Posts Tagged ‘In Memoriam’

Farewell, Jay

1 Comment » Written on June 1st, 2014 by
Categories: News
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Farwell, Kevin

No Comments » Written on November 27th, 2012 by
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I’ve only just learned that Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. left us earlier this month. He was 61.

I first met Kevin through his fiction. If you haven’t read his McGill Feighan books, you’re in a for a great treat (assuming you can find them).

I read and was consistently delighted by Kevin’s work, book after book. Then, years later when I finally met him at a Nebula Awards Weekend I found myself suddenly going all fanboy and gushing my appreciation. Not surprising, Kevin was gracious and charming.

I’m a better writer for having read his work, and a better person for having had even those few brief instances of speaking with him.

Farewell, Josepha

No Comments » Written on August 25th, 2012 by
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The internet is full of heart felt remembrances of Josepha Sherman, as word of her passing ripples through websites and social media.

I can hear her voice so clearly in my head, see the glint of wit and mischief in her eye. How can she be gone?