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Lawrence Santoro (1942-2014)

Monday, July 28th, 2014 | Posted by MichaelPenkas

Larry and his wife, Tycelia

Larry and his wife, Tycelia

Lawrence Santoro passed away this past Friday. He was a two-time Bram Stoker nominee: once for his novella, “God Screamed and Screamed, Then I Ate Him,” in 2001; again for his audio play adaptation of Gene Wolfe’s “The Tree Is My Hat” in 2008. Two collections of his short fiction, Just North of Nowhere and Drink for the Thirst to Come, provide a great overview of his fantastic work. For the last two years, he’s hosted the horror fiction podcast series, Tales to Terrify.

Those are the highlights, the reasons why a casual reader of Black Gate might recognize Larry’s name. But I’ve been living and writing in Chicago for the last ten years and so I knew him for other reasons. Larry often read at local open mic events and was a fixture at some of them. Larry had a background in theater and he brought all his skill and that amazing voice to every performance. No microphones were ever needed when it was his turn to read and his larger-than-life performances were perfectly suited to the nightmarish tall tales; imagine if Lake Woebegone had a dark side and you’d get an idea of his fictional town of Bluffton. Tony C. Smith at Tales to Terrify provides a nice tribute to Larry, including a previously-unreleased performance by him.

There’s a brief overview of the amazing life Larry led before he ever wrote so much as a poem. At reading events, he was always encouraging other writers to keep writing, as well as offering advice on where to get their stories published. While Tales to Terrify has featured a number of big-name authors, Larry also made certain that it featured at least as many fledgling writers.

Larry leaves behind not just an impressive body of work, but a writing community made stronger by his presence and saddened by his passing.

4 Comments »

  1. Thank you for this, Michael. I’m glad I got to work with Larry and wish I could have gotten to know him better.

    Comment by Mike Allen - July 28, 2014 12:03 pm

  2. Thanks, Michael. I’m not sure I was ever introduced to Larry, but I’m sure we crossed paths here in Chicago once or twice. I wish I’d had the opportunity to get to know him.

    Comment by John ONeill - July 28, 2014 12:43 pm

  3. Very sad to hear about this. I only met him over email, after he picked up one of my stories for TALES TO TERRIFY, but we were in touch a few times after as well, and he was always gracious, friendly, and professional.

    And yes, I was downright jealous of his speaking voice.

    Comment by markrigney - July 28, 2014 7:47 pm

  4. I met Larry and Tycelia at a World Fantasy Con a few years back; they invited me to share a table with them in the food lounge. We hit it off over supper talking about Lanesboro, the town that is the basis for Bluffton and where I lived for several years. Larry gave me his contact information and…I never got around to contacting him. I thought about it periodically, but in the busy-ness of life I always thought, “Later.” This sad day is another unwelcome reminder that, sooner or later, there is no later.

    Or, to quote an earlier radio personality (which Larry would greatly appreciate): “It … is …. later … than … you … think.”
    –Arch Oboler, Lights Out radio theater

    Comment by Nick Ozment - July 28, 2014 8:20 pm


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