Posts Tagged ‘In Memoriam’

Farewell, Richard

No Comments » Written on February 24th, 2017 by
Categories: News
Richard Hatch

I only just learned that actor Richard Hatch (shown here as a Klingon in Prelude to Axanar) died on February 7th. He was 71.

Back in March of 1999, I was in Sydney, Australia as the guest of a convention called BEST OF BOTH WORLDS 5. William Shatner was headlining the convention, but also on the bill were Richard, Robin Curtis, and me.

Bill was staying in a separate hotel from the rest of us, but I spent a lot of time hanging out with Richard. Highlights included watching the Oscars in his hotel room and listening to snarky stories about various nominees.

The three actors had been in Sydney for a day doing press, but I only arrived late in the afternoon the day before the convention was to start because I’d just flown in from New Zealand where I’d spent several days opening a Star Trek exhibit at the national museum in Wellington.

Richard, Robin, and I were the honored guests at a special banquet in the hotel. I’d met Robin before at another con and we got along quite well, so our hosts put us at the same table. Richard was oof at another table, holding court. Because of the timing of things, Richard and I hadn’t even been introduced yet, and when Robin and I sat down at our table I remember her telling me “not to start anything” with Richard at dinner.

No one told Richard though, so he started it.

Over the course of the next hour, we took turns playing a series of jokes on one another. He took my dinner away when I wasn’t looking. Then, while he was up from his table and talking to someone across the room, I removed his place setting and chair, and had everyone at his table shift so the round of eight became a round of seven and it was like he’d never been there. In retaliation, he had a member of the hotel staff come up to me to inform me I had phone call from the states, and that I could take it downstairs at the front desk. I rushed down, only to find a note in bad Klingon that basically said “ha ha, we got you.”

When I returned to the banquet room Richard was grinning. I told him how relieved I was that the call was a fake because my father was very ill (which was true) and the only reason someone would be calling me from the US would be to tell me he had died. Richard stopped laughing, and we sat down and began to chat.

I asked him why he’d started in like he had, when we’d never even formally met. I will never forget his answer. He said, “Lawrence, you just looked like someone who would be fun to play with.”

And, on the last night of the con, after everything was over, we went out drinking. I don’t usually drink, but I got drunk that night, and Richard and I wandered around Sydney harbor singing show tunes.

Goodbye, Richard. Thank you for the memories. You were fun to play with.

Farewell, Eugie

No Comments » Written on September 28th, 2014 by
Categories: News

I just learned of the death of Eugie Foster.

Like so many, I just assumed she would win her fight. And now she’s gone and our community is dimmer as a result.

Go tell someone you admire how you feel. Go share a book that you like with someone who’s never known that author’s voice. Embrace and encourage other writers, and always remember to pay it forward.

Goodbye, Eugie. You will be missed.

Farewell, Jay

1 Comment » Written on June 1st, 2014 by
Categories: News
Jay Lake and Harry and Lawrence M. Schoen and Barry

Word has at last arrived, as we all knew it would, of the passing of Jay Lake.

There’s no shortage of words out there about his battle with cancer — the vast majority of them written by Jay himself — and I have no doubt that today and in the days ahead the community of SFF authors and fans will be awash with remembrances and tributes to his humor, his generosity, his spirit, and the way he chose not just to live his life, but to these last few years in particular.

Jay was my friend. I’ve noted in the past that Jay and I both came up through the ranks of new authors on The Rumor Mill boards, that he did a stint as my editor and publisher, and that I returned the favor. I had the privilege of being his confidant on a few occasions, both before his illness and during it. I sent the man a spoon from Philadelphia. I stood alongside him at the Nebulas last year and though neither of us left with a pretty award, I took the opportunity to give him his own plush buffalito.

And last summer, in the midst of the Worldcon, I had my last face-to-face conversation with him on the floor of the Dealers’ space, somehow surrounded in our own bubble of privacy amidst the throng of people there. We brought each other up to date on events in our lives and our respective plans moving forward. He asked after my wife, Valerie, and I inquired about his daughter. And then, in a roundabout way that I imagine he’d had far too much practice with, we said our final goodbyes.

I began preparing for his passing that day, acknowledging the inevitability of it in part and trying to deny it in another. Some emails continued to go back and forth, some of it personal, some of it business, always with both spoken and unspoken pain. Looking back on it today, I know that any sense of preparation was really just pretense.

My friend is gone and I shall never know the joy of his company again. But I will conjure him up many, many times in the time to come, sharing anecdotes with other authors who knew him and others who did not. As I type this, my thoughts are brimming over with stories that begin something like “and then there was the time when Jay…” and I know there will always be an audience for those tales, and always a willing storyteller to share them.

Jay made it known that he did not believe in religion, nor any afterlife once his time here ended. My own thoughts on the matter are much less clear, and my writing is full of ideas about the continuation of the essence of people long after their passing. Not soul, per se, as I don’t know what that word even means, but a piece of who they were, the best of what defined them, lingers. Surely I have that with me now, as I think of Jay.

The weary struggle of these past months has come to a close, for Jay, for his family, for others whom he loved and who loved in as well. I’m sad, but I’m also smiling as I think of him, and I realize my one regret is that we’ll never get to share momos together.

Goodbye, Jay.

Remembering Runyon

1 Comment » Written on December 12th, 2013 by
Categories: News
Tags: ,

The Sky's The Limit

I meant to do this a couple days ago, but… Life.

So, I’ll do it today instead. Tuesday (i.e., two days ago) marked the anniversary of the death of Damon Runyon, newspaperman, short story author, and (as I recently learned) one of the architects of modern roller derby.

Runyon wrote about New York’s Broadway. He died in New York, but he was born in Manhattan, Kansas (i.e., the “little Apple”).

When I was in high school, the drama department put on a production of Guys & Dolls, and I’ve had his characters’ voices running around in my head ever since. Eventually, this led me to write a pastiche, “The Sky’s The Limit,” which was published in All Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories.

I recently installed a “Contact Me” option on my website. As my way of paying respect to Damon Runyon, if you “contact me” in this way and include your email address and the format you need (ePub or mobi), I will send you an ebook of the story. The offer expires Sunday night, December 15th.

Farewell, Ann Crispin

No Comments » Written on September 6th, 2013 by
Categories: News

Hard on the heels of the loss of Fred Pohl, word comes today that Ann Crispin has died. It was just over a month ago, when I dropped in at Shore Leave, that I saw her last.

I knew Ann as an author of Star Trek novels, a tireless workshop-runner, and more indirectly as a crusader for beginning authors over on the WriterBeware site.

The world has become dimmer with her passing. I will miss the generosity of her spirit.

Farewell, Fred Pohl

No Comments » Written on September 2nd, 2013 by
Categories: News

Word has come that Frederik Pohl died earlier today, at the age of 93.

Years ago, when I was attending James Gunn’s writers’ workshop, I had the great pleasure to have dinner at the University of Kansas’s Faculty Club. Present were James Gunn, Kij Johnson, Chris McKitterick, Betty Hull, and Fred Pohl. The conversation was witty and bright, the food quite good (it was the first and thus far only time I’d ever tasted “pheasant under glass”).

I’d met him once or twice before that, back when I lived in Chicago, right after I’d started the Klingon Language Institute, most notably at one of the first conventions where I spoke about Klingon.

His contributions to the field of Science Ficiton, as author and editor, cannot be overstated. But I’ll always remember him as the fellow sitting down the table from me when I was eating my pheasant.

Farewell, Neil Armstrong

No Comments » Written on August 27th, 2013 by
Categories: News
Michael R. Underwood

The club has gotten a bit smaller.

On August 25th, Neil Armstrong, the first human being to set foot upon another world, left this one for the final time.

I was ten years and one week old on the day he walked on the moon. Everything changed then.

Thank you, Mr. Armstrong, for your service to this country and your inspiration to the world.

ETA: Well, I have a year’s worth of egg on my face this morning as it’s been pointed out to me that Neil Armstrong’s death occurred about this time in 20121 Obviously I missed the news then, and somehow only heard about it today and took it to be current. My apologies if my idiocy has offended anyone.

This is Fifty-four

No Comments » Written on July 27th, 2013 by
Categories: News
Tags: ,

Another year has ended. It’s been a pretty good one, all in all. But this next one… it is going to be beyond anything I have ever known. Some things have happened that I can’t quite go public with (probably in another week or so), but it’s fair to say that my entire life will be changed.

So do make a point to drop in and visit from time to time, as I’m going to have some great stories to tell. Oh my, yes!

I’m spending the day away (though not far) from home. In addition to being my birthday, today is the third and final full day of the Klingon Language Institute’s 20th annual conference, what we call the qep’a’ cha’maHDIch. Its been incredibly fun and tiring. We’ll round off the festivities tonight with a pizza party and cabaret (in Klingon, of course), which will go on into the wee hours of the morning. Check out time at our hotel is noon on Sunday, and by then we will scatter to the winds for another year.

Meanwhile, on th =e west coast, my friend Jay Lake is hosting his own wake. I’m sorry I can’t be there to share in the celebration of his life, but I’ve written up a little something for the book that is being presented to him today. If I had one birthday wish, it would be to give Jay more time, but that doesn’t appear to be likely to happen. We saw one another last in May at the Nebula Awards weekend, at which time I presented him with his own plush buffalito (whom Jay immediately named Harry).

Lake and Schoen, Nebs 2013

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go prepare for a day of discussions and wordplay in a fictional alien language. Highlights today will include a field trip to an area historical site, massive amounts of singing, and our version of the classic game show, Password, all in Klingon, of course.