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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.


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Sep. 29th, 2010 06:12 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear this...

RIP. :(
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.
Sep. 29th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
What a shame =(
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.
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.
Sep. 29th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
RIP Ralph. A terrible loss.
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.

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

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

RIP Mr. Ralph Vicinanza. Thanks for bringing Martin's books onto Polish market.
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.
Sep. 30th, 2010 06:23 pm (UTC)
My sincerest condolences! He was much too young!
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!
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.
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George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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