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Anne McKinley phoned me this afternoon to let me know that our mutual friend Scott Speake quite unexpectedly died over the weekend.


We all knew each other through our book club. Anne sent this e-mail to our discussion group:

I have just been informed that Scott Speake, one of the founding members of the Octavia Books Science Fiction Reading Group, has passed away.

Scott was apparently complaining of a cold and took to his bed on Friday. Hearing no movement on Saturday or Sunday, Scott’s landlords checked on him only to find that he had passed away.

As a dedicated early member of the group, Scott was enthusiastic in his recommendations for “spaceship and rayguns” books and hard sci-fi. He loaned out books from his large library of science fiction old and new, and was a voracious reader.

Notices are expected to be in the paper Monday. Services and remembrances of Scott will probably be on Wednesday morning from 10-11 at Schoen Funeral Home on Canal Street. Scott is survived by his mother, who resides in Birmingham.

Anne says he was “one of the founding members,” but actually I consider him the founding member. The club started in the summer of 2001 as Scott’s idea. All I did was show up. In fact, at that first meeting it was just Scott and me and James Conrad, I believe. (It was through James that I learned of the meeting.) Scott was the most reliable member of the club, up until some point a couple years ago when he quit coming for mysterious reasons we never did understand.

Scott was quirky like that. He still kept in touch with Anne and me. He read this blog regularly, and he would surprise me from time to time by popping up at events where I didn’t expect him, like that first Geek Dinner. Here’s a picture of him talking to Sophmom.

This just seems very unreal to me.

They say death comes in threes. Olivia’s brother (also from Birmigham, strangely enough) makes one. Milo makes two. And now Scott makes three. Anyway, that’s how I’m counting it, because I don’t want to lose anyone else just yet.

Update: From today’s paper, Scott’s death notice:

Scott Lovell Speake

SPEAKE Scott Lovell Speake, a Board Certified Tax Attorney and a CPA, passed away on Friday, June 20, 2008 at the age of 59. He is survived by his parents, Mary Louise Lovell Speake of Birmingham, AL and Harold Layman Speake of Moulton, AL and a sister Ruth Louise Speake of Greeley, CO. Mr. Speake was born in San Francisco, CA, grew up in Birmingham, AL and had been a resident of New Orleans since 1979. Mr. Speake graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and earned a law degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, also in Birmingham. Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Memorial Gathering at Schoen Funeral Home, 3827 Canal Street at N. Scott, on Wednesday, June 25, 2008 between the hours of 10:00 A.M. and 12:00 Noon. Guest book may be signed online at

Published in The Times-Picayune on 6/23/2008.

Published inFriends


  1. Anne Anne

    Sorry about that. Glad to know definitely that Scott was the guiding founder of the group. I wasn’t sure when I wrote that if Scott was the originator in full of the group; but he certainly was very dedicated. I think I showed up at the second meeting of the club, and Scott immediately tried to talk me into picking three books, which I didn’t want to do. Wasn’t the “three books on a theme” set up, which we still follow, Scott’s idea?

  2. David David

    My condolensces. Reading about Scott’s creating the group reminds me of New Orleans’ greatest asset is the creativity of her citizens. It’s just such a shame.

  3. Yes, the format for the book club was also Scott’s idea. He picked our first three books and then suggested we take turns doing the same. Here we are seven years later still doing it that way. Obviously I enjoy the club a great deal or I wouldn’t have stuck with it so long. It occurs to me that the club is really an enduring gift from Scott.

  4. Frank Schiavo Frank Schiavo

    What a shock. I didn’t even know he had been sick. It is such a shame. Scott was suich a sharp wit with a brilliant mind. I remember he and Editor B made me feel right at home my very nervous first time at a club meeting.

  5. Tony Tony

    Sad to know he’s gone. Never got to know him real well but his intense interest in the genre helped sustain my interest and thus attend a few book meetings. Rest in peace Scott.

  6. Bart, I’m so sorry for your loss. The link to the pic reminds me of how wonderful it was to first meet all y’all (IRL), and to continue in your fine company. Thanks. You’re in my thoughts.


    I’m sorry I never got to know Scott well even after years of running sci-fi cons. My encounters with him were when he was sitting on his front porch reading when I went to visits my friends who were his next door neighbors. We got to know him better these last 2 years after Katrina. I’m sorry for the loss of your friend.

  8. […] in this case, my friend already left. And wherever he is now, he won’t be needing his file cabinets or his shoes or his pipe […]

  9. […] We select our books by a simple method which was established by our club’s founder, the late Scott Speake. Each person takes a turn selecting three books on a theme. Given the current size of our group, […]

  10. […] then we’ve been through an awful lot, including the flooding of our city as well as the death of our founder. But we’re still going, stronger than ever in […]

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