Author Lou Anders pays tribute to award-winning American science fiction writer and editor Michael Diamond Resnick, whose death on 10th January 2020 was announced by his daughter Laura last week after battling cancer.
A much-loved creator, he won five Hugo awards, a Nebula award, he was also executive editor of Jim Baen’s Universe.
My friend Mike Resnick has died. I hadn’t seen him in a few years, mostly because I skipped DragonCon last year, where he was a regular feature. But from 2004 until 2014, I was the Editorial Director of Pyr, the S&F imprint of Prometheus books.
During that time, I worked with Mike on 14 novels and one short story collection. We reprinted his marvellous novel Ivory: A Legend of Past and Future, which was his tribute to and fictional history for the Kilimanjaro Elephant, and we reprinted Stalking the Unicorn, adding two new books to make it a trilogy.
We did the five book Starship series, and the four book Weird West series about the adventures of Doc Holiday in a steampunk alternate history. We had kicked off a new space opera when I left editing for my own writing, and we only stayed in touch intermittently after that.
Mike called my son Mike Jr., though I later found out there were a score of children referred to that way. During our time together, he said often, and publicly, that I was his favourite editor, though I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that he said the same about someone else. He was extremely generous with his time towards fans and young writers.
He mentored quite a few people, but he was also free with advice about the business of writing to anyone who wanted to listen, and I sat in on numerous conversations where he shared the wisdom of his experience with new authors I’d introduced him to.
He was also an endless font of stories about publishing and the people of publishing, stories that will probably die with him because quite a few of them I don’t see anyone else having the nerve to tell.
We argued about cinema and television a lot: Mike didn’t seem to like anything after the invention of colour. I exaggerate, but it’s far to say that I could count the films he praised that were younger than I was on the fingers of one hand.
He always trusted me with his covers, telling me “Lou, I’m blind in one eye and colour blind in the other,” saying that if I told him it was a good cover, he’d believe me.
(They were good covers. Some of our best.)
One of my favourite reviews of his work said something to the effect of “Mike Resnick never met a cliché he didn’t like, but he wields them like cards in the hands of an expert storyteller.” That was an absolutely fair assessment, but it wasn’t damning with faint praise. Mike’s work was the epitome of the good story well told, and if elements of the story had been told before, so what. They’d never been told like this.
He was a master storyteller, whether on his ancient computer keyboard or in person across the table. We had a lot of meals together, but we rarely hung out in the bars. Mike avoided them, preferring to hold court in the fan suites at conventions, where he could be among his readers. He had a lot of those, and a lot of people who loved him.
I was one of them. I will miss him.
I went and pulled New Dreams for Old off the shelf this morning. That’s the short story collection we did together, so many years ago. I opened it to a random page, just to see if Mike had anything more to tell me.
The first thing I spotted was a bit of dialogue from “His Award-Winning Science Fiction Story,” a bit of parody in which the characters complain about the tale they find themselves in. The line read: “Jesus H. Christ!” muttered Stalwart disgustedly. “If I’d ever written a sentence like that they’d have thrown me out of school.” I laughed through my tears.
Thanks, Mike. You’re the best and you won’t be soon forgotten.
Mike Resnick, 5th March 1942 – 9th January 2020
• Mike’s daughter, SF author Laura Resnick, is running a GoFundMe Page to pay her father’s medical bills and support his widow. The initial $50,000 target has been reached, but support continues to be welcome
Writing on the page she says of her father: “His connection to his friends, his readers, and his colleagues enriched his life, and he never stopped being delighted to meet people who read his work, who were interested in writing, who loved books and stories, and who shared his sense of wonder. He remained enthusiastic about his craft and devoted to his writing to the end of his life, and was always thrilled to be part of the science fiction community, as both a fan and a pro. He taught me a lot about being a writer and a professional.”
My thanks to Lou Anders, author of the fantasy series Thrones & Bones and much more, for permission to post his tribute to his friend. You can find out more about Lou’s work at louanders.com
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.