Word is spreading through writer and fan circles that popular author Ann Crispin lost her battle with cancer earlier this morning.
She had posted a message earlier in the week to her friends and fans that her condition was worsening, and that she might not be able to post any further updates, but the news this morning still came as a shock.
I’ve been a fan of Ann’s since–back when I was a teenager–I came across a Star Trek novel she’d written, Yesterday’s Son, in 1983. It was one of the earlier entries in Pocket Books’ continuing series of Star Trek novels (#11, though that number was applied retroactively as Pocket didn’t start the numbering system until a few books later), but thirty years after its original publication it along with its sequel, 1988’s Time for Yesterday, remains a fan favorite.
Several years after first enjoying Yesterday’s Son, I eventually found my way to her original series of StarBridge novels, as well as a trilogy of Han Solo-centric Star Wars novels she wrote in the 1990s, and her novelization of the original 1984 V miniseries remains one of my all-time favorite tie-in works.
This past summer at San Diego Comic-Con, Ann quite deservedly was named a Grandmaster by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers (IAMTW), joining Donald Bain, Alan Dean Foster, Keith R.A. DeCandido, William Johnston, Peter David and Kevin J. Anderson among the elite of those who toil in the oft-misunderstood, oft-maligned field of media tie-in writing.
When she wasn’t entertaining us with her fiction writing, Ann along with fellow author Victoria Strauss also founded Writer Beware, a watchdog group that works to foster awareness regarding fraud, scams, and other illegitimate and even illegal activities in and around the publishing industry. She and Victoria, along with Richard White and everyone else involved with Writer Beware, are among the best friends a new writer ever could have.
I only met Ann once, years ago at a convention, back when I was just getting started as a writer. Fate saw to it that we were seated near one another in the main events room, so naturally I introduced myself and–like so many before me–informed her that I’d been a fan for years. She treated me like she’d known me forever, and seemed genuinely touched when I told her that she–along with several others also in attendance at the same convention–was an inspiration for me and my own writing. We both managed to crack a couple of jokes just to avoid going too far to the sappy side, of course. It was a wondrous few minutes during a frenzied con; the only time I’d get to speak with her that weekend and–as it turns out–ever again.
Ann remains an inspiration to me, and she’s absolutely a role model for writers looking to get into this line of work: a gifted voice, a passionate fan of the material, engaging with her readers, and a consummate professional. The world is a lesser place now that she’s gone.
Rest in peace, Ann, and thank you for everything.