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September 25, 2006

John M. Ford

Oh, dear. Science fiction writer Mike Ford has died. Making Light has more details.

I'd met Mike Ford on a number of occasions and had a panel with him at the most recent Boskone; we were friendly and he was a good friend to a number of my good friends in SF. I admire his writing and his whimsical spirit.

I have two of his books on my shelves. I think I'll read one today. That's the best tribute I can give to a writer, I think.

Addendum: Elise Matthesen, Mike Ford's companion, shares a remembrance.

Posted by john at September 25, 2006 09:54 AM

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Chang | September 25, 2006 10:06 AM

Ah, that's a shame. Seems like he was well loved and sorely missed. The best way to leave this Earth, I would think.

I'll make sure to buy a book of his as I haven't yet. He comes posthumously well recommended.

critter42 | September 25, 2006 10:07 AM

Man, this sucks - I just saw the news over at Neil Gaiman's blog...

How Much For Just The Planet? is probably the single funniest book I have *ever* read, whether Trek or not...I'll have to go pull it out again myself...

Cassie | September 25, 2006 11:45 AM

That John M. Ford? How Much For Just the Planet Ford?

Such a loss. I'm so sorry.

Mark | September 25, 2006 12:28 PM

This is upsetting. I only met the man twice. I liked him but what I'll really miss are the books.

Every few years, starting in 1980, when he was in his early twenties, Ford would come out with a new novel, generally unlike anything he'd done before. There was an early semi-cyberpunk novel (before there really was cyberpunk); The Dragon Waiting (alternate universe vampire novel set in the War of the Roses, won the World Fantasy Award), Princes of the Air (space opera/role playing); Scholars of the Night (intricate espionage thriller) and Growing Up Weightless (a wonderful coming of age novel set on the moon). Production had slowed since the 1990's.

If you've just read those fine and subversive Star Trek books find the others. They're worth reading.

Probably because of low output and because he never really had a "series" Ford was underappreciated. The books were very different - except that they are all good.

One of my favorite writers.

John M. Ford would have been fifty next year.

Johnny Carruthers | September 25, 2006 01:02 PM

I never met him, but according to Samanda Jeude, at one time we looked alike. That's how Samanda and I met; it was my first Rivercon, and she was getting a little pissed because I wasn't paying attention when she was calling to me. It was only when she got up close to me that she realized I wasn't Ford.

She explained and apologized, we both had a good laugh, and became friends.

Carol Elaine | September 25, 2006 01:19 PM

Wow. I'm so sorry to hear that.

I haven't read any Trek novels for a long time, but John M. Ford was one of my favorite Trek authors. I'll have to check out his other work now. I'm sorry I hadn't done so earlier.

critter42, you are right - How Much For Just The Planet? still makes me laugh, just thinking about it. A re-reading may be in order.

Eric J | September 25, 2006 02:55 PM

That's a shame. He was absolutely one of my favorite authors, and I always felt like he was a secret find of mine.
As much fun as How Much for Just the Planet is, The Final Reflection is the one Star Trek book that truly transcends it's genre. I'm still miffed that ST:TNG didn't use the Klingon background he developed for that book (and expanded on for FASA's Star Trek RPG.)

May he sail with the Black Fleet.

Jon H | September 25, 2006 03:02 PM

"John M. Ford would have been fifty next year."

The treacherous shoals of 49 took Douglas Adams, as well.

handdrummer | September 25, 2006 08:43 PM

And to note in passing, this past weekend we also lost Charles L. Grant, master of literate, quiet horror and a wonderfully nice guy.

Not a good few days.

Lee | September 26, 2006 04:09 AM

As the song goes ... "only the good die young". It is a shame that people who have a talent to share do not live long enough to do more. In contrast, we have some celebrities who do not know when to quit and insist on making comebacks when their time is long gone.

Tom Scudder | September 26, 2006 12:18 PM

It's worth it to click through to the Making Light link, which has Ford's sonnet, "On Entropy", which is one of the finest expressions of an atheistic search for a meaning of life I've ever read.

Gary Pilkington | September 26, 2006 12:29 PM

I just saw the notice this morning. What an absolute shocker. What a shame. I remember him from many years ago writing in the Journal of the Traveller's Aide Society. God speed.

Cambias | September 27, 2006 02:48 PM

Really, really sad. Think of all the things he never got the chance to write!

Also sobering, especially for anyone already entering his or her fourth decade. I'm nine years younger than Mr. Ford, and I don't think I've accomplished as much as he had nine years ago.

Also humbling. My last contact with him was a stupid newsgroup argument. No more chances to tell how much I've admired and enjoyed his work over the years. Too late.

I think I'll go make a list of writers I admire and send them the fan letters right away.

Gregory Frost | September 27, 2006 05:50 PM

He was a very fine fellow and for the years he lived in Philadelphia, I greatly enjoyed his company and his devilish humor.

He is missed.


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