Remembering Bruce Taylor (CW ’71)

Bruce Taylor, aka “Mr. Magic Realism”

Clarion West graduate and instructor Kathleen Alcalá (CW ’87) remembers Bruce Taylor, a fixture in the Clarion West community since the first workshop, held in Seattle in 1971.  

Bruce Taylor, who liked to be known as “Mr. Magic Realism,” was born May 28, 1947 in Seattle, Washington and passed away on August 31, 2022 at the age of 75. An early student at the Clarion West Writers Workshop in Science Fiction/Fantasy, he studied under such writers as Avram Davidson, Robert Silverberg, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Frank Herbert. Bruce went on to found the Magic Realism Writers International Network and collaborated with Tamara Sellman on MARGIN magazine. Author or editor of twenty books of magical realism, surrealism, science fiction, new age healing, hiking, meditation, and bizarro fiction, his work includes Stormworld, a short novel about global warming co-written with Brian Herbert, and the anthology Like Water for Quarks.

Bruce’s fiction was published in The Twilight Zone, Talebones, The Seattle PI, Darke Phantastique, and New Dimensions. His first collection of stories, The Final Trick of Funnyman and Other Stories, received high praise from William F. Nolan, who said that some of his stories were “as rich and poetic as Bradbury at his best.” In 2007, borrowing and giving credit to author Karel Capek (War with the Newts), Bruce published EDWARD: Dancing on the Edge of Infinity, a tale told largely through footnotes about a young man discovering his purpose in life through his dreams. Bruce also served as writer-in-residence at the famed Shakespeare & Company in Paris. 

Bruce was especially visible at Seattle-area conventions in his persona of “Mr. Magic Realism,” in an all-white suit and top hat. This was Bruce’s way of not only drawing attention to his writing, but also introducing himself to strangers. A therapist and meditation counselor at Harborview Medical Center, he took early retirement to concentrate on his writing. He had recently been in ill health.

Bruce leaves behind his partner, cartoonist Roberta Gregory, author of the Bitchy Bitch cartoons. “I know Bruce really appreciated the opportunity to learn from the astounding lineup of Clarion [West] instructors,” she said… “but he was most grateful for Avram Davidson’s encouragement to follow his unique, ‘offbeat’ voice and ‘keep writing it.’ And, as we all know, that is exactly what he did.”

-Kathleen Alcalá (CW ’87)

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