Friday, May 23, 2008

MythAdventures Remembered

I met Bob Asprin while I was in college working for the science fiction magazine. We wanted to do interviews with authors, an initiative that lasted exactly two authors, but if they'd all been like Bob, we would never have stopped. He was friendly and accommodating, talked a mile a minute, and was as entertaining as his stories, if not more. We followed up and he was extremely helpful in editing the interview and allowing us to go to press with it. There are plenty of nice people in the science fiction community, but he was more than nice.

I remember picking up the Myth-Adventures series and loving the balance he struck between fun and a serious story, something I've never been able to quite get to my satisfaction in my own work. He slung puns with the best of them, but never lost sight of the heart of his story. His characters, larger than life, remained true to it throughout, or at least as much as you can in a fantasy world.

After the interview and perhaps during the same time as the interview, which was longer ago than I care to remember, he was dealing with other issues that took his energy away from writing. I heard through the grapevine recently that he was working on projects again and was delighted.

Today I heard that he passed away.

His MythAdventures books stay on the shelves, published and republished through Meisha Merlin and others. They're perennial favorites and have now, I think, become firmly cemented as a part of essential fantasy reading.

They'll always be a fondly treasured part of my own reading memories. I can still remember sitting in the room, thanking the heavens for the tape recorder that was capturing everything he said, because my pen couldn't keep up. And I'll remember the conversations afterwards, a young fan being treated like a professional, the way he treated his stories: with humor and respect. Thanks, Bob.

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