Science fiction writer Eric Kotani has died. His novel The Island Worlds, co-written with John Maddox Roberts and published in 1987, was a finalist in 2016 for the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award.
The name “Eric Kotani” actually was a pen name for American astrophysicist Yoji Kondo, who was born in Japan.
See this excellent obituary in the Baltimore Sun. Some highlights: Kondo wanted to see the world, so he learned Portuguese, which allowed him to obtain a job in Brazil. He eventually moved to the U.S., earning a Ph.D. in astrophysics. He then worked for NASA and held various academic jobs.
When Robert Heinlein asked him questions about astronomy, the two became friends, and Kondo began his second career as a science fiction writer, collaborating with Roberts on a series of novels and also writing a Star Trek novel, Death of a Neutron Star, on his own.