Fellow writer and friend Ken Rand passed away on April 21, 2009.
Ken was like a sponge, always interviewing writers, talking about writing, listening, asking questions, and absorbing everything. I first met Ken around 1993 when Rebecca and I were guests at the Life, the Universe, and Everything conference at BYU. Ken was assigned to watch over us (and to procure us coffee on a distressingly decaffeinated Mormon campus). We had only to mention that something “would be nice” and it would appear before the end of the next panel. But Ken got something out of all that work, too—he took every spare moment to ask me for advice on being a writer, as he did with any writer he met.
Two years later he won second place in the Writers of the Future contest, then he won 3rd place in the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds contest. He wrote many articles, gave workshops, shared every bit of writing advice he learned with any other aspiring writers.
He wrote quirky, noncommercial fiction that was always entertaining, though the markets didn’t quite know what to do with it. Most of the stuff I remember belonged in a strange fantasy western universe — Pax Dakota, The Golems of Laramie County, Fairy BrewHaHa at the Lucky Nickel Saloon.
And Ken also made kaleidoscopes that he gave to his friends. Amazing things, and unexpected. I have several, and I cherish them.
I last saw Ken in fall 2007 when a Last Days of Krypton book-signing tour took me to Salt Lake City. The driver was taking me around to sign stock at area bookstores, and Ken called to see if we could arrange to meet somewhere. Even then, he was quite ill (liver cancer, I believe, though he only referred to it as “my owwie”), and he knew he could never make it to the formal signing, but he did meet me in a coffee shop at a Barnes & Noble and we sat for about an hour. As usual, he was intensely interested, asking me dozens of questions, trying to find ways to spread the word about his books from Yard Dog Press or Five Star. He never gave up, never stopped pushing. The writing world is poorer for his loss, and I’m going to miss him a great deal.
You can see more about him on Ken Rand’s website.
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