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September 10, 2013 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Sci-fi author A.C. Crispin has died. She was 63.

Although she was the author of her own StarBridge novel series, she was best known for her work in tie-in fiction. Her titles in this genre included: Interestingly, Star Trek: Yesterday's Son was written while Ms. Crispin worked at the US Census Bureau. It was the first Star Trek novel that wasn't also a film novelization to reach the New York Times Bestseller List.

After joining the Science Fiction Writers Association in 1983, Ms. Crispin went on to serve as the Eastern Regional Director and later, the Vice President. She became known as a fierce advocate for writers, and co-founded the SFWA's "scam watchdog" committee Writer Beware in 1998.

Ryan Britt eulogized Ms. Crispin on tor.com by saying: "A.C. Crispin will be missed for her vigilant devotion to sticking up for writers, her wonderful candor, her thoughtful and exciting writing, and most of all, for giving the fans of various fictional worlds sweet and unforgettable gifts."
posted by zooropa (39 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
She was the best. Period, end of sentence.
posted by jscalzi at 1:31 PM on September 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


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I would like to thank her for fulfilling hours of extension literature. (I don't like the word tie in.)
posted by Samizdata at 1:35 PM on September 10, 2013


Can I call shame on those of us who never even considered whether "A.C." might be a woman? (like, um, me).

Oh and

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posted by jepler at 1:37 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


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posted by jim in austin at 1:38 PM on September 10, 2013


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posted by Lokheed at 1:41 PM on September 10, 2013


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posted by immlass at 1:43 PM on September 10, 2013


I read my copy of V so many times it fell apart. I found another copy of it about 10 years ago and was really pleased (in a "Yay, I still like the same things I did when I was 10" way) how well it stood up. She's also pretty much the reason I wrote fan fiction before I realized that was a thing people did. (Why not give what you saw on the screen a deeper life?)

Can I call shame on those of us who never even considered whether "A.C." might be a woman? (like, um, me).


Pre-teen me was corrected on this, politely but firmly, by the awesome woman who would special order me books at our local Waldenbooks. One of those weird life changing moments that you couldn't possibly know at the time is shaping your worldview.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:43 PM on September 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


In April, she was named a grand master by the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.

Who knew there was such a thing? So my Buffy/Harry Potter crossover fanfic has a chance!
posted by cjorgensen at 1:44 PM on September 10, 2013


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posted by jquinby at 1:47 PM on September 10, 2013


Can I call shame on those of us who never even considered whether "A.C." might be a woman? (like, um, me).

That may have been deliberate on her part.

Female authors in SF and fantasy sometimes obscure their real names or use alternates to get around the rampant sexism of fans and creators in those genres. For example, Joanne Rowling famously wrote as "J.K. Rowling" because her publishers thought young boys would not read a book written by a woman.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:52 PM on September 10, 2013


Man, I'm trying to put into words how much Yesterday's Son meant to me. How I was this mess of preteen girl who desperately wanted to be elsewhere, and then there was this book that said "Hey, it's totally cool to expand on something you're watching."

And it changed everything. The stories in my head became stories on paper, then on the Internet, where I learned how to code, met so many of my friends, found my husband, and discovered this whole crazy amazing world called fandom.

And it's all because of Yesterday's Son.

So she introduced me to this entire world I live in.

Thanks, Ann. Thank you for everything.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:53 PM on September 10, 2013 [11 favorites]


I was intrigued by the title of this post. This blog post explains that it was the first line she ever wrote in her first novel, "Yesterday's Son", a Star Trek novel, which continued the events of "All our yesterdays" from the first series. (where Spock and McCoy have wild adventures in a library.)
posted by notmtwain at 2:02 PM on September 10, 2013


D.C. Fontana was another Star Trek example of women using their initials professionally
posted by thelonius at 2:04 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow. I loved Yesterday's Son back in the day, and I thought the three Han Solo Star Wars novels she did were exceptionally good takes on the character, but I never put two and two together to realize that they were written by the same person. Much respect.

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posted by vibrotronica at 2:18 PM on September 10, 2013


Also: C.J. Cherryh.
posted by scolbath at 2:24 PM on September 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


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posted by Woodroar at 2:28 PM on September 10, 2013


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posted by Smart Dalek at 2:49 PM on September 10, 2013


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(and so young!)

She was one of my favourite ST writers - and the two Yesterday books were among the few of my largish teenage collection.

I always knew she was female, because I read the introduction to Time for Yesterday, which I believe was signed "Ann". Also, it talked about how fandom and tie-in writing changed between the early and late 1980s.
posted by jb at 3:23 PM on September 10, 2013


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posted by running order squabble fest at 3:27 PM on September 10, 2013


few that I kept. (the collection was up to 20-30 at one point - now about 5 or so, including hers).
posted by jb at 3:57 PM on September 10, 2013


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posted by Gelatin at 3:59 PM on September 10, 2013


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posted by Nyrath at 5:10 PM on September 10, 2013


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Sarek is one of my all-time favorite books. It has its flaws (the Peter Kirk plot feels underdeveloped) but I can't tell you how many times I read that, or what an impact it had on my views on long term relationships and romance. Massive inspiration for my second book, too. Very very sad to hear of her passing.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:23 PM on September 10, 2013


She will be missed, very much.
posted by asfuller at 5:59 PM on September 10, 2013


I read a LOT of Star Trek books when I was a tween/teen in the 80s, and Yesterday's Son was my favorite. AC Crispin is the only author I remember. She'll be missed.
posted by Measured Out my Life in Coffeespoons at 6:37 PM on September 10, 2013


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posted by allthinky at 7:27 PM on September 10, 2013


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posted by typewriter at 7:37 PM on September 10, 2013


Sarek is a great book, but I must also tip my hat to her amazing Han Solo trilogy. If anyone really had to fix/explain/retcon the "Kessel run in under twelve parsecs line", I'm glad it was A.C. Crispin. But the whole trilogy is incredible.
posted by crossoverman at 11:22 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember finding out her gender when I was like 15 or so. I thought, huh, why did I assume the author was a man? Oh well, and I kept reading. Then many years later I'd continually be surprised that people actually thought that girls couldn't write authentic sci fi. I guess maybe their uteruses might fall out or something.

Time For Yesterday was one of my favorite reads. Next stop, amazon.
posted by disconnect at 12:33 AM on September 11, 2013


Also: C.J. Cherryh.
posted by scolbath at 11:24 AM on September 10 [4 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


I might genuinely no bullshit cry when she dies. I love her stuff to bits, though her endless Foreigner series unfortunately leaves me cold.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:16 AM on September 11, 2013


Also: C.J. Cherryh.

Who also got her last name changed, by Don Wohlheim, from the original Cherry to Cherryh.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:29 AM on September 11, 2013


I haven't read any of Ms Crispin's fiction, but Writer Beware has been fighting the good fight against publishing scammers for years. I'm so sorry to hear of her passing.
posted by Georgina at 1:55 AM on September 11, 2013


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posted by djeo at 5:10 AM on September 11, 2013


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I knew of her only as a tie-in writer, and I can't say I have read any of her stuff ... except V:East Coast Crisis, which I think I was given for Christmas in 1985. It was probably by first tie-in novel. I remember nothing about it, except it was a pretty good V story, much like the mini-series (which we loved).

People seem to genuinely like her tie-ins, so maybe I won't be such a tie-in snob and pick up some of her stuff.
posted by Mezentian at 5:31 AM on September 11, 2013


Tie-ins can often exceed the original: the novelisations of the ST movies are all better than the films, and the ST novels often better than any episode, especially Crispin's. The character development and special effects are just both better in text form. I don't think I would be a Star Trek fan if I hadn't read the novels; they showed me how very good the stories could be.
posted by jb at 5:50 AM on September 11, 2013


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BTW, if we're mentioning sci-fi authors who use initials due to potential gender discrimination, especially in light of Star Trek:

DC Fontana.

I mean, come on.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:36 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by cass at 7:20 AM on September 11, 2013


Cross-posting my response when I received this sad news via the Writer Beware newsletter:

Ann was an amazing advocate for authors and those entering the self-publishing biz who weren't as savvy in identifying bad deals and scams as she was, and she did what she could to protect them while her own career still flourished. Truly, she was amazingly talented and selfless until the very end of her life.

Here is Ann's last FB post from the day before she passed (Sept. 4); it's poignant and shows how dedicated she was to her life's work:

"I've been hesitant to make this post, but it's time. I want to thank you all for your good wishes and prayers. I fear my condition is deteriorating. I am doing the best I can to be positive but I probably don't have an awful lot of time left. I want you all to know that I am receiving excellent care and am surrounded by family and friends.

I wish all aspiring writers the will to finish and a good contract. Please continue to monitor Writer Beware and be careful who you sign with. Victoria Strauss and Richard White are there to help.

I've asked Michael to collect and read me your messages. As I don't know how things will proceed, I don't know if I'll have the strength to post on Facebook again."

Godspeed, Ann, to the heavens... and beyond.

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posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:02 AM on September 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


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posted by Lynsey at 9:51 AM on September 11, 2013


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