Mike Resnick (1942-2020)

Author Mike Resnick, 77, died January 9, 2020 of lymphoma. Resnick was a prolific and acclaimed SF, nominated 27 times for Hugo Awards and winning five. His Hugo Award winners include his first nomination “Kirinyaga” (1988), “The Manamouki” (1990), “Seven Views of Olduval Gorge” (1994), “The 43 Antarean Dynasties” (1997), and “Travels with My Cats” (2004), and his most recent fiction nomination was for “The Homecoming” (2011). His winners and nominees appear in Win Some, Lose Some: The Hugo Award Winning (and Nominated) Short Science Fiction and Fantasy (2012). He was a finalist for 11 Nebula Awards, and won for “Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge”. In all, he produced over 70 novels, more than 25 collections, hundreds of stories and articles, and edited over 40 anthologies. In 1995 he received a Skylark Award.

Resnick began publishing with Edgar Rice Burroughs-inspired novella The Forgotten Sea of Mars (1965). He followed that with the Ganymede series: The Goddess of Ganymede (1967) and Pursuit on Ganymede (1968). After Redbeard (1969), he stepped away from SF for some time, instead writing pseudonymous erotica and Gothic novels (likely numbering in the hundreds) before returning to the field and his own byline in 1980 with tie-in Battlestar Galactica 5: Galactica Discovers Earth (1980, with Glen A. Larson).

Much of Resnick’s work was set in his sprawling future history Birthright Universe, including The Soul Eater (1981), Birthright: The Book of Man (1982), the Dead Enders series, Tales of the Galactic Midway, Tales of the Velvet Comet, the Santiago sequence, the Chronicles of Distant Worlds, the Oracle series, the Widowmaker series, and the Starship series. Many of those works were inspired by African history and culture, notably “Kirinyaga” (1982) and fix-up Kirinyaga: A Fable of Utopia (1998), Clarke Award finalist Ivory: A Legend of Past and Future (1988), and collection An Alien Land (1997).

Other works include Stalking the Unicorn: A Fable of Tonight (1987) and the other Fables of Tonight; the Chronicles of Lucifer Jones; the Dragon America stories; the Encounters series; weird Westerns beginning with The Buntline Special (2010); and standalones including The Branch (1984), Second Contact (1990), The Red Tape War (1991, with Jack L. Chalker & George Alec Effinger), and The Cassandra Project (2012, with Jack McDevitt).

His short work was collected in many volumes, among them Through Darkest Resnick with Gun and Camera (1990), Will the Last Person to Leave the Planet Please Shut off the Sun? (1992), New Dreams for Old (2006); Dreamwish Beasts and Snarks (2009), Blasphemy (2010), and Soulmates (2016, with Lezli Robyn).

Resnick also wrote mysteries, tie-ins novels, and non-fiction, among them Putting It Together: Turning Sow’s Ear Drafts into Silk Purse Stories (2000), I Have This Nifty Idea… Now What Do I Do With It? (2001), and Resnick at Large (2003). The Business of Science Fiction: Two Insiders Discuss Writing and Publishing (2010) collects a series of dialogues between Resnick and Barry Malzberg published in the SFWA Bulletin over many years.

Resnick began editing anthologies with Alternate Presidents (1992), producing many books in collaboration with Martin H. Greenberg, including SF mystery anthologies Whatdunits (1992) and More Whatdunits (1993). He co-edited two Future Earths anthologies with Gardner Dozois (both 1993). Other notable anthologies include Stars: Original Stories Based on the Songs of Janis Ian (2003, with Janis Ian), New Voices in Science Fiction (2003), Worldcon Guest of Honor Speeches (2006, with Joe Siclari), and Red Tide (2014).

He edited fiction for Jim Baen’s Universe from 2007 to 2010, and began editing Galaxy’s Edge magazine in 2013, with the best stories from the latter collected in two volumes: Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2013-2014 (2014) and The Best of Galaxy’s Edge 2015-2017 (2018). His work was the subject of Fiona Kelleghan’s Mike Resnick: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide to His Work (2000)

Michael Diamond Resnick was born March 5, 1942 in Chicago IL. He attended the University of Chicago from 1959-61, where he met wife Carol L. Cain (married 1961). He worked as a file clerk in Chicago until 1965, then began to focus on writing and editing; in the ’60s and ’70s he edited men’s magazines and tabloid newspapers, and wrote about horse racing and dog breeding, in addition to writing fiction. For many years he bred and exhibited collies and ran a kennel.

Resnick was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma in November 2019, and his health declined sharply near the end of that year. In early January, doctors discontinued treatment. Resnick is survived by his wife and their daughter, author Laura Resnick.

5 thoughts on “Mike Resnick (1942-2020)

  • January 9, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    This is a great loss in the field of storytellers and fandom. I found him to be a kind and thoughtful man and a Gentle Giant when I would see him on panels and dealers rooms at cons

  • January 9, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    No one in science fiction has paid forward more than Mike. He tirelessly mentored aspiring and new writers.

  • January 10, 2020 at 6:35 am

    One of my all time favorite authors. I am very sorry to see him go. My condolences to his family. It was fun buying books from him on E-Bay, which he always signed!

  • January 11, 2020 at 11:56 am

    I was lucky to meet him at Worldcon in Kansas City, and have him autograph one of his older collections which he was surprised to see! His humorous works are laugh-out-loud wonderful! R.I.P.

  • January 22, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Shocked to read this today! I am an old school friend of Mike’s and check in on him now and then to say hello. 😢


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