John Steakley, RIP

Oh, hell. John Steakley, the author of Armor and other excellent science fiction, has just passed away.

He and I never met, but I was a fan of his through Armor, which was given to me as a Christmas present by a friend of mine back when I was a teenager. The friend knew I liked science fiction but not being a science fiction reader himself sort of just grabbed the first book whose cover caught his eye. At the time, if I recall correctly, the cover of Armor featured a man in a mechanized battle suit about to bludgeon an alien with a hefty-looking rifle. A lurid cover, to be sure, but what was inside the cover was in fact right up my alley at the time.

Then a couple of years ago I picked up the phone and it was Steakley on the other end; he had just read Old Man’s War and he just felt like calling to talk to me about it. I was pleasantly surprised and befuddled, the way you get when someone whose work you’ve admired and whom you don’t expect to know you even exist suddenly pops up and does indeed knows you exist, and likes your stuff. We had a pleasant conversation, and he mentioned he’d try to get over to ArmadilloCon, which I was was going to be at later in that year. I told him I looked forward to meeting him there.

As it turns out he didn’t go to that con, and now I’m left wishing he had managed to make it out, so I could have shaken his hand and told him in person how much I enjoyed his work. One phone call seems too little all of a sudden.


Agent to the Stars Mass Market Paperback Out Today

Just in time for Hanukkah! (Yes, really; for those of you not in the know, Hanukkah starts on December 2nd this year.)  Today Agent to the Stars heads to the stores in the easy-to-love, easy-to-carry mass market paperback size, with a list price of just $7.99. And I think I adore this particular version of the cover (by artist Pascal Blanchet) most of all.

Remember also that if you call up Jay & Mary’s Book Center, my local book store, and order it from them, I’ll go there in the next few days and sign it for you, along with any other books of mine you might be wanting to purchase. This is great for gifts, whether for others or for yourself. Because learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. At least that’s what I’ve heard. And I believe everything I’m told in pop songs.

Otherwise, it’s now available in your local book stores and of course on your favorite online book retailers as well.

(For those of you sharp-shooting ebook prices and noticing that the electronic version currently costs more than the paperback version; dude, give it a couple of days before you start kvetching, these things may take time to propagate into the system.)

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