Dispatch from the Razor's Edge, the Blog of Michael Stephen Fuchs
The Passing of the Hitch
"It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship."
- Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens, a slashing polemicist in the tradition of Thomas Paine and George Orwell who trained his sights on targets as various as Henry Kissinger, the British monarchy and Mother Teresa, wrote a best-seller attacking religious belief, and dismayed his former comrades on the left by enthusiastically supporting the American-led war in Iraq, died Thursday at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was 62.

Armed with a quick wit and a keen appetite for combat, Mr. Hitchens was in constant demand as a speaker on television, radio and the debating platform, where he held forth in a sonorous, plummily accented voice that seemed at odds with his disheveled appearance. He was a master of the extended peroration, peppered with literary allusions, and of the bright, off-the-cuff remark.

He was truly one of my intellectual heroes; and one of my fondest ambitions would be one day to wield anything like his level of intellect, erudition, wit, or moral conviction.

So have a drink tonight to celebrate the remarkable life of a man who truly was as uncompromisingly moral as he was devastatingly, crushingly intelligent. Such a combination was much needed, and will be much missed.

I couldn't over-recommend his memoir Hitch 22, as all of a profile in moral/political/writerly courage, a cracking record of literary London and New York across a few very interesting decades – and a delightful picaresque of hard drinking and razor-clawed piss-taking. And god Is Not Great is much the best of the recent-ish crop of deicidal polemics.

Finally: I've written of him often – though quoted and excerpted him much more, with good reason. Those dispatches here.

I wish this weren't only a very distant second in my losses, of heroes, to vile esophageal cancer. We're facing a bittersweet Christmas holiday, the first with Rich gone from our sight (but not from our lives).

  hitch     pops  
close photo of Michael Stephen Fuchs

Fuchs is the author of the novels The Manuscript and Pandora's Sisters, both published worldwide by Macmillan in hardback, paperback and all e-book formats (and in translation); the D-Boys series of high-tech, high-concept, spec-ops military adventure novels – D-Boys, Counter-Assault, and Close Quarters Battle (coming in 2016); and is co-author, with Glynn James, of the bestselling Arisen series of special-operations military ZA novels. The second nicest thing anyone has ever said about his work was: "Fuchs seems to operate on the narrative principle of 'when in doubt put in a firefight'." (Kirkus Reviews, more here.)

Fuchs was born in New York; schooled in Virginia (UVa); and later emigrated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lived through the dot-com boom. Subsequently he decamped for an extended period of tramping before finally rocking up in London, where he now makes his home. He does a lot of travel blogging, most recently of some very  long  walks around the British Isles. He's been writing and developing for the web since 1994 and shows no particularly hopeful signs of stopping.

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