The 2002 Seattle Mariners season sputtered to an inglorious conclusion on September 26, when the Anaheim Angels beat the Texas Rangers to clinch the American League playoffs' wild-card slot. The M's, holders of baseball's all-time best regular-season record last year, collapsed in this season's August and September, thanks largely to hitting slumps and ineffective starting pitchers (particularly the erratic James Baldwin). Division rivals Oakland and Anaheim, meanwhile, soared during those weeks. The result: An M's team many had predicted to easily win the AL West instead found itself ousted from the playoffs (albeit in the regular season's final week). One highlight of the season: the opportunity, whenever new M's star Desi Relaford scored a run, to rousingly shout "Hey Loo-cy, I'm hooome!"

Robert Lull Forward, 70, was a physicist and self-described "future technologist." He worked at Hughes Aircraft in California from 1956 to 1987. While there, he received 18 patents for various technological devices, and wrote research papers pondering such esoteric topics as antigravity devices and matter-antimatter propulsion. His first invention, a bar antenna designed to detect gravitational radiation in space, is now in the Smithsonian Institution. During and after his Hughes tenure he also ran Forward Unlimited, a consulting firm specializing in space-propulsion systems and advanced physics research. In 1992 he moved to Seattle and cofounded the Lynnwood-based Tethers Unlimited, Inc., designing "space tethers." The firm's website describes a space tether as "a long cable used to couple spacecraft to each other or to other masses, such as a spent booster rocket, space station, or asteroid." (The company also supplied mainframe computing services to other companies.) He also wrote or cowrote 11 "hard science fiction" novels between 1980 and 1997, plus a dozen or so short stories. All of them involved human characters interacting with what he called "biologically feasible non-humanoid aliens." British reviewer Susan Stepney wrote that Forward "excels at weird alien physiologies. In Dragon's Egg he gave us small, ultra-dense, fast living creatures on the surface of a neutron star; in Rocheworld it was strange liquid creatures in the joint sea of a double planet." Fellow author Greg Bear called him "one of science fiction's most imaginative authors and the most consistently amazing." He also wrote nonfiction books. One of them, Indistinguishable from Magic, alternated short stories with essays on the scientific realities behind such sci-fi concepts as time machines, faster-than-light travel, and space warps. Forward wrote his own obituary notice for the professional groups to which he belonged. It begins, "The intelligent pattern of protoplasm that had been Robert L. Forward ceased coherent operation on Sept. 21, 2002." Forward died at his Whidbey Island home from brain cancer.