Extremely sad to have to report that the death has been announced of Charles R Saunders, creator of Imaro and founder of the sword & soul sub genre of fantasy.
It is my opinion that Saunders constituted the single most talented and important discovery of the entire 1970s fanzine culture. Back then he regularly produced stories of inestimably greater substance than the flimsy periodicals that they often appeared in. And those stories have proven highly influential and indeed inspirational to subsequent generations of black fantasy writers and everyone else who simply values high quality sword & sorcery. But uniquely Saunders' triumphs were not solely confined to the past. In the last decade he published highly regarded new novels such as DAMBALLA and ABENGONI and in collaboration with Milton Davis produced the GRIOTS anthologies which gave impetus to the POD fantasy culture which is the natural inheritor of the fanzine tradition.
Saunders' premature demise is a profound and irreplacable loss. At the moment it is little consolation to note that he leaves behind a legacy which is not only undeniable but equally substantial. But in time I hope his family, his friends and his fans will take some solace in it. I am going to try to.