RIP, Mike Resnick

Mike Resnick, a major figure in science fiction, has died after a brief battle with "a very aggressive form of lymphoma" that was diagnosed in November. He was 77.

Resnick had a well-deserved reputation as a mentor and editor, as well as being a prolific writer. As Michael Swanwick notes in his remembrance of Resnick, he was "the man with a thousand little rockets" -- a reference to how he would stud each year's World Science Fiction Convention badge with rows of Hugo Award nominee pins, a tribute to both how much work he produced and how well-received it was by his legion of fans.

Resnick launched a Gofundme campaign in November to help pay for his medical expenses. Today, that campaign is being used by his family to defray his medical debt and to help his widow Carol with her ongoing living costs.

Resnick's daughter, the writer Laura Resnick, added this in her remembrance 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."

John Scalzi's obit for Resnick emphasizes Resnick's pay-it-forward attitude: "what I think you will see most in the tributes that will be coming out about in the next few days is the fact he was a teacher and mentor to a great number of writers in the science fiction community, sharing advice about writing and the writing life over decades." (Scalzi also remembers Resnick's part in the publication of a controversial column he co-wrote for the Science Fiction Writers of America's magazine while Scalzi was President of SFWA).

I knew Resnick primarily from online forums -- we were both on Genie's Science Fiction Round Table in the 1980s and 1990s -- and from brief conversations at conversations. Though I wasn't by any means a friend of his, I was certainly an admirer of his work -- both his writing and his ethic of mentorship. He will be very missed.

As I wrote when I contributed to his medical expenses crowdfunder, medical debt is particularly oppressive for self-employed artists, and science fiction circles are perpetually fundraising for some ill or injured writer whose lack of insurance endangers their own ability to work and provide for their families. This is partially why I donated to both the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom advocated Medicare for All. There are untold mountains of brilliant books, paintings, songs and other art that were never produced because the artists who would have made them were either so burdened with medical debt that they couldn't find the time or mental space to produce them; or because they were so scared of accruing medical debt that they abandoned the idea of a career in the arts.

Pop chose not to tell anyone how ill he was, because he was so convinced he'd get better and soon be his old self again. He mostly slept during his final days, but when awake he was in good spirits. He passed away quietly in his sleep, without pain or further suffering.

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 dad met my mom nearly 60 years ago and has been devoted to her ever since. She said to me this morning that no one could have had a better husband. My mom will miss him more than anyone, but we know he will be missed by many people.

He will be cremated, as per his wishes, in a private family service. We will plan a memorial/remembrance gathering for him later this year, at a location where we hope many of his friends can be present--maybe a convention.

Help Mike Resnick's widow pay off medical bills [Laura Resnick/Gofundme]