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Ralph

Spain
Last night I received some sad and sudden tidings. My friend and agent Ralph Vicinanza died on Sunday night, quite unexpectedly, from a cerebral aneurysm. He was only 60 years ago, and seemingly in great health -- fit, sharp, full of energy. This comes as a total shock.

An obituary is available on the LOCUS website here http://www.locusmag.com/News/2010/09/ralph-vicinanza-dies/ and I sure that many more obituaries and appreciations will follow. In the world of scence fiction and fantasy publishing, Ralph Vicinanza was a giant.



Ralph began his agenting career with the venerable Scott Meredith Agency, handling foreign rights for Meredith's list, but in the late 70s my own agent, Kirby McCauley, lured him away to establish a foreign rights department for Kirby McCauley Ltd. It was in that capacity that I first met Ralph. Up to then, only a handful of my stories had ever been translated (mostly to German), but Ralph changed all that, and all of sudden my books were being published in a dozen different languages throughout the world. It was as a foreign rights man that Ralph first made his name, and no one has ever been better at it. He established a network of affliates and co-agents all around the world, in every country great and small where books were published, and sold translation rights in places where no one had ever sold them before... for Scott Meredith's clients, for Kirby's clients, and finally for his own list. Science fiction and fantasy are global genres today, and my own books and stories have been published in close to forty different languages... thanks to Ralph Vicinanza.

In the 1980s, Ralph and Kirby parted ways, and Ralph established his own agency and began to represent clients on the domestic market. He soon became one of the most important literary agents in New York. Myself, I stayed with Kirby and his sister Kay McCauley for my domestic representation, while Ralph continued to handle all of my foreign language and overseas rights. If you're one of the millions who have read A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE or any of my other works in a language other than English, it was Ralph who helped to bring it to you. There was never a better foreign rights man.

In the 90s, looking for new words to conquer, Ralph established a west coast operation when he founded the management company Created By with partner Vince Gerardis, to develop feature films and television shows based on the works of Ralph's clients. When I split from ICM late in that decade, I turned to them, and Created By has represented my work in Hollywood ever since. The HBO series that we are all so excited about would not exist without the efforts of Created By; it was Ralph and Vince who brought the books to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and spearheaded the complex rounds of negotiation that followed. Ralph was to be co-exec producer on the series. It saddens me to think that he will never get to see it.

He was a man of incredible intelligence, endless energy, and quiet competence. A good guy and a great agent. The world of publishing will not be the same without him. Everyone who ever knew or worked with Ralph is feeling devastated today, myself included.

Comments

( 48 comments )
stegoking
Sep. 29th, 2010 07:30 am (UTC)
Sorry for your loss, George. It sounds as if he lived an interesting and successful life.
kibet
Sep. 29th, 2010 07:38 am (UTC)
That was a nice post as we don't often see how important the people are behind the scenes. Although the tasks you mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg of what he would have done, it does give us a better idea of his importance and that of agents.

It would be nice to dedicate the pilot episode to him with his integral role at the initial stages.
stubbycarey
Sep. 29th, 2010 07:40 am (UTC)
So sorry to hear of this, George. :(
nicnac
Sep. 29th, 2010 07:41 am (UTC)
Travel safe, Ralph.
the_corbie
Sep. 29th, 2010 07:55 am (UTC)
Very sad news.
escarboucle
Sep. 29th, 2010 08:19 am (UTC)
All my condolences :( It's probably thanks to him that I read ASOIAF first, then a lot of other books from him. I'm thankful for his work.
teriegarrison
Sep. 29th, 2010 08:28 am (UTC)
Ralph was my agent, too. So many of us are absolutely stunned by the news.

But what a legacy he leaves to the SF/F world. Without Ralph, our bookshelves would look a lot different.

It was too soon to lose you, Ralph. RIP.

Edited at 2010-09-29 11:38 am (UTC)
hippoiathanatoi
Sep. 29th, 2010 08:46 am (UTC)
Condolences to you, his friends, and his family. Didn't realize the role he played in getting the foreign rights out there.
ext_270377
Sep. 29th, 2010 09:07 am (UTC)
Ralph Vicinanza
Thanks to Ralph Vicinanza to have brought your novels to French readers. RIP
cliff_a_mclane
Sep. 29th, 2010 09:28 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear that. :(

My thoughts are with the family. As a foreign reader (Germany) I'm thankful for his his engagement.
bronxelf_ag001
Sep. 29th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
I am very sorry for you loss.
Gilbert 'Marin' Grant
Sep. 29th, 2010 10:14 am (UTC)
My condolences.
Never an easy thing to bear, I am sorry for your loss.
missysedai
Sep. 29th, 2010 10:24 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry for your loss, George.
hinka83
Sep. 29th, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
Condolences to you, his friends, and his family. I'm one of the guys that got to read your books because of his efforts - it's really sad that a person in his age got to leave this earth so soon.
xraytheenforcer
Sep. 29th, 2010 11:33 am (UTC)
Terrible news. :(
astro_tiger
Sep. 29th, 2010 11:41 am (UTC)
I am so sorry for you and all those who were close to Mr. Vicinanza. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
kyaraelf
Sep. 29th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
I'm sorry for your loss.
rusword
Sep. 29th, 2010 11:58 am (UTC)
... :(
half_shadow
Sep. 29th, 2010 12:33 pm (UTC)
I'm very sorry for your loss. He sounded like a wonderful guy!
ariandar
Sep. 29th, 2010 01:14 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry for your loss. 60 is just too young.
saxster
Sep. 29th, 2010 01:31 pm (UTC)
Good agents and managers are rarer than gold. This is a shame, especially considering that he played such an important role in getting HBO to take on A Song of Ice & Fire. My condolences.
warforged_hero
Sep. 29th, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
This is terrible news. I'm so sorry.
woodbyrne
Sep. 29th, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
I am very sorry to hear this news. My prayers are with his family and friends.
trebla1972
Sep. 29th, 2010 02:54 pm (UTC)
I'm very sorry for your loss, George. My condolonces to all of his friends and family.
the_reaper_
Sep. 29th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)
I am terribly sorry for your loss. <3
miakaxevolved
Sep. 29th, 2010 03:04 pm (UTC)
Sorry for your loss. It's very clear that you thought highly of him and will miss him dearly.
enter_the_raven
Sep. 29th, 2010 03:35 pm (UTC)
I'd like to pass on my deepest sympathies as well. It sounds like he was one of those people that worked so hard in the background and had such an impact, but the nature of his work left him little recognition. No longer; thank you for telling us about Ralph. I'll remember him.
metalgoddessamb
Sep. 29th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC)
so sorry for your loss.
evamagick
Sep. 29th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry for your loss, George. And the loss to the sci-fi world. He sounds like he was an amazing man. *hugs*
ext_262429
Sep. 29th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
I am so sorry for your loss.
Thanks to Ralph for bringing your books in Croatian bookstores.
marinshellstone
Sep. 29th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear this...

RIP. :(
delkytlar
Sep. 29th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
My deepest condolences to you, George.

Believe it or not, even the folks on this side of the negotiating table (I'm in the contracts department at a major NYC publisher) are mourning Ralph's passing. He was a very smart, energetic agent who fought well and hard for his clients, but was always professional, cooperative and understanding. He always had a valid rationale for what he wanted for his clients, but was equally always willing to listen to our concerns. He truly understood the "art of the deal" and the real meanings of "negotiation" and "compromise". We'll miss working with him. I regret that I never had the chance to meet him in person. We lost something special when we moved from face-to-face meetings and negotiations to all electronic discussion.
bleakharvest
Sep. 29th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
What a shame =(
gvanacore
Sep. 29th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
Game Of Thrones
After seeing these clips from the HBO seriesGame Of Throne, they get me very exicted. Even more so for the release of A Dance With Dragons. Finishing up my tour, I was hoping be be able to enjoy while gone, but I know these will be woth the wait.
mmc12
Sep. 29th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. Our thoughts are with his family and all the friends who will miss him. It sounds like he was a very talented person.
proudbronco
Sep. 29th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
RIP Ralph. A terrible loss.
ext_267606
Sep. 29th, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
My most heartfelt condolences
Life is bitter-sweet & short, even for the longest lived among us. I share in your loss and hope he is always remembered by his loved ones. Your fans stand with you in your time of grief & loss.



ayrynkat
Sep. 30th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear this. It's a tragic end for a giant among men. :(
whatamiatailor
Sep. 30th, 2010 02:42 am (UTC)
You have my sympathies George, as does his loved ones.
el_regrs
Sep. 30th, 2010 04:58 am (UTC)
That's horrible. My condolences.

RIP Mr. Ralph Vicinanza.
piotrazub
Sep. 30th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC)

RIP Mr. Ralph Vicinanza. Thanks for bringing Martin's books onto Polish market.
texassky
Sep. 30th, 2010 03:59 pm (UTC)
My condolences to you, and to all of Ralph Vicinanza's family and friends. May he rest in peace.
rattlesnakeroot
Sep. 30th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
My sincerest condolences! He was much too young!
cygmund
Oct. 1st, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
So sorry
Sad to hear about this. Definitely in a better place now, but doesn't mean we can't miss him!
lexcade
Oct. 1st, 2010 02:16 am (UTC)
i'm so sorry to hear that, mr. martin. this is incredibly sad news. my best to his family and to those like yourself who were blessed enough to work with him.
Nigel Bradley
Oct. 1st, 2010 04:02 am (UTC)
I'm very sorry for your loss, and I send my prayers and condolences to his family.
loco73
Oct. 2nd, 2010 08:00 am (UTC)
RIP
I am sorry for your loss! A sad day indeed to loose a man of such quality and talent. You have my sympathy, my thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Vicinanza's family and loved ones!

Rest In Peace!
abqlady2
Oct. 6th, 2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
George, want to say that I'm so sorry for your loss of a dear friend and a darned good agent. He was a great advocate for you and I'm glad you had such a stellar man see you translated into so many languages.
( 48 comments )

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