Ralph Vicinanza passed away Sunday night, of a cerebral aneurism. He was 60 years old. That’s way too young. I’ve worked with him throughout my entire career in publishing—he was almost exactly my contemporary. He was getting his legs under him as a foreign rights agent while I was learning to be an editor at Ace. I valued his trust and respect, and was happy to see him grow to be so very successful, as his client list grew. Ralph was a bulldog of an advocate for his clients, and I always knew that a deal with Ralph would be as good as it could possibly be for both author and publisher. He took that advocacy with him into television and film production. He enjoyed his life.
Ralph really loved books; he loved his clients’ novels. When we got together over breakfast at conventions, or in his irregular after-hours phone calls, we’d talk about books—what we loved, where we thought a writer was going. He made a lot of money with his bestseller clients, but he also adored his smaller books, his less successful writers. I’m still counting up the authors—everyone will be talking about Stephen King, Peter Straub, but Ralph also represented Jack Vance, who loved him like a son. He represented Connie Willis, Kim Stanley Robinson, David Brin, Steven Gould, Megan Lindholm, Mike Brotherton, Cecelia Holland (for a time), Robert Sawyer, Lucius Shepard...so many more. He took care of his writers; he took them, and their work, seriously.
I know the agency will go on—Ralph trained an excellent group of agents—and continue doing good for writers. But I will miss Ralph, and so will the network of thousands of people that he wove together.