Bud was a Firesign Theater fan, but I don’t think the title of their album applies here, so I’ve altered it — Bud’s _not_ on his own in the next world; he took the love and respect of a whole lot of people with him as he departed this one.
Bud Webster left our world this weekend. To me, he was a giant of counter-culture lore. When I first arrived in Richmond, VA, in 1983, a college freshman who knew the world only through comics and sci-fi, Bud was there, a fixture of the scene and a font of wisdom on, well, just about any topic there was, period. He’s most known as a historian of sci-fi, its writers, its paperbacks, and its fandom, but he was also an acknowledged sage about music and — according to the Library of Congress — a go-to expert on Frank Zappa.
He was funny — very funny — and witty and a damn good guy to know. I am having trouble imagining the world without him in it. It’d been years since I’d seen him, but I always assumed we’d get together sometime when I passed through Richmond. It won’t happen now, and that makes me sadder than I can express.
Bud was foundational in the broadening of my world view. I’d wander into Memory Lane Records and chat, learning not just about odd old albums (did you know Milton Berle did a cover of Yellow Submarine?) but about sci-fi, politics, and the local scene. Later, we finally got him into a game, a fantasy RPG. Of course, he was witty and fun and a center of gravity for our game night.
I can’t leave out Mary here. She was among the first people I’d met in Richmond and it was a great pleasure to see her and Bud become a couple — and to have them both at game night. Mary, my heart goes out to you. I miss you; it’s been too long since I’ve seen you. Don’t go anywhere.
Every time Bud had a new work published, whether it was a Bubba story in Analog, or a book about Past Masters or vintage paperback collecting, I’d buy it. They were gems, every one of them.
I am pleased and beyond proud to claim that I was the first editor to commission and publish a piece of Bud Webster fiction. It was a short story about werewolves, part of the Werewolf: the Apocalypse roleplaying game setting, in the book “Drums Around the Fire.” Of course, Bud did the unexpected, and wrote about a werewolf Rabbi. Most expectedly, however, his tale exhibited his great sense of humor.
Some of you reading this didn’t know Bud. You are poorer for it. You can read his work, though. Some of it’s online, and you can check out his wikipedia entry for more leads, and some of it’s available on amazon.
Goodbye, Bud. Fly, ranger, fly.
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