Ian Randal Strock

Yoji Kondo (1933-2017)

I’ve just found out that my friend Yoji Kondo died on Monday. We hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, but his wife, Ursula, is still a fixture at Balticon.

Yoji was born in Japan in 1933, emigrated to the US and earned his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. He worked at several NASA centers as a project manager and in various other positions. He also taught at a number of universities. He took us on a wonderful private tour of the Goddard Space Flight Center when he was the Director of the NASA International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) satellite observatory.

He wrote science fiction as Eric Kotani, including a half-dozen novels (mostly co-authorships) and a bunch of short fiction. He also wrote non-fiction for science fictional publications, including SF Age and Analog. And I had the pleasure of publishing one of his pieces, “You Can See Forever from the Moon,” in the second issue of Artemis Magazine. Actually, that one piece has the distinction of having the greatest number of co-authors of anything I published in that magazine: he co-wrote the article with Ronald J. Oliversen, Wendell W. Mendell, Peter Chen, and Yervant Terzian.

In addition to his intellectual pursuits, he was a teacher of judo and aikido, with sixth-degree black belts in both.

He is survived by his wife, Ursula, their three daughters, and three grandchildren.

(The attached picture is a not-very-good shot of me accepting Stanley Schmidt’s Robert A. Heinlein Award from Yoji in 2012.)

SFWA obituary: http://www.sfwa.org/2017/10/memoriam-dr-yoji-kondo-k-eric-kotani/

Locus obituary: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/10/yoji-kondo-aka-eric-kotani-1933-2017/

Yoji’s isfdb bibliography: http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?670

{Edited October 14th to add:} Link to his full obituary (read it; he was truly a fascinating man): https://obittree.com/obituary/us/maryland/glen-burnie/simplicity-cremation–funeral-services-thomas-allen-pa/yoji-kondo/3210082/