I just found out that John M. Ford passed away yesterday.
From his Wikipedia entry:
John M. Ford (April 10, 1957 – September 24, 2006) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer, game designer, and poet.
Ford’s works are characterised by an aversion to doing things that have been done before. This attitude is perhaps most notable in his two Star Trek novels, The Final Reflection and How Much for Just the Planet?. The Final Reflection is the story of a small group of Klingons who save the Federation from destruction while the regular heroes of the series are all relegated to cameo appearances. How Much for Just the Planet? is a Star Trek musical comedy. Both novels hint that the Federation is not quite the shining utopia of goodwill and interspecies fellowship depicted in the television series.
Ford avoided repetition not only of the work of others, but also of his own work. Where many writers make a name for themselves by developing a known style that repeats in many works, Ford always surprised with his ability to use a variety of styles that best suited the world, characters, and situations he had chosen to write about. In some ways this might have limited his readership, as many people prefer to repeat a known experience when they purchase works by the same author.
Anyone who can turn tiny posts into something wonderful time and time again is gifted indeed.
I never actually met him, but always wished I had.
The worm drives helically through the wood
And does not know the dust left in the bore
Once made the table integral and good;
And suddenly the crystal hits the floor.
Electrons find their paths in subtle ways,
A massless eddy in a trail of smoke;
The names of lovers, light of other days—
Perhaps you will not miss them. That’s the joke.
The universe winds down. That’s how it’s made.
But memory is everything to lose;
Although some of the colors have to fade,
Do not believe you’ll get the chance to choose.
Regret, by definition, comes too late;
Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate.
—John M. Ford
There’s a hole in the universe, indeed…