Ann Crispin, RIP.

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.

8 thoughts on “Ann Crispin, RIP.

  1. Very nicely written, Dayton. I only met her once myself, during a Star Trek cruise in 1991. She was just a joy to hang out with. We even dabbled with the idea of having her do a novelization of “Yesterday’s Enterprise” — which would have seemed so appropriate to me, but we could never get Pocket Books to move forward with the project. She will be greatly missed.


    1. I always thought “Yesterday’s Enterprise” would’ve made a great film, with room to let the story breathe a bit, particularly with some Enterprise-C scenes with the ship and crew in their proper time frame.

      I was really hoping it might be used for the Fandango TNG Season 3 event, but I can totally understand why they went with “The Best of Both Worlds.”


  2. I glad to be one of the writers she helped and encouraged over the years. Back before I was ever published she read one of my stories (Who does that? Nobody has the time! Don’t neophyte writers know never to ask a pro to do that?). She hated it. Which was a very good think because she took the time to point out everything I was doing wrong that made the story, um, I think “suck out loud” is the literary term. I was going to say we kept in touch, but a check of my mailbox shows my last exchange with her was over two years ago. Can’t think how that happened. Her work – and her work ethic – are examples every writer should study and seek to emulate.


  3. This is sad indeed. I wrote Ann and Victoria in 2006 when I started getting agent offers and wanted to find out how legit the agencies were. They were incredibly kind and helpful to a fairly clueless newbie. I was awed that they took the time to do what they did at Writers Beware and I’ve never forgotten. RIP, Ann.


  4. I am so very sad to hear about Ann. I had the pleasure of first meeting her at the 54th World Science Fiction Convention in Anaheim (1996) and she was so encouraging to this neophyte writer. I attended one of her readings and she spent 20 minutes afterward speaking to me with good humor about the positives and negatives of dealing with Paramount when I told her I had applied for a writing internship at Star Trek. I regret that I barely kept in touch for some time … it’s so easy to think, “Oh, we will have a chance to really talk next time.” RIP, Ann; you will be missed.


Lay it on me.

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