Farewell, Mike Resnick

I don’t have any pictures with Mike Resnick. This is because our acquaintance and elbow rubbing at cons dates back from when all our pictures were in actual paper.

Which is to say, I PROBABLY have pictures with Mike Resnick, but our box of pictures (I know, other people put them in albums) hasn’t surfaced since we moved. (It’s probably in the storage room or the garage. I want to find them before mice or flood get them, so we can have them digitized for the kids.)

Weirdly, the moment I heard he’d died, the first thing I thought is that I’d never got to keep my promise to belly dance for him.

Which is stupid, because unless I lose another thirty pounds (hey, it was eighty early last year) no one wants to see THAT.

But finding he’d died was a shock, and people think weird things when shocked.  I knew he was very ill, but I had no clue of the gravity of it. This is happening a lot these days, because you know, in a way the science fiction world has fractured. Part of it is politics which have torn asunder what used to be a network of acquaintance and friendship. I personally have lost a lot of the first friends I made among my colleagues who now think I’m insane, while I can’t figure out where their logical thinking went. I mean, I knew we always disagreed on political principals, but that’s not the same as disagreeing that everyone should have what my friend Dave Freer calls “a fair go” and be treated decently.  This broke a lot of long running mailings lists where pros communicated.  The other part of it has been SFWA beclowning itself to the point that most of us walked away in disgust. SFWA used to be, if nothing else — and it really was very little else, since SF geeks never could figure out how to make it work as a professional organization, partly due to the weirdness of the business itself — a good mailing list/reference to figure out “where so and so is now.”

Of course, when I sold my first novel in 98, we relied on the pony express for communication, so we might not know someone had died till the new edition of the directory listed his properties as “estate of.”
The other part of losing track of everyone has been the (good) collapse of the gatekeepers. These days I might not know of a major seller, even in my favorite subgenre, until I get one of his/her books and realize they have twenty out and their reviews run into the mid-hundreds.

It was easier to form mailing lists and associations of writers when every break-in was announced in Locus.

Actually when I first broke in, I was almost immediately pulled into a mailing list with a lot of professionals, including — of course — Mike Resnick. Very cautiously and tentatively, we used the list to communicate which publishers not to trust, how someone had got shafted and also what publisher x was looking for this season.  Cautiously and tentati

I’d met him in person before. I believe it was at my first Worldcon, Dan and I went to a launch party, and right now I can’t remember for which book.  He’d had a lot of t-shirts, shorts and other swag printed with the cover of the book. They were free for the picking, and I got a shirt and Dan got a pair of shorts, and Mike, good humored, signed them.  Which is why they’re still in (a different box of) keepsakes, in my closet.  As he finished signing them, Dan — who is the more normal of the two of us and is sometimes afflicted with a sense of property said — “I wish I’d brought a bag. When we get in the elevator, people are going to think we undressed you.”  Which of course got Mike laughing and explaining he never signed his own clothes.  One conversational gambit led to another, and I told him I was taking belly dancing classes to lose pregnancy fat.  He had belly dancers at his party and was amused with the idea of a writer who also belly danced, so he said next party I’d have to dance.

I’m sure some of the idiot younglings are clutching their #metoo stuffed dolls at the remark, but it wasn’t in the slightest lecherous. He just gathered I was shy about dancing in public, but wanted to, and was trying to do what he could to encourage me.

Health, and hypothyroidism putting weight on me made me give up the hobby. As did the fracturing (though not precisely breaking) of the friendship with the person who shared the hobby. (Um…. I’m ten pounds from the weight at which I can comfortably run, though of course I want to, running being addictive. Maybe belly dancing might be resumed.)

I’ll just note that as recently as five years ago, Mike did the same thing encouraging me to write/start a series that I was very scared of doing because “people will hate it” because he KNEW I really wanted to do it and would never forgive myself if I didn’t. (No, I haven’t yet. Some of you know it as “WWI dragons series.”  It will come. The health means a lot of things got shelved, and even at an insane pace, I can only write so much. Even now that I’m writing. Don’t worry. I have a schedule.)

Anyway, I’d of course read Mike. In fact he had a whole shelf of our sf book case.  He was one of those writers Dan found, then passed to me. I knew he was brilliant writer.

Which is why it came as a surprise, in the list we were at, to hear him speaking frankly on such things as “make a fortune first, then work at your field. Not only can’t you really make a living from writing at least at first, but it will give you the security to write whatever you want.”

Honestly, if I didn’t have the kids and there weren’t some issues with the only means by which I could make enough money to be “rich” — scientific translation — that was at the time only really available in certain areas of the country, for instance, I SHOULD have taken his advice.

But when we break in, of course at the back of our brains, no matter how unacknowledged, we know we’re going to hit science fiction like a freight train and everyone will bow down to our brilliance, and we’ll be sleeping on a bed of gold.

Without really ever smacking my young and impudent nose, Mike made sure I — and other beginners — knew through his stories that there were accommodations that needed to be made to be a professional sf/f writer.  He was frank about at one time having written uh…. salacious stuff (yeah, I’m totally a prude. Actually I don’t want to go into details) and being paid by the line.  He also made it clear that the lot of even the best seller in our weird niche field was to spend his or her time “running scared.”  Because you never knew whether the next book would sell, or even if this amazing thing in your head would interest any editors enough to be published.

He was kind, unstinting with advice, and treated the raw newby I was as a seasoned professional.

What stands out to me is a dimly remembered conversation in which someone asked if he’d made his fortune before writing, why writing? and why SF?

And the answer was because he loved it. Because he needed to.

He hasn’t been dead very long. I still feel a little shocked. I’d have written this earlier, except that stomach flu made it hard to write coherently.

In my favorite Don Camillo books by Giovanni Guareschi one of the… devices? is that when the priest is going to hear something particularly distressing or enraging, G-d in his mercy strikes him down with a fever, so he can’t process things, and once he emerges the feelings are muted.

I might have emerged too early. The same insane harpies who had to smear Mike Resnick while he was alive — mostly because they wanted control of the SFWA bulletin and organization — were out and spreading their scat on the man’s reputation yesterday. I won’t name them, since their foremost quality is to be entirely forgettable, even in villainy.

They won’t harm Mike. He’s now in the same company as Heinlein, whom they’ve been vilifying in vain for years.  Heck, he’s in the same company with Tolkien, whom they’re also trying (poor fools) to cut down to size.

Their problem, you see, is what I said above. We all come into the field thinking we’re the bestest thing since sliced break with the bestest butter.  And slowly we learn the limits of our talent and our ability, and our will power that keeps nose to grindstone.

I had some idea, to be fair, because I’d read a lot in the field. My rational mind knew I’d never be one of the giants, but that’s okay because I knew giants existed.

I think these younger people come into the field without reading much of it, and lacking mentors like Mike to teach them that “rapid enrichment” cannot be your measure of success. Sure, it happens to a precious few, but for most of us, when it happens is after 20 or more years of slogging.

And it can’t be immediate acclaim. That too has to earned.

So, the children who know no better corrupt institutions to gain “power” and “recognition” and police everyone’s language and thought to ensure they have “respect.”  As in the case of most people who demand respect they don’t even understand what it is or where it comes from. And their takeovers are always an instance of confusing the wrapping for the gift.

Mike…. was the real thing. The wrapping doesn’t matter.  And no matter how much they try to cut him down at the knees, he will loom to generations of science fiction readers as a giant whose shadow cannot be avoided.

Yes, I know it is my age, but it also perhaps the “diminishing” of the field in character and personality.  I feel as though all the stars are going out, and all that’s left are we, poor candles, insufficiently pushing back the darkness.

I won’t say we will not see his kind again. After the great technological upheaval our field will settle in new patterns and there will mentoring, mentored, and people who worked so hard to break in that they love the field as much as Mike did.

But that won’t be for a long while.  And none of them will ever replace his memory as writer, editor and mentor.  His example remains something we’ll all have to measure up against.

Those who step up have a chance of growing in stature, to the limit of their ability.  Those who, by reviling him, think they’re making him smaller, will in the end only succeed in defeating themselves.

Farewell, Mike. I’m glad I got to know you and benefit from your wisdom and advice and your reminiscences of the field. They were particularly precious for someone like me who grew up in a completely different culture and came into the field with no real attachments or contacts.

If there’s an ever after and such things are allowed, I’ll procure a belly dancing outfit. Or whatever it is on that side. Perhaps it is showing you some new and startling world that I really want to help create but I’m afraid to.  Who knows? (I just don’t believe the capacity to create will be utterly snuffed out. Or that Himself would want such an outcome.)

Meanwhile, while on this side, I’ll try to remember how you encouraged me and draw courage from it. And I’ll try to live up to your example of dedication and love for the field.

It’s a promise.

103 thoughts on “Farewell, Mike Resnick

  1. other people put [pictures] in albums

    I always found it space and cost efficient to store them on rolls of undeveloped film.

    1. I was cleaning out some drawers and found two rolls of black and white film. My wife had shot it in Hawaii in the late 1960s. I sent it off to be developed circa mid ’90s. It looked like some kind of fungus had grown over some of the pictures, but most of them turned out okay. Well, other than the ones pointing into the sun…

    2. Growing up taking pictures has never been that big in my family. Daddy’s father took excellent travel pictures, the kind of things you would see professionally published. But family snapshots and the like? Not so much.

      I got married. The Spouse wasn’t much more into pictures than I was, so, eh. When The Spouse and I went to London we took some pictures — which are somewhere in a box. We became more serious about it with the birth of The Daughter. Photography once again dropped out of our universe when all we got were pictures of her palms and fingers reaching for the camera.

      1. The other day we were at the zoo and there were parents of a toddler following the kid around with a camera. Every step filmed….
        Dan and I have a small box (like half computer box size) of pictures of our 34 years together.
        Dan’s dad was a photographer and obsessive about it. Dan realized all his memories of childhood involved his dad taking pictures and NOT doing the thing along with them.
        We tried to photograph one of our weekends in Denver a year, mostly the boys, because we sent those to the grandparents for Christmas (since the nearest grandparents were in Ohio, seeing the kids was more once every five years.) I’d like the kids to do that for us when grandkids are around. but other than that? GO HAVE FUN WITH THE LITTLES.
        That’s all.

        1. There is definitely a happy medium there somewhere. Hopefully we are ones who achieved it. Although son is a bit camera shy, rolls his eyes. Come to think about it, so are the cats & dog 🙂

          Most of our pictures are slides, which are a lot harder to “do something with”. We have some organizations, but we’re not the type to haul them out to show. Never have been. Hubby’s organizing them, again. Once he has I’m sneaking the pets & the kid ones over to Costco to be digitized. Then maybe do what we did for son for Christmas with digital pictures of his cat that we just lost. For hubby’s birthday. Maybe some of the more “Oh wow” wildlife pictures …

      2. I believe that every time your picture is taken you lose a little piece of your soul.

        How better to explain the denizens of Hollywood* and the Selfie culture?

        *Yes, Michelle Williams, with your boast that murdering your unborn child is justified by winning a Golden Globe award. Why Michelle, it profits a woman nothing to give her soul for the Oscars… but for the Golden Globes?

  2. Part of the issue is that to be “good” we must also be saints. And we ain’t saints.

    Side note: Apparently G.K. Chesterton was trying out various Christian churches when he decided to convert to Catholicism—because someone stole his umbrella out of the entryway. And he realized that church held a place for sinners like him, instead of the “we must be holy to come” Anglican churches he’d visited.

    May we all have such humility when it comes to speaking of other people.

    1. As the old hymn put it, “If you wait ’till you are better/ You might never come at all.”

      It’s funny, how the actual saints weren’t the perfect creatures that modern pundits associate with sainthood. They had *gasp* backstories! And real lives!

      1. That right there is a flat *frightening* thought. The overcoming of faults is the very process by which we become decent human beings and not an embarrassment to our families and the people we’ve come to respect. It’s all well and good to be nothing but naked appetite and produce little of substance but faeces when you’re little and cute. Far less so when your adult teeth have done grown in.

  3. Skipped most of it, for now.
    HOWEVER: Know This.
    I am NOT big on dragons (nothing against them, just.. not fascinated). NOR am I big of WWI (with the possible exception of the music that resulted…) AND YET… write that series../..those stories. What I saw so far was interesting! Yeah, even for me.

    1. Hmm. That’s a rather unbiased attitude of an ox about dragons…

      OT – just now caught up with your own blog. I hope that you are behaving yourself, sir, after your trip to the body shop! Although I have not encountered a liquor bottle that weighs more than five pounds (at least not one that I don’t immediately move to the “parts cleaner” shelf).

      1. It is now past the time I was told limit my moving or lifting and also to avoid submerging (bath, swim, etc.) so that’s no longer a direct problem. Having been relatively idle during that time, however, means that it’s taking a while to fully “spin up” again.

        Things seem to have been successful. That I have a low resting pulse rate seemed to be a bit of a curiosity (though not a concern as it doesn’t bother me). I picked up an oximeter for myself and have found that the thing buzzes in complaint when the pulse rate drops below 50 beats per minute.

    2. Oxen and dragons tend to be diametrically opposed (see Chinese astrology). There are stories I could tell, but they’re my wife’s. She’s the Irish/Danish Viking melange with the cultural affinity for traditional Chinese culture.

      1. Well, there is that old tale about the outcome of when Babe the Blue Ox met the Great Feathered Serpent when he accidentally grazed over the border into northern Mexico.

  4. My favorite Mike Resnick memory is of a small local con I attended many years ago. I had just done a panel on shared worlds. I was on the panel because of involvement in a series that shall remain unnamed. Mike Resnick was on it because, well, he’s Mike Resnick.

    After the panel I’d retreated to the Con Suite for a snack and something to drink. A bit later, I find I’m sitting at the same table with Mike Resnick. A few minutes later we’re chatting and…here’s Mike Resnick, one of the giants of Science Fiction, giving little old nobody me career advice. This included “here’s the person you need to talk to at ___ publisher” and other things.
    As soon as we were done I opened up my palm device (this was before I had a smartphone or laptop computer) and jot down notes from our conversation.

    He was a great man, kind to nobody’s like me. He will be missed and remembered long after the wokescolds very names are forgotten.

    1. I met Mike Resnick a couple of times during my three trips to WorldCon. But I suspect this memory was from another convention.

      In any case, there he was telling stories. The only one I remember was of the time he had been to a con and saw too many fluffy unicorns. So when he came home, he wrote an article: Hunting the Savage Unicorn with Gun and Camera. And sold it to a hunting magazine.

      A memory like this, which have stuck with me for twenty years, is to be treasured.

  5. Without really ever smacking my young and impudent nose, Mike made sure I — and other beginners — knew through his stories that there were accommodations that needed to be made to be a professional sf/f writer.

    For whatever reason, this called to mind a scene from the film Lady Bird when Saiorse Ronan’s character has just given up (unsatisfactorily) her virginity, only to be crushed to learn that her partner, with whom she thought she had a “special” relationship, has been with six other girls. He nonchalantly reassures her, “You’re gonna’ have so much unspecial sex in your life.”

    Sadly, people do need to be told that their dreams are unlikely to come true, because those dreams are not based on known reality. Those able to break that news gently are to be blessed i this world and, one hopes, the next.

    1. Saoirse Ronan was very happy to be able to be the one crushing the relationship dreams of that actor in Little Women. I think it gave her a nice sense of completion.

      (BTW, I was a Catholic schoolgirl in Sacramento who went to the same drama program as Greta Gerwig, so Lady Bird is one of those movies with SO many references that other people might miss.)

  6. I think I may have read some of his work in the pulps in the dark ages, but honestly I cannot say for sure. But, from what I have seen from you and a handful of others whom I follow and respect, a light has gone out of the SF/F world.

    My condolences to you and his family and friends.

    1. Perhaps. But I can assure you, you have quite definitely read things that were inspired by things he wrote, and by writers he advised, directly, or indirectly. Mike got around, as they say. *chuckle*

  7. They try to stand atop the fallen giants in hopes others will think them bigger than they are.
    little, little people
    small of heart and mind, big only in ego
    R.I.P. Mr Mike.

    1. No, they try to rip the giants down to be smaller than they are. Standing on the shoulders of giants is honorable and proper. To these people honor is just a word.
      As an aside, last night I watched Pen & Teller’s Fool Us
      for the first time. This is the only show that I have ever seen that relies upon the honor and the acceptance of the honor of the judges. The contestants trust that when Pen & Teller say that they did not fool them, they did not fool them. It was also notable that the contestant that did fool them got a “F U” trophy.

      1. They are not atop the shoulders, but dancing on the corpse in hopes no one notes they were not the ones that brought down the giants. Carrion eaters and even ghouls have far more honor than these noisy sots.

      2. re: Penn & Teller’s Fool Us

        Honoring one another’s “tricks” is part of the tradecraft in that profession … and we’ve no way of knowing what occurs off-camera; if a practitioner disputes Penn & Teller’s analysis I am sure they can debate it in private.

  8. Know nothing of the guy, but may he rest in peace.

    I personally have lost a lot of the first friends I made among my colleagues who now think I’m insane, while I can’t figure out where their logical thinking went.

    Disagree+ existing minor discomfort over disjoined degrees of being allowed to be weird around other geeks+ guilty discomfort over that= “clearly, they are nuts.”
    Like the evolutionary advantage of shunning those who don’t groom or dress “Correctly,” it lets you identify folks who may be a threat. False positives are a *****.

  9. Unrelated, folks, that elderly (Sorry, Paul) veteran I’ve mentioned a few times before is finally getting some help from the VA as far as something besides an appointment in six weeks, but he’s at home, with a back injury and some embarrassing health issues that means he can’t really take care of himself physically, and has to get enough to keep going another two weeks or so until they can help him get a cheaper place to live; if you’ve got a few dollars he could really use the help.

    https://paulinhouston.blogspot.com/2020/01/why-should-you.html

  10. Only met Mike Resnick once, briefly. Did not connect. Read a few books, was not a fan (other than Santiago, which I love). BUT from when he got hit with one of the leftarded hoorahs, I had this thought: here’s a man who does his best to be fair and reasonable, even under assault, but does not surrender. So he gained my respect, and I’m sad that he’s gone.

    ===

    Wait, our hostess belly-dances? *swoons* And it’s always best when there’s a little extra to jiggle…

    The most fun I ever had at a con was two hours of a passing belly dancer doing a hallway performance, accompanied by a friend’s digeridoo. OMG……

    1. It wasn’t until this comment that I realized that I’d actually read Resnick–but! “Soothsayer”! I wasn’t yet at the point of noticing authors when I read it, but that one’s managed to stick with me all this time regardless. I’ll have to start those again. 🙂

    2. Met a lady years ago at the RenFaire that was belly dancing – while very visibly pregnant. Of course, her husband was part of a “New Age Celtic” band that wore his kilt properly. Madcaps all…

      1. I was taught, years ago, that belly dancing was developed as a way of helping women through pregnancy, an idea which has a certain intuitive credibility; any effect of arousing husbands is mere benefit.

        I think it was Peter Ustinov who made the argument, while on the Carson Show couch … and just before he demonstrated the art.

        Not Peter Ustinov. Not Safe For Watching anywhere …

  11. “(I just don’t believe the capacity to create will be utterly snuffed out. Or that Himself would want such an outcome.)”

    https://www.poetryloverspage.com/poets/kipling/when_earths_last_picture.html

    When Earth’s Last Picture Is Painted
    1892

    L’Envoi To “The Seven Seas”

    When Earth’s last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried,
    When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died,
    We shall rest, and, faith, we shall need it — lie down for an aeon or two,
    Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew.
    And those that were good shall be happy; they shall sit in a golden chair;
    They shall splash at a ten-league canvas with brushes of comets’ hair.
    They shall find real saints to draw from — Magdalene, Peter, and Paul;
    They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all!

    And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame;
    And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame,
    But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
    Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They are!

  12. Just FYI, I’ve always had an interest in WWI. Part of it was because everyone else was interested in WWII, and I just had to be different. But I’ve also been fascinated by the stark transition between “the long summer” of 1914 and the world that emerged in November 1918 when the war was over…

    1. This one is upside down and sideways, because we’ve always shared the world with sentient dragons.
      I do have a more alt. history one where there are shifters. And yes, I always had interest in it, too.

    2. I loved The Great War on youtube, and still watch the WW2 channel though Sparty pissed me off a while back in discussions on Between Two Wars, with the shopworn “Nazis are not socialists because. . . . reasons!” (reason being the left supported them, until that made them look bad, then they had to find a reason why they aren’t REALLY socialist at all to try and save face and ignore history) so I just walked away from support. Yeah, other than big gov’t, socialistic gov’t social programs and calling themselves socialist, sure, nothing socialist about them.

      1. They weren’t socialists because the jailed non-Nazi socialists. Sort of like how the New England Patriots aren’t a football team because they do their best to beat up on non-Patriot football teams.

        1. I mean, I’d go with “not real socialists because they co-opted the factory owners instead of killing them.” Still were running a command economy, though, which is what “public ownership of the means of production” actually boils down to.

      2. The National Socialist Workers Party was not far enough left for the out-and-out communists, so that makes them right-wing. Isn’t it obvious?

  13. A beautiful and moving eulogy.
    .
    .
    But now I’m trying to come up with something *less* addicting than running.
    Being stabbed thousands of times with needles? (shrug) I’ve known more people with multiple tattoos than people who run for fun, so maybe not.
    Eating the hottest peppers you can find? (shrug) There are an awful lot of names on the wall if the local wing shop.

      1. Appropriate terminology given Blake’s predilection for controlling massive beasts with leather straps and cords.
        Marsh, on the other hand, I’ve always assumed would require a choke collar, and a proper young lady with a very firm grip.

        1. Or a large collection of guns. or something. of the two he’s the stub– He’s the one who takes after me.
          In fact my husband was telling me not to give Marsh unwanted advice, because I’m an authority and he hates authority.
          Nut, tree, etc.

          1. As a relatively new gun owner I would suggest that if guns have any justifiable regulation it would be under the DEA, not ATF.

            (assuming for purposes of argument that the DEA was justified)

  14. I used to have a friend in college who belly danced for exercise; she said that she could tell the weeks she skipped because she would put on three pounds; she wore a size 8 pants—before the great re-sizing. So, apparently it’s good exercise.

  15. Nicely said, Sarah.
    I never met Mr. Resnick, but loved anything I ever read by him (my first & favorite was “Travels with My Cats.”) What I heard about him matched what you said about mentoring and kindness. Sorry for your (and everone else’s) loss.

  16. > If there’s an ever after and such things are allowed

    Yeah, I can see how that would work out. About three milliseconds after “no dancing!” you’d be plotting a regime change…

      1. Actually, dancing on specific occasions was part of ancient Jewish worship and parties, and there are a fair number of early Christian hymns that are wedding dance songs. And I think there was dancing in St. Methodius of Olympus’ Banquet of the Virgins. And so on.

        So yeah, pretty sure dancing is allowed….

        1. “Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.” (2 Samuel 16: 14)

          “… After the long months and struggles, the Ark had finally arrived in Jerusalem! And David, in great excitement and in thanks and praise for the Lord, leaped and danced. He didn’t care that he could have looked ridiculous, his main concern was show his thanks and worship to Him who had blessed David.

          “Remember that at this time that David was King of all Israel. Some would even say that this was not behavior suited for a King, that he was ridiculous and undignified. But David did not care. This was worship without limits, something he was offering up to His Lord out of an overflow of love and gratefulness for the goodness of God. Nothing would stop him, not the people who thought he looked silly, or even his self-consciousness.

          “How amazing it is to worship in this way. Without reservations. Without limits. Without a care in the world except to show the proper worship to the One who deserves everything we have to give.”
          https://www.bible-knowledge.com/dance-as-david-danced/

          It probably depends on why you’re dancing.

  17. Mike Resnick was after my time chasing the SF dream, so I missed him. I was all loaded up on the lore of the SF of the forties and fifties and found out the editors and publishers had no taste for such in the 70’s when I was trying to break in. After I exhaust Lee Child’s oeuvre, I will have to check out Mr. Resnick’s work. My only consolation is that some raised like me on Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein are currently emulating D.D. Harriman and building robots and spaceships in real life.

    I have no hope for those raised on gray goo.

    1. The (now) wife of a grad-school friend of mine taught belly dance. It’s a lot like riding a horse, in that the core is what does most of the work. And like playing pipe organ, that it is normal to have the hands, body, and feet going in different directions at the same time. But if you do it as high-impact, you’re probably doing something wrong. 🙂

      Watching her dance while balancing a real scimitar on her head . . . Hey, I was impressed.

      1. If you want high impact, try East Coast swing. Workout and a half for both parties. Can be humbling, even if you already *are* in shape. But you can start small.

  18. Very good. There is a reason we talk about “showing our respects.” Respect for each other as humans on the same earth, appreciation for unique qualities and kindness, and memories of friendship and love.

    I’m a black humor, warts and all reminiscer, so I like to see people who do it better and nicer than me! And it is also nice to see those hidden threads that bind a community, even if it is too late to give certain kinds of acknowledgement.

  19. In fairness, I’ve read him and I can admire him from a technical point of view, I never did enjoy his stories. But, I can understand other people enjoying it-it’s a chocolate/vanilla argument.

    The man himself, it seems, would be someone that I would want to meet. I truly regret that I didn’t. May his family find joy in the sadness, and may he wind up in Heaven twenty minutes after the Devil knows he’s dead.

  20. I met Mike Resnick several times at local Michigan conventions. My favorite memory involves a discussion of his novel “A Gathering of Widowmakers”. I told him that I was unable to find a copy. He said that the publisher had shut down and the rights were tied up. The day after the convention, he sent me an electronic copy so that I could read it.

  21. Mike also was well known for soliciting other fans who he thought could write well enough to contribute to anthologies he was editing. So it meant that a number of people who couldn’t otherwise break in as professional got a chance.

    And yes, the “other” in the first sentence was deliberate. Mike was a fan first, and stayed that way forever. That he was also a brilliant professional writer and editor didn’t stop him from being a fan. And he was always a pleasure to talk with,whether we were at Midwestcon, with 80 members, or Dragoncon, with a thousand times that many.

    He will be greatly missed.

  22. Another giant lost. Woke up 8 September 2017 to an announcement that Jerry Pournelle had passed and recall feeling like I’d been punched in the gut.

    1. Worse for me. Just a couple of weeks before, Jerry asked me to come to Dragon con, and offered to figure out arrangements of some place for me to crash.
      If I’d been at home, I’d have made arrangements even if it broke our purse/schedule.
      BUT I was overseas when I got the message. And then he was gone, and we never got to see each other again. I still open my email in the morning and look for an email from him, by reflex.
      Ah, well, we’ll meet again, but I miss him badly. OTOH if I don’t do what I can to write and publish as much as possible, I won’t be able to face him when we meet. He was one of my morale boosters.

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