The obituary gives a fine overview of Jack’s remarkable career. He was the pre-eminent geologist for much of the land that John Wesley Powell first surveyed in the nineteenth century. Powell later established the United States Geological Survey, where Jack worked for his entire professional career. Sadly, the obit does not mention the work he did on his father’s books — designing a faux national forest for Fire, then mapping it; doing photography for US 40; and helping with field research at “Sheep Rock.” A modest man, Jack did not publicize these contributions to literature. But it is important to share this part of his distinguished legacy. It is also important to note that, like his father and mother, Jack chose public service over a potentially lucrative private career. In doing so, Jack, like many of his and my generation, modeled an excellent example of working virtuously for the public good.
At the moving conclusion of Earth Abides, Ish hands his Hammer to Jack. In the same way, when George R. Stewart died, he left the Hammer of Ish to his son, Jack. That symbolic act shows the importance of our friend and colleague, Jack Stewart.
This link will take you to the new Facebook page which contains updates about the George R. Stewart biography. If you’re a Facebook regular, you can find book updates and other news on the new pages. Now you’ll have two ways to follow the progress of the book.
The Life and Truth of George R. Stewart: A Literary Biography of the Author of Earth Abides is scheduled for publication in June or July of 2012. It can be pre-ordered at Amazon.
George R. Stewart began his epochal Ordeal by Hunger by describing northern Nevada from a position in orbit 200 miles above Earth. This, in 1936, 24 years before any human had seen or photographed it. As always, Stewart was a ranger of the mind, looking out over the next pass to see what could be seen. The CONTACT conference also does this, and here’s a good article about that conference.