As many of you know, Ed Gorman succumbed to cancer recently after a long and difficult struggle. His generosity, wisdom, and talent are all first rate and he leaves a gap that won't be filled.
Patti Nase Abbott has asked people to share some stories about Ed on their blogs, or hers, for Ed Gorman Day on November 2, which would have been his 75th birthday. Where I live there is still an hour left on the second so I'll do my usual last-minute job and tell you a few things about Ed and me.
Like so many of his friends, I never met Ed in person. He didn't go to conventions even though I encouraged him to. No, that's not for me, he would say. That's a pity, because an hour hearing him talk to a good interviewer would have been better than just about any panel you can think of. Ed was very forthcoming about his wild juvie years and his alcoholism, both of which he left behind. Whether they helped inform the person he became or if he was that person all along, I cannot say. I would guess the latter.
Ed was a huge, underappreciated talent. Whether it was a mystery, Western, thriller, or horror novel, he always managed to assign great humanity to his characters, even the lowest of them. When he'd write on his blog it was easy to see the goodness in him, and I always envied his strength of character.
When I was publishing Mystery & Detective Monthly from 1984-2003, Ed was a staunch supporter. He wrote a column for me every so often lauding a writer from the past. After reading one of them I called Ed and mentioned it. He praised the writer profusely. "Great," I said, "but what's his name?" Ed wrote the entire piece without naming the man. He was taken aback at first but we had a good laugh about it.
When Ed had the idea to start Mystery Scene he asked me to mail the sample issues with MDM. They were only four pages so I said sure, but if they send me over my postage limit I'd like to be reimbursed. He agreed. We're talking very few dollars here and in retrospect I wish I hadn't taken any of it. When Mystery Scene became a full fledged magazine Ed comped me a subscription, and for years after he gave it up I still got issues. I sent him MDM in return.
Ed instituted The American Mystery Award and in 1988 I got one for Best Fanzine. Unfortunately, some bad things were happening in my life including not being informed that I'd won. I was less than gracious in my remarks in that month's MDM and I got a stern letter from Ed's co-editor, Bob Randisi, telling me where to go. He was right.
I called Ed to grovel and offer my apologies and explain why I was in such an awful state ("It was a woman..."), but Ed just brushed it off. Years later, when I told him I was reading Westerns, he sent me a box of his.
I wish everyone could be that forgiving and magnanimous.
A lot of people credit Ed with helping them become published authors. I don't know for sure, but I may be in that lot. I know he asked me to write an article about mystery fanzines for The Art of Murder, but I don't know if he had anything to do with Five Star Press publishing my books. I like to think he did because his approval would mean a lot to me.
Good-bye, Ed. You were unique.