Prolific science fiction author and editor Mike Resnick has died, according to his family. Known for his genre-spanning work and impressive streak of award nominations and wins, he passed on January 9, 2020, after being hospitalized for much of last year. He was 77.
Resnick’s daughter, Laura announced his passing on a GoFundMe page that had been set up to defray the cost of Resnick’s medical care (Note: Contributions are still being accepted), clarifying that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma in November 2019:
He was diagnosed in November with a very aggressive form of lymphoma. Treatment initially went well, and we were very hopeful. But his health and strength began to decline sharply in mid-December […] 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.
In her remembrance, Laura said that her father “remained enthusiastic about his craft and [was] 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.”
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.
Michael D. Resnick was born on March 5th, 1942 in Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Highland Park High School in Chicago, and went on to attend the the University of Chicago, where he met his wife, Carol, in 1960, bonding over a mutual love of Buck Rogers. In his book Once A Fan…, he wrote that it was the discovery of ERB-dom, a fanzine devoted to the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs that “unquestionably shaped my adult life.” He began writing articles for the publication, and his first short story, “The Forgotten Sea of Mars,” appeared in 1965. Two years later, he published his first novel, The Goddess of Ganymede, and followed it up with Pursuit on Ganymede in 1968, and Redbeard in 1969, under the name Michael Resnick.
According to the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Resnick then took an extended break from genre publishing, pivoting to writing pornographic novels under hundreds of pseudonyms for a number of publishers. Along with his wife, he raised purebred collies, and wrote columns on the subject, as well as on horse racing.
He returned to genre publishing in the 1980s, writing a tie-in novelization for Battlestar Galactica with Glen A. Larson, Battlestar Galactica 5: Galactica Discovers Earth, as well as his own science fiction series, Birthright, which he began publishing in 1981 with The Soul Eater. He continued the series with dozens of sequels, the last of which, The Castle in Cassiopeia, hit stores in 2017.
Over the years, Resnick wrote dozens of genre novels and anthologies and hundreds of short stories for a variety of publications, earning nominations for many of the genre’s top awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and others — he holds the record for most Hugo nominations, with 37. He won his first Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1989 for his story Kirinyaga (published in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction’s November 1988 issue), and went on to earn the award again in 1991 (Best Novelette, The Manamouki), 1995 (Best Novella, Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge), 1998 (Best Short Story, “The 43 Antarean Dynasties”), and in 2005 (“Travels with my Cats”, Best Short Story).
In addition to writing short fiction and novels, Resnick edited two publications — Jim Baen’s Universe, from 2007 until 2010, and then launched Galaxy’s Edge in 2013, which he edited until his death. (On a personal note, he acquired and published my first short story in the magazine in 2014.)
Resnick’s next novel, The Mistress of Illusions, the second installment of his Dreamscape trilogy, is set to be published in by DAW Books on April 14th, 2020, and his final novel will be the last installment of that trilogy, Lord of Nightmares.