Remembering Christopher Stasheff

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Ortho the Frank
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Remembering Christopher Stasheff

Post by Ortho the Frank »

I'll post more later about his final hours, but for now I just wanted to say thank you to all of you, his fans.

About ten years ago, dad's writing career seemed to have stalled. He was continuing to write and submit manuscripts, but hadn't been published in several years. He was awfully down on himself (as was his way), and commented often that he was a washed-up has-been hack writer that nobody remembered. I told him that was nonsense, of course, and he said he appreciated the effort to cheer him up... but I could tell he didn't really believe me.

So about nine years ago, I set up this website to help dad reconnect with his fans. It was more successful than I anticipated. We had lots of traffic from the start, and dozens of fans (and old friends) reached out to him through the forums. He began to think he hadn't been forgotten after all. That was enough to convince him to let me drag him to SFF conventions again, and every time he attended one several fans were surprised and excited to meet him and brought books for him to sign. He enjoyed those last few years of cons, culminating in his last one (AnachroCon in 2017), where he was even Guest of Honor.

At one of those cons, I learned about self-publishing through ebooks, and decided to self-publish Her Majesty's Wizard as an experiment. Within a month, it was clear that not only were there still LOTS of people interested in buying his books, but that this was a potential new revenue stream for his retirement - among other things, he was able to use ebook income to attend more conventions! By the time he passed, ebook sales were providing several thousand dollars of extra income per year.

I haven't heard dad refer to himself as a washed-up has-been at all over the last five years. And he hasn't said anything about being forgotten in a long time.

And I have all of your to thank for that. Sure, I could have set up a website and published ebooks, but without fans to visit the forums and buy the books, none of that would have mattered. It might even have backfired, making dad more sure than ever that he'd been forgotten. So please, congratulate yourselves for cheering up an old man, giving him an excuse to get out of the house and hang out with the SFF community again, and giving him a bit more financial security in his final years.

But most of all, congratulate yourselves (and I personally thank you from the depths of my heart) for letting an old man pass from this life secure in the satisfying knowledge that his literary works (and himself) were remembered, appreciated, and loved.
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Re: Remembering Christopher Stasheff

Post by misterfive »

I was very sad to hear of your father's passing. His books were a very profound influence in my life, and I learned so much from them. Thank you for setting up these forums so that I had the chance to let him know that directly. I'm imagining him currently hanging out discussing philosophy and physics with St Vidicon and Maxwell's Demon.
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Re: Remembering Christopher Stasheff

Post by mf2112 »

I was sad earlier when I read the email since there have been some tough times personally over the last few years but your post and the great memories it brought up bring a tear of joy as well.

The world of Gramarye was more than great magic when I was young, it was a welcome home I returned to time and again over the years and gave me a lifelong sense of duty to drop puns whenever the need arose, which is all too frequent in some opinions. Well.... they will get over it.

Thank you for letting us share then and now.
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Re: Remembering Christopher Stasheff

Post by BladeDVD »

Thank you for the email notice!

Very sad to hear about the passing of your father. He brought a lot of joy to my life in the 30 plus years I've been reading his work! To this day I think about lessons and ideas I read in his books and look forward to sharing them and passing them on to my daughter.

God bless.

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Re: Remembering Christopher Stasheff

Post by kf6eml »

I replied to the email, but I can imagine that your inbox exploded that day...

I am very sorry to hear that we have lost our beloved Author, but given how much his health has declined, I cannot help but feel happy for him, in that his having to suffer through the problems and pains is over. I am happy for him that his new life is begun, and those pains and physical ailments will never again be a worry.

I am grateful that God saw fit to give him to us for the time we had him, and that he brought enjoyment to so many. I am pleased that he was able to bring that entertainment to us without resorting to the use of cheap thrills, prurient writing, or the glorification of vice, but rather that he glorified hard work, honesty, morality, and faithfulness as ways to win against evil. So many authors have sold "justice porn" or just out-and-out porn to appeal to the base desires of their readers in order to make sales, but your father never took that route. His ethics came through clearly in his writings, and make me sorry that I never got to know him or have him as an instructor.

I have lost loved ones, so I know that this time is difficult, and it will be difficult in the coming weeks, but I also know that things will settle. You will never stop missing him, but it will get easier. Loved ones have left holes in my life by dying, but I often remember them, the things they shared with me, and the good ways they shaped my life. Somehow, that is enough to keep those holes from turning into pits of despair, and instead become wells of joy, from which I can take some help in times when I need it. Given the character that your father showed through his work and the comments of people who knew him, I would imagine that he left a very large and deep well of joy for you, and I hope that you find comfort there.

I will try to make it to the services. I don't live too far away.
I'm not catholic, so please forgive any faux pas that I may commit out of ignorance.

Edit, June 25
My car had some maintenance issues, and I could not attend. I'm sorry to have missed the chance to say a final goodbye, and to express my condolences in person to the family.
Thanks, Ortho, for all the work that you have been doing, on the books, and more importantly, in caring for your parents.
Last edited by kf6eml on Mon Jun 25, 2018 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Remembering Christopher Stasheff

Post by magdalene74 »

I just heard, i am so so so so sorry for your loss, Ed, and for ours as well, as his devoted fans. Im sure i told him before, and i hope he realized what a big part he and his work played in my and so many others lives, including those of my four children... three boys and a girl. One Catholic to another i know he is in a better place. God bless you all.
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Re: Remembering Christopher Stasheff

Post by veritanuda »

I only just heard about this because my laptop was in for repair but I have to say it hit me square in the chest. I feel the same sort of loss as I did for Douglas Adams in so much as an author who shaped me from very early on.

I cannot really put into words how when I was sucked into the world of Gramarye via the original print of King Kobold I really started feeling grown up tackling complex issues of mythology mind control and time travel. It was only a short hop from there to finding out the origin of Rod, Fess and Gwen and then I was carried off down a legacy that was not only fictional but historical as well.

I am sad there will be no new works but I am heartened there are still unfinished works because where there are Chris's ideas there are new tales to tell.

My thoughts go to his family and a heartfelt misery at what has to happen to us all. I am just glad I can keep sharing his work with people and bringing them into the same world I grew up in.

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Re: Remembering Christopher Stasheff

Post by magdalene74 »

I keep coming back to this cause i feel like ive lost my best friend... I swore i was done when he killed off Gwen and then Rod in warlocks last ride, i threw that book in a closet and never wanted to look at it again, feeling took me many years to pick it up again and still my stomach churned. I feel that way again now, have ever since i heard...I know none of this is a grain of sand on the beach of your grief but i kept feeling it should be said..the thought that he thought, even for a minute, that he was a forgotten has been breaks my heart because we, his fans, never forgot him. We watched book stores and librarys, hoping for more of his books, knowing that fertile mind could never go dark, wishing he would share with us. To know now, unequivocably, that there will be no more stories, that we will never hear of the next generation of gramarye witches, or see the way those in merovance butcher the works of other great authors to work their magic, my heart is just so broken.
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Re: Remembering Christopher Stasheff

Post by shalym »

I've been re-reading the Gramarye books in order, and just came across this passage in The Warlock Enraged:
"No, don't worry about me this time. Some day, I'll probably meet that enemy who's just a little too much stronger than I am—but Alfar isn't it. For all his powers and all his nastiness, he doesn't really worry me that much."
Dr. Stasheff met the enemy that was too strong for him, and its name was Parkinson's.

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