Jordin Kare

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(October 24, 1956 – July 19, 2017)

Jordin and Mary Kay Kare, Boskone 37, 2000. Photo by Laurie Mann.

Jordin Kare was a physicist, fan and filker who lived on the West Coast and was married to fellow fan Mary Kay Kare whom he met at Denvention Two.

Jordin was co-editor of the filk songbooks The Westerfilk Collection and Westerfilk II, and co-founder (with Teri Lee and Catherine Cook (now MacDonald)) of filk publisher Off Centaur Publications, which was inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame in 1995. Jordin recorded two albums of his filksongs, "Fire in the Sky" (1991) and "Parody Violation: Jordin Kare Straight and Twisted" (2000). He also was a co-founder of the BayFilk filk convention, serving on the first three BayFilk committees.

Jordin was also known in fandom as a rocket scientist, who helped bring fannish dreams of travel to other worlds closer to reality. He sometimes wore a t-shirt that read, "Actually, I am a rocket scientist." Jordin went to MIT as an undergraduate "because the hero of Robert Heinlein's novel Have Spacesuit, Will Travel went to MIT." He received a Ph.D. in astrophysics from U.C. Berkeley in 1984. He worked in satellite and space system design for many years, first at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, and later at his own company. He worked with Nathan Myhrvold.

Jordin was a leading proponent of laser-based rocket launching, first proposed by Arthur Kantrowitz in 1972. In this technology, the energy source for rocket propulsion comes from ground-based lasers rather than the chemical potential energy of traditional rocket fuel. Having the energy source on the ground makes it possible for the rocket to be lighter. This is the subject of Jordin's song "Kantrowitz 1972 (HEL Crew's Song)".

Shortly after the shuttle Columbia tragedy, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, on live TV, attempted to read the lyrics to Jordin's song "Fire in the Sky", which celebrates manned space exploration. Aldrin was overcome by emotion, and could not continue. "Fire in the Sky" won a Pegasus Award in 2010 as the "Best Classic Filk Song".

Jordin's first convention was Boskone 12 in 1975. He was a frequent convention panelist on space and science topics. His laser launch technology has featured in several SF books, including The Quiet Pools by Michael Kube-McDowell.

Jordin Kare also appears as a character in several SF books and series, primarily as a result of various charity auctions. He appears as an astrophysicist in War of Honor by David Weber, and he and Mary Kay, appear as themselves in The Callahan Touch by Spider Robinson.

Jordin died on July 19, 2017, following surgery attempting to replace a defective aortic heart valve. He posthumously won the 2017 Pegasus Award for Best Writer/Composer.

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Person 19562017
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