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Jim Baen dies

30/06/2006. Contributed by Jessica Martin

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US pioneer of science fiction publishing passes away from a stroke.

The following comes from Jim's Wiki bio. Rest in peace, old friend.

James Patrick "Jim" Baen (October 22, 1943 - June 28, 2006) was a noted science fiction publisher and editor. He started his publishing career, appropriately enough, in the complaints department of Ace Books after stints in the Army, at CCNY, and in Greenwich Village in the 1960s working as the manager of a folk music coffee shop (a "basket house").

Baen was Judy-Lynn del Rey's replacement as assistant editor at Galaxy Science Fiction. He later succeeded Ejler Jakobsson as editor of Galaxy and If in 1974, after a brief trip back to Ace to be assistant Gothics editor. While at Galaxy he published such authors as Jerry Pournelle, Charles Sheffield, Joanna Russ, Spider Robinson, and John Varley, and was nominated for several Hugo Awards. He returned to Ace to head their science fiction line, working with publisher Tom Doherty.

When Doherty left to start Tor, Baen shortly followed and started the SF line there.

In 1983 he had the opportunity to start his own independent company, Baen Books, distributed then and now by Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster, and being enabled in part by release from a long-term contract by his long-term friend Doherty. Baen Books has established a large readership, publishing books by authors such as David Weber, John Ringo, Eric Flint, David Drake, Lois McMaster Bujold, Elizabeth Moon, Mercedes Lackey, Larry Niven and many more.

Baen frequently edited anthology series, trying to combine the feeling of an anthology and a magazine. Among these efforts were Destinies (Ace, 1978-81), Far Futures (Baen, 1985-6), and New Destinies (Baen, 1987-90).

Baen was very active on the baen.com website, "Baen's Bar," where his interests in evolutionary biology, space technology, politics, military history, and bad puns are discussed along with science fiction.

Baen started an experimental web publishing business called webscription.net and also the Baen Free Library. These innovations earned him a certain amount of respect in the technological community. Webscriptions is generally considered to be the first ebooks-for-money service whose product completely lacks encryption and in fact is available in a wide range of formats, and one of the first e-book publishing services that was profitable.

In late 2005 Baen announced a new online magazine for science-fiction short stories, which was originally named Baen's Astounding Stories. After concerns over trademark infringement with Dell Magazines (publisher of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, which was originally titled Astounding Stories), he announced it would be renamed Baen's Universe. The magazine, edited by Eric Flint, published its first issue in June 2006, with a number of prestigious authors (including David Drake and Timothy Zahn) slated to write stories for it.

In 2000, he was the editor guest of honor at Chicon 2000, that year's Worldcon.

Jim Baen's UNIVERSE logoBaen suffered a massive bilateral thalamus stroke on June 12th, 2006, and died on June 28th, 2006.

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