Saturday, October 28, 2006

I read the news today, oh boy

UPDATE: Okay folks, let's make it official. Please, no more hostile phone calls or emails to Tad Vezner. I just had a nice long conversation on the phone with him. He's a good guy, and, as he pointed out, it was Robert Jordan who made the claim that Ford was the guy who coined the c-word.

So lay off Vezner, okay? Personally, I think it's great that Ford's obit made the front page, and wasn't buried in some little three-column-inch piece fill back on page 39Z. Ford deserved it.

Of course, so did Sladek, and Dickson, and Simak...

Front page of today's St. Paul Pioneer Press, lower-left corner, real nice obit for John M. Ford. Then I read the continuation to page 5A and was stunned and surprised to learn that the guy who coined the term "cyberpunk" and wrote one of the first cyberpunk novels had also died.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? It's on the front page of the Press, man. It's got to be true! Had I died in my sleep and failed to notice it?

Checked my pulse, reassured myself that I was still alive, had another cup of coffee, and thought it over. Let's see: what exactly has being the author of "Cyberpunk" done for me? There was the $250 or so I got for the original story. The $100 I got from some Greek publisher for the only time the story was ever legally reprinted. (Excepting the copy on the Infinity Plus website, all the other reprints, translations, and such floating around out there are bootlegs.) Minus the several thou it cost me to get out of the c-word book contract. Minus the almost incalculable cost of the marriage I wrecked trying to play the role of Bruce Bethke, internationally semi-famous sci-fi writer.

Know what? Let Ford have the credit — or the albatross, as the case may be. The guy who coined "cyberpunk" is dead. Which means I get to skip writing today and go walk some cornfields with my dog and a shotgun, which is what I really wanted to do, anyway.

I've got to tell you, I feel so liberated right now.