(1922 - 2002) American science fiction author, critic, and founder of the SFWA
As a fan, critic, writer and above all editor Damon Knight had a huge impact on science fiction. He was a fan from an early age, in his teens travelling from his home in Oregon to New York, where he was to become part of the Futurians, a group of fans and writers which included the young Frederik Pohl and Isaac Asimov among many others. Later Knight would write an acclaimed book-length memoir of this period, The Futurians. He was a prolific writer and wrote many short stories during the fifties and the sixties including `To Serve Man' which was memorably adapted for the Twilight Zone television series. He also wrote the occasional novel from A for Anything in 1961 to Humpty Dumpty: An Oval in 1996. He was perhaps the first critic of science fiction to treat the subject with due rigor famously demolishing A. E. Van Vogt's The World of A in his first published essay. His reviews were collected into In Search of Wonder, for which he won a Hugo Award as best Book Reviewer in 1956. Also a biographer, Knight wrote a biography of Charles Fort among others.
In 1965 he founded the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), and served as its first president. With Blish and Judith Merril, Knight co-founded the Milford Science Fiction Writers' Conference in 1956, which ran for over 20 years, and inspired the more famous Clarion Writers' Workshop.
He was however most notable for his work as an editor, especially the Orbit series of original anthologies starting in 1966 to Orbit 21 in 1980, which helped launch the careers of several major writers including Gene Wolfe (who in turn dedicated the classic The Fifth Head of Cerberus to Knight), R.A. Lafferty, Kate Wilhelm and Gardner Dozois.
Knight won a Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association in 1975, and a Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1995.