Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ed Gorman, 1941-2016

"You're a writer." -Edward Gorman, in an email several years ago.

The first fanzine I read was an issue of Science Fiction Review, a magazine edited and published by the late Richard (Dick) Geis, and that issue included among much else a bit of autobiography by Algis Budrys, a fiction-writer, editor and critic who has had rather a large influence on me; along with that essay, an interview, conducted by an impressed fan of his (and of other contributors to the literary legacy of the Fawcett Gold Medal paperback line), Edward Gorman. So that's how I was introduced to Ed, in 1978.

Like Budrys, or Geis, only perhaps even more so, Ed went ahead and did things that he clearly thought needed doing, not only establishing himself as a freelance writer, but co-founding the magazine Mystery Scene and engaged in the launch of the book-publishing house, Five Star, which have both done notable service to the field of crime fiction and beyond. He co-edited two (or, arguably, three) best crime fiction of the year annual series, and wrote well and often brilliantly in at least the fields of crime fiction, fantastic fiction (particularly horror), western fiction, and historical fiction. His editorial work has been impressive, beyond the magazine and annuals, often assembling key anthologies of crime fiction and more, not least with The Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction and The Second Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction, and such notable compilations as the nonfiction collection The Big Book of Noir and the interview collections Speaking of Murder and Speaking of Murder 2.  (Ed Gorman citations on this blog.)

I've never been to Cedar Rapids, his long-time home town, nor met his gracious wife Carol Gorman (though she and I have exchanged a couple of emails or direct messages); I never met Ed in person, but we did correspond publicly and privately with moderate frequency; I was able to help him out in a few minor ways over the years, as when he was trying to find out when and on which channels the film adaptation of his story "The Poker Club" was going to be first telecast in the US and Canada. And he, as I quote above, encouraged me to take my ability as a writer seriously...something I haven't really done to the extent I might. 

Gorman had more gumption than that, and as many others have noted, a generosity of spirit and desire to help others, and to preserve the legacy of those too close to being forgotten, overlooked, underappreciated, that drove his professional career...along with the desire to tell the stories with the urgency and subtle grace he brought to them. 

The Stephen Fabian cover of that SFR issue where I first read Ed's words is a grim image of someone having a hole punched in his midsection by a futuristic weapon...the tight little ache in my gut, in learning Ed had succumbed to the myeloma that had been messing with him for 15 years, was predicted all those years ago. 

All sympathies to all his family and friends who knew him better, and those he was kind to over the years. His absence is a major loss. 

Among the blog reminiscences so far,
revised to include links from the Patti Abbott list on 2 November:
Bill Crider (and again)
Patti Abbott (and again, organizing a remembrance on his 75th birthday)
Sandra Seamons
Kevin Tipple
Max Allan Collins
Juri Nummelin 
Jon Jordan 
James Reasoner (and again)
Jerry House (and again)
Ben Boulden
J. Kingston Pierce (and again)
David Cramner (and again)
Jake Hinkson
Lee Goldberg
Mike Stotter
Janet Rudolph
Charlie Stella
B. V. Lawson
George Kelley
Matt Paust
Steve Lewis
Francis M. Nevins
Martin Edwards
Cullen Gallagher
Sergio Angelini
Barry Ergang
Tracy K.
Dave Zeltserman
Robert Napier
Molly Duffy, obituary in The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA)
Locus Magazine Online

earlier recognition
Gerald So
Tom Nolan in Mystery Scene (courtesy Patti Abbott)
Steve M. in re: westerns 
Dale Jones in The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) (courtesy Pierce)


mybillcrider said...

A fine tribute, Todd.

Anonymous said...

Nice remembrance

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, folks. Did you ever get to correspond with him, Kate? Extra pats for the VBKs tonight, Bill...

Jerry House said...

I never met him, Todd, but he has been a major influence in my life for the past thirty years. He excelled at putting humanity, honesty, compassion, and understanding in his stories. His writings gave me a better understanding of myself.

Todd Mason said...

He's left a notable legacy, to be sure. Good writers will do those things.

Mathew Paust said...

Thanks for this, Todd. I feel as if I've lost a brother.

Todd Mason said...

This much achievement, that much modesty and genuine interest in the work of others.

ckubala said...

I was just sitting here reading the latest issue of Mystery Scene Magazine. Now I'm feeling quite sad. Thanks for writing such an excellent tribute to his works and life Todd.

Carol G said...

Thank you so much for this lovely tribute to Ed. He would have been embarrassed (because compliments always embarrassed him) and very pleased.

Carol Gorman

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

As Bill says, this is a very fine tribute, Todd. I did not know Ed Gorman had launched Mystery Scene. I have just so many of his books to read — looking forward to it.

Todd Mason said...

Carol Kubala, Prashant, thanks for your kind words. Carol Gorman--now I'm embarrassed, but thank you very much, and I wish I could do more to help, and celebrate Ed's life--I will join in with Patti Abbott's confab. You all take good care of yourselves...

Adriana Hartelt-Boettcher said...

Ed was a star. He was a favorite at each of the three bookstores where I spent most of my working life, loved by everyone who was lucky enough to joke with him, talk books and politics. I can't believe he's gone. Carol, sending you a big virtual hug right now.

George said...

A very fine tribute to Ed Gorman!

Todd Mason said...

Thanks, Adriana and George, for your kind comments.