Randall Garrett biography

Garrett

 

 

Randall Garrett

(1927 - 1987)

Received a Bachelor of Science degree from Texas Tech University, did a hitch in the US Marine Corps, and went to work as an industrial chemist in Battle Creek, Michigan, before moving to New York City.

One of the truly prolific Science Fiction writers in the late 50s and 1960s. On two occasions he wrote all of the stories in Astounding SF where he was John W. Campbell's main stable writer for years. (Which was one of the reasons why it was so hard to sell to Campbell, John could be picky with Randy in his pocket.) I once heard a fan complain that he gave up reading Astounding because he never knew who any of the writers were...yeh, he did.

When his father died in Austin, Randy gave up the New York bachelor's life of writer's cramps, fleeting money, nightly bull sessions, and subways to everywhere anyone needed to be. He headed out for Western skies and Texas tea.

Garrett lived in his father's house for a while, met and married Alison (a systems analyst), became involved in local theatre, but soon felt the call of other vibes and moved to California, living in the Bay area and Santa Barbara. Divorce happened, and then a second marriage to Vicki Ann Heydron. His marriage to Vicki brought him back to the Bay area and to writing, more in the novel form than in shorter work. Vicki also became his new collaborator, "Randall never grew up, which was part of his charm. He knew how to play. What amazed me was his ability to correlate instantly - anything new he learned was immediately filed and related to everything else on the same subject, creating a new and richer background for the next fact."

But luck and time had run out. In May of 1979, Randall became ill and suffered brain damage, resulting in loss of memory, primarily recent and minute-to-minute. Vicki took Randall back to Austin in 1980 where his brother, Greer, still lived. By August of 1981, after two years, Greer and Vicki accepted that there would be no recovery, and Randall was hospitalized in a psychiatric facility in Waco, where he died on New Year's Eve, 1987.

ASIDE: I think that Isaac Asimov was the most intelligent man I ever met. But if I had to choose someone for the second most intelligent, Randy would be a possible choice. He liked to eat and drink a little, liked to party, and socialize, wanted to talk about and compete at everything just to show he could. So, often, Garrett was under-estimated by folks who inevitably paid the price for that mistake. He'd always put added spin to something just to prove the point and was the only man in SF who would continually seek to confront Asimov and openly match wits with Isaac. For example: "I fear, by his very goodness, our Dr. Asimov has made himself a bed of roses that he must, perforce, lie in. Any thorns he finds therein were placed there by himself, since none of his friends would think to do so, and he has no enemies."

PEN NAMES: Seaton McKettrig, Darrel T. Langart, Johnathan Blake MacKenzie, etc. (Most were unknown and just as screwy as those preceding, so many that it became a joke. Often he used combinations of his other claimed given names, 'David Phillips', or in combination with other writers, such as 'Robert Randall' with Silverberg. Others with Silverberg are Gordon Aghill, Ralph Burke, Richard Greer, Clyde Mitchell, Leonard G. Spencer, Gerald Vance, and S. M. Tenneshaw (house name also used by Beaumont and others).

Information source: wikipedia

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