although that is the year I was born…) and therefore cannot take credit or blame for the psychedelic art work. It’s a fun read.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

Entry filed under: University Park. Tags: , , , , , .

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Laurie Mann  |  February 9, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I’d also recommend the excellent obituary in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by book editor Bob Hoover:

  • 2. yogahz  |  February 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I took a class from him back in the 70’s for English credits. It was Science Fiction and is one of the classes I still talk about. My condolences to his family.

  • 3. The New York Times on William Tenn «  |  February 15, 2010 at 8:50 am

    […] 15, 2010 Senior editor Ryan Jones noted last week the death of Philip Klass, who taught at Penn State for more than two decades and who also wrote […]

  • 4. Craig Evans  |  February 17, 2010 at 6:26 am

    I took Klass’ SF Literature class at Penn State in 1983. For our final exam, we were to critique two of the novels or short stories that we’d read during the course of the semester. I noted that his “Brooklyn Project” violated Newton’s 3d Law, for which I received an “A” and the comment that it hadn’t been often that anyone had pointed that out concerning his “nearest and dearest” (his words to me).
    It’s one of the courses that I look back on and realized how it has affected the content and depth of much of my reading over the past 25 years.

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