Very sad news out of Denver for all readers of science fiction and fantasy, and for Wild Cards fans in particular. We’ve just received word that Ed Bryant has died.
Ed did reviews for LOCUS for years, and they’ve posted an excellent obituary for him… more complete than what I could have cobbled together. Find it here: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2017/02/edward-bryant-1945-2017/
In addition to all his other considerable accomplishments, however, Ed was also one of my Wild Cards writers. He’s been part of the series since the very beginning, contributing a story (a collaboration with his dear friend Leanne C. Harper) to the very first anthology, and appearing off and on in other volumes over the years. He created or co-created numerous Wild Cards characters, but the one he used most was Sewer Jack, the gay Cajun subway worker who turned into a twelve-foot long alligator in times of crisis.
Always a fan favorite, Sewer Jack was last seen in volume twelve, DEALER’S CHOICE… but, perhaps fittingly, he will be back for one last hurrah in the forthcoming volume MISSISSIPPI ROLL, in a story penned by David D. Levine. Ed read and approved David’s handling of his character, and was pleased to see him back on stage.
Here’s Ed at happier times, from the 1988 worldcon in New Orleans, when WILD CARDS was a finalist for a Hugo Award. We all dressed to the nines that night, and had a hell of a celebration afterwards, even though we lost to Alan Moore’s WATCHMEN.
I first met Ed in 1971 or 1972, either at a worldcon or perhaps at Harlan Ellison’s house. After so many decades, the details fade. But he’s been a friend for decades. We partied together at more cons than I can recall, competed for Hugos and Nebulas and occasionally for women, attended Milfords together and critiqued each other’s work. He visited Santa Fe and stayed at my house, I visited Denver and stayed at his.
Out here in the west, Ed was often asked to preside at cons as a toastmaster and master of ceremonies, a task at which he excelled. He had a wry, dry wit, always funny, never cruel. No one who attended the 1981 worldcon in Denver will ever forget Ed in his maroon tails presenting the Hugo Awards on roller skates. So far as I’m concerned, he’s right up there with Connie Willis and Robert Silverberg as the Best Hugo Hosts Ever.
Ed’s health had been failing for some years, sadly, and he was not able to attend as many cons as he had in the past. But I was fortunate enough to see him in November at Tuscon in Tucson, Arizona, where he was once again the toastmaster, and at MidAmericon II in Kansas City a few months before that. He was frailer than he used to be, but still the same old Ed, sharp and funny as ever
Fandom and the world of science fiction will miss his gentle wit, his easy laugh, his talent. For for those of us who were his brothers and sisters in Wild Cards, our universe will never be the same. One of our aces has fallen.