RIP, Robert Asprin

RIP, Robert Asprin, science fiction writer and anthologist. His Thieves World series rocked my world when I was about 13 -- I was just thinking about digging up those first couple volumes and re-reading them.

On May 22, 2008, Bob passed away quietly in his home in New Orleans, LA. He had been in good spirits and working on several new projects, and was set to be the Guest of Honor at a major science fiction convention that very weekend. He is survived by his mother, his sister, his daughter and his son, and his cat, Princess, not to mention countless friends and fans and numerous legendary fictional characters.

He will be greatly missed.

Link (via MeFi)


  1. So sad. My grade school library inexplicably had his Myth series, and I devoured them all. I re-read a few of them a couple of years ago and they still made me laugh.

    I guess I’ll have to check out Thieves World now.

    RIP, Bob, Thanks for all the fantasies.

  2. Cory,

    Thieves World was a marvelous anthology. A corroboration of excellent talent. The story behind the book (in the foreword as I recall) was interesting insight as to how they all pulled this off and made a truly cohesive effort. I’m going to have to delve into the archives in my garage now that you’ve reminded me.



  3. Oh! I wasn’t expecting that. I was just telling my friend last weekend how much I loved Thieves World as a kid. I love that you included such a happy picture. That’s a good way to be remembered.

  4. You know, I miss him already. Guess I should go buy that most recent Myth book then, and really, really enjoy it.

  5. His Myth books totally disrespected the conventions of fantasy. He might not have been the first cynic to tear down those stodgy tropes, but he was the first one for me, and my world was a little more hilarious afterward. Thanks.

  6. Another piece of childhood gone… This man was a true gentleman. I will miss looking forward to another installment of what was a part of my growing up. And I will miss the man who was incredibly patient with a pain in arse kid asking him to sign five books when he was younger. Seriously, his writing hit me at the right time and I will always wish that he had written more. Shite, wonderment must include pain, because this hits hard. Hope everybody else has a toast to the man.

  7. …The *other* father of the RPG. Bob Asprin was, without question, the true inspiration for the style that Gary Gygax implemented when he created D&D. He put fun into medieval, and opened the concepts of that quasi-fantasy mythology to a wider audience.

    He *will* be missed, no matter how bad the dice roll was.

  8. I am stunned. What an awful year this has been for the sci fi/fantasy literary community.

    :( :(

  9. Ohh… another icon from my high school reading days is gone. He made fantasy fun for me! All my RPG experience was built on the humour he crafted into his stories. Sigh. Skeeve and Aahz walk into the sunset.

  10. I chose my handle for my first BBS account because I had a copy of “Phule’s Company” sitting on the desk next to the computer. I’ve been phule ever since…

  11. Ah Shit!!! What a crappy way to find out he’s dead!
    He was a great guy damn. I used to play pool with him in the leagues down in New Orleans, decent shot and he liked his Royal Crown! He was just as funny in real life as he was in his books. Quick witted and a blast to hang with. You will be missed you old S.O.D!

  12. Heck. I was beginning to enjoy Dragons Wild and looking forward to the sequel. Now I’ll never get to read about how Griffen turns into a dragon at a most inconvenient moment having to do with biological functions. :) and :(

  13. I just acquired all of the Thieves World books in the past two years and gave them some heavy reading. One of the coolest experiments in fantasy literature, and something that I wish was still being done.

    Don’t forget that he co-authored a pulply softcover with George Takei, either. I have a copy on my shelf, but I can’t really bear to read it.

  14. I feel like such a Phule for not saving my Myth Inc or Thieves World collections. Damn this guy could write!

  15. Years ago, when Bill Willingham, Chris Roberson, Matt Sturges, and myself were discussing a writing project we could all work on, Bill suggested a shared world environment. This immediately brought up a thirty minute discussion on Thieves World. Talk about lightning in a bottle. What an amazing, influential series.

    I met Bob several times and he was always gracious, funny, charming, affable, and slightly pickled–the perfect convention guest, in other words. I loved everything he wrote and thought the world of him.

    If there is an afterlife specifically for writers, then it is a large, comfortable pub or bar of some sort, and Bob is no doubt holding court right now, drink in hand, his deep voice rolling out over the crowd. And it’s a funny story, too. It always was.

    Rest in peace, good sir.

  16. @Om – I think you have your dates messed up.

    @Demidan – Yeah, I agree. I knew him as “Yang the Nauseating”, one-time leader of the Great Dark Horde. The Horde pretty much introduced the concept of mercenary units to the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is a medieval sport-combat group. Since I’ve fought for pay nigh on thirty years now you could say I owed him a debt.

    He’ll be missed.


  17. @17: The phrase I heard at DragonCon was “Wow, I survived the night of the unbuffered Asprin.” I didn’t know him Bob but he seemed like the sort of fellow the community needs more of, not fewer. :( A real raconteur.

  18. Taken that last D-hopper jump to The Vulgar Unicorn tavern in the sky.

    Farewell, & thanks.

  19. I was lucky enough to interview him for my school’s newspaper when I was in high school. I got a couple of hours of face-to-face, plus some phone time, to talk to him about his books, his life, and pretty much everything he was doing. I really enjoyed his work, and I’m very sad to hear he’s gone.

  20. This is terribly sad. Robert Asprin has been an escape of mine since I was just a knee-high mutant in small town Iowa. I will likely continue scanning his section of shelf hoping for new books to magickally appear.

  21. I was a fan of the Myth books as an early teen, and I recently turned my wife on to the series when she was looking for something that resembled Terry Pratchett’s Disc World series. I was sorry to hear about Pratchett’s illness, but even more sorry to hear about Asprin’s passing. Fortunately there’s still lots of books left in the series that she hasn’t read! I know it’s selfish, but whenever an author I like dies one of my first thoughts is that there’s no more great books coming down the pipeline.

    It sounds like Asprin had a very full literary life, but I’m sorry his family didn’t have more time to appreciate him.

  22. This hit me hard, as the MYTH books had a unique place in my adolescent reading pantheon. But the comment that actually choked me up is Proto’s (#8). A fitting tribute for a man devoted to the incorrigibly bad pun.

    Happy travels, Mr. Asprin. May you be in heaven an hour before the Deveels know you’re dead.

  23. I remember Mr. Asprin as a guest at the first (non-Creation) sci-fi con I ever attended as a young nerd in the early 80’s. He was pretty hilarious and I picked up his books immediately after the con. Thanks for the laughs, rest in peace.

  24. #26 Seconded. I met him at a con in the 80’s and he was incredibly nice to a slavering young fan boy waving around and babbling about how great ‘Another Fine Myth’ was. This is a bad year for SciFi and Fantasy writers.

    If George RR Martin dies before finishing Song of Ice and Fire I think my head might explode.

  25. I just spent Tuesday and Wednesday rereading a bunch of the Myth books I found at the local library, and then reading some of the ones that Bob wrote after he cleared up whatever it was that kept him from writing about Skeeve and Aahz all those years.

    I think I cried the first time I actually read one of the parts where Gleep talked.

    You will be missed, Bob.

  26. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around his passing.

    He was at my first con (Roc*Kon 3 – Little Rock 1978) and I first heard of SCA, Yang, filking, and Tullamore Dew Irish Whisky that weekend.

    I have a print of the Kelly Freas cover of “Another Fine Myth…” mounted above my fireplace. It is autographed by Kelly and Bob.

    He will be missed.

    Shai Dorsai!

  27. @ #13 Demidian: Ah Shit!!! What a crappy way to find out he’s dead!

    It’s probably different for someone who knew him personally, but as a fan who never got the privilege of his company, getting the news from this source is exactly what I need in order to soften the blow. BB is the comforting yet authoritative voice that Walter Cronkite must have been for my parents.

    I think I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not sure I’d have been as familiar with Phil Foglio if not for the Myth books; his illustrations shaped what many had as their internal images of that cast.

    My hope is that if there’s a guiding consciousness to this universe, that entity is rounding up the most creative minds on the physical plane to cook up something really bitchen in the near future. That image keeps me warm at night and diminishes despair.

  28. Well, fuck.

    That’s just capped my day. I’m just catching up on a bunch of web news after a week away. About two hours ago, I found out that Janet Kagan recently died. Now Asprin as well.

    The world has lost some joy.

  29. I knew Bob Asprin (to us he was just Asprin-we never called him Bob or Robert)from the favorite local bar we hung out at in the French Quarter in New Orleans. I used to live about 50 feet up the street from a wonderful place called Fahy’s Pub. Bob was one of the first people I met there when I moved to the Quarter in the spring of last year after a rough break up with my ex. He made me feel at home, was funny, friendly, and just a good guy to talk to. I was shocked and saddend when I learned of his passing. I had recently moved out of the quarter, as my liver could not take another 6 months of living there. Bob would probably agree with me on that, as we always saw each other at Fahy’s on a nearly daily basis. He always had his Tulamore Dew and I always had a Smithwick’s. Bob would talk to anyone, was a member of the pool league, and just a great guy to shoot the shit with. He will be missed by al of us who knew him as a friend, and obviously by all of you who were his fans. I am sure he would be suprised and would have a big smile on his face knowing how much you enjoyed his writing and his sense of humor. I thank you for your kind words about someone who I regarded as a friend and who I miss greatly.

  30. I knew Bob when he used to write in the Brown Jug Cafe in Ann Arbor in the early 1980’s. He would ask customers their names if he needed a name for a character in a book.

    The last time I saw him, at a con in Michigan many years ago, he insisted on buying me dinner. A generous, wonderful wit that will be sorely missed.

    The good thing was that I was able to turn my godson onto his writings. I hope his stuff stays in print a long, long time.

    I will now cherish my 1st edition Starblaze copy of Another Fine Myth (with autographs of most of the people on the cover, who were friends of his and Phil’s!).

    -Alan Salmi, Chicago, IL

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