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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

John M. Ford, 1957-2006

Making Light and elisem have let us know that the mighty Mike Ford passed away last night.

I did not know Mike half as well as I would have liked, and this is not entirely unexpected, but...

Oh, hell.

One of the things they don't tell you about writing and selling a science fiction or fantasy novel (or even a couple of short stories) is that in so doing you are, after a fashion, marrying into a family. And that with that family will come delights, loved ones, crazy uncles you can't stand, and unpleasant duties. One of those unpleasant duties is passing the word when someone leaves us.

One of the pleasant, if bittersweet, ones is recalling why they were loved.

Mike Ford was, to my small acquaintance, someone who epitomized the expression, "It's always the quiet ones." He was sly and conspiratorial and wicked in the best senses of those words, and willing to go to vast lengths for a witticism, with eyebrows that would be the envy of Leo G. Carroll. He projected an air of dignity that vanished at the first opportunity to make a terrible joke--the more vastly obscure the better--and an air of erudition that was not illusory at all. 

His art was funny, humane, and ruthless, and so was he, that is the finest thing I can say of any man.

This is magic, this is what magic is:
Grief too terrible to be borne.

— John M. Ford, "A Holiday in the Park"



And I should have seen it coming. Reading between the lines of the comments he posted on Making Light when the threads touched on medical matters -- this was a man who wouldn't have made it to 49 if he'd been born a decade earlier, never mind two.

Damn, if only he'd been born a decade later (if that makes sense) ...
It makes perfect sense.

What Teresa said over on her blog is just the right thing, in an odd recursive sort of way.

I keep thinking that Mike would know the right thing to say about all this.
That was my first thought, as well. He would have tossed off a thirty-line Beowulf pastiche or something in about 2 minutes, and we all would have admired it, and Teresa would have had to promote it to its own post, and....

Dammit, I'm losing it again.
Yes. She nailed down the edge of the hole in the world.

This one helped:


And this one made me lose it all over again:


Also, Sherwood said Just The Right Thing.

Aw, damn!! That sucks. He will definitely be missed.
Joining in the chorus of "Damn, that's too bad." I grieve for the man that I knew and the parts that I didn't know, for I did not know him well. I grieve for my friends and loved ones, for their more personal loss. And, in that oddly bittersweet/happy way, I rejoice that there is all of his writing, to be experienced, out there on the wires and on the shelves. I've only read a small part of it, and I know I will read more.

And we will celebrate him still, for decades after he's gone.
Yes. I wish, bitterly, selfishly, that he had not been so badly gypped in the body lottery, that his legacy were even more than it is.

Still. Still.

I would run into him, being his own quiet self, at a WisCon or some other venue, and I'd pause to say (for the umpteenth time) how wonderful his stuff was and how underappreciated he was, and generally babble to an extent unbefitting a book reviewer. And he'd smile and thank me politely, and as like as not would offer me some chapbook or other rarity from a stash he always seemed to have about his person.

I'll be stumbling across those chapbooks for decades to come; and now I'm afraid I'm likely to break into tears at the thought that the mind who crafted them will not be making more joy and poetry for us all (at least in this world).
Yeah. That, exactly. Thank you.
Never got the chance to meet him.

This stinks.

I can't believe I'm not going to see his sly smile at Minicon next year, or ever gain.
Shit, this has been a REMARKABLY bad year for this kind of thing.
I got hooked on Ford's short fiction thanks to a co-worker back in '87 who gave me a big shopping bag full of digests, and the highest compliment I can pay any writer was that he could get me to read Star Trek novels if his name was on it. I never met him, but I'm going to miss him.
Oh no. This is turning into a bad year for SFF... :(
Damn it.