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Another Ace Falls

Our writing community here in New Mexico, and the world of SF and fantasy in general, took a blow this afternoon when our friend Victor Milan died after two months of suffering and struggle in a series of Albuquerque hospitals.

I first met Vic not long after I moved to Santa Fe in 1979. Outgoing, funny, friendly, and incredibly bright, he was one of the cornerstones of the New Mexico SF crowd for decades, a regular at Bubonicon in Albuquerque, the perennial masquerade host at Archon in St. Louis, a fan, a lover of ferrets and collector of guns, a gamer (I can't tell you how many times we stayed up till dawn playing Superworld, Call of Cthulhu, and other RPGs with Vic, and laughing at the outrageous antics of the characters he created). But above all, he was a writer.



He wrote all sorts of things, in and out of our genre: westerns, historicals, men's action adventure, more books than I could possibly list... but it was in science fiction that he did his best work. CYBERNETIC SAMURAI and CYBERNETIC SHOGAN were two of the best known from the old days. More recently, he was finding new readers by the score all around the world with his DINOSAUR LORDS series.



He was also a Wild Cards writer, of course; one of my aces. In a sense he was the father of Wild Cards. It was Vic who gave me the Superworld game as a birthday present back in 1983, and it was those long long nights of playing Superworld that eventually inspired me to start Wild Cards.

Vic was an integral part of the series right from the very start, and the characters he created were among our most popular. Among them were the Russian ace Molniya, the Harlem Hammer, the twisted German psychopath Mackie Messer, Dr. Pretorius, Ice Blue Sibyl, Flipper, Dust, the Darkness... and above all, Mark Meadows, aka Cap'n Trips, and his "friends" Jumpin' Jack Flash, Starshine, Moonchild, Aquarius, Cosmic Traveller, Monster... and the Radical. The long saga of Mark Meadows began in volume one, and was brought to a close in volume twenty, SUICIDE KINGS. It was a long strange trip indeed, and every step of it was exciting, thanks to Vic.



Sadly, Vic's health has not been good in the past few years, and it finally gave out on him. But his warmth, his wit, and his talent will be long remembered by everyone who knew him, and his words will live on after him.

And, as irony would have it, he has another story coming out tomorrow on Tor.com. It's a Wild Cards story called "EverNight," set in the catacombs of Paris and featuring Candace Sessou, the Darkness, a character he introduced in SUICIDE KINGS. The link will not go live until 9 am EST tomorrow, but once it does you can read the story here, for free:

https://www.tor.com/2018/02/14/wild-cards-evernight-victor-milan/

It saddens me that Vic did not live long enough to see his story on Tor.com, or appreciate the gorgeous piece of John Picacio art that adorns it (he was a huge fan of John's)... but I hope that many of you will read "EverNight." If you like it, do leave a comment. I think that would have pleased him.

I believe that Vic may have another book or two in his DINOSAUR LORDS sequence coming out, but I am not sure of that. I do know that he will be represented in two more Wild Cards books. He has a story in TEXAS HOLD 'EM, due out in October, and a collaboration in the book we're doing now, JOKER MOON. Would that I could say that there will be many more after that, but I fear those will be the last.

Fare thee well, Vic. It was an honor knowing you.

Comments

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Sam Coulter
Feb. 14th, 2018 06:12 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that your friend passed away George. My wife's grandmother recently passed away and as my mother-in-law said, the ones we love are never with us long enough and we're never ready to let them go when the time comes.
John Bonfiglio
Feb. 14th, 2018 06:18 am (UTC)
Cybernetic Samurai and Wild Cards introduced me to Victor and his work, and was sad to here this today. We chatted a few times on FB in a WC group, and he was always quick with a funny remark. Always kind, he was a hero to me over the years, and I hope he knows how many people are sad at his passing, and yet he will endure for years to come from all his fantastic worlds he helped create and the people who inhabit them. I'm tearing up writing this, but I wished I told him how he helped a geeky college student pass college with his work. I always thought Mark was a bit of Victor, the kind ace, who loved family and friends. Always.

Miss you already.
hippoiathanatoi
Feb. 14th, 2018 08:39 am (UTC)
Very sad to hear this news. Victor's DINOSAUR LORDS was fun reading, and Mark Meadows is absolutely one of the greatest characters in the WILD CARDS series.
karen poffenroth
Feb. 14th, 2018 08:52 am (UTC)
Farewell Victor
I am sorry for your loss and for the (less personal) loss impacting us Wild Cards fans. Captain Tripps was second only to The Sleeper
supergee
Feb. 14th, 2018 10:45 am (UTC)
Blogging this. Thanx
Drew Bittner
Feb. 14th, 2018 12:48 pm (UTC)
So sad to hear this. Though I only knew him through Facebook, he was always warm, generous and outgoing. I'll miss him tremendously and extend my condolences to his family, friends and many fans.
He truly was an ace.
sdschaffer
Feb. 14th, 2018 02:04 pm (UTC)
RIP Victor
ObscureRefWmn
Feb. 14th, 2018 02:31 pm (UTC)
An excellent tribute to our friend. I still am trying to absorb the impact. Thank you, George.
Zoanne Allen
Feb. 14th, 2018 03:51 pm (UTC)
Vic's Passing
The whole Archon community is in mourning. Vic is the second of our "family" to leave us in the last three days, and there is much sadness here. Vic was a marvelous person and much loved. I always looked forward to his trip to St. Louis, which included a get-together at a local Mexican restaurant before the con started. As many have noted, the Masquerade will never be the same.
exceedscharacte
Feb. 14th, 2018 04:36 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry for the loss of your friend.
Jason Powell
Feb. 14th, 2018 04:42 pm (UTC)
RIP
Condolences to you and the rest of the Wild Cards authors, and all who knew Vic. I only ever met him online, but I wanted to one day meet him in person to shake his hand, and tell him face to face how much his work has meant to me over the years. Mark Meadows and friends were my number one favorite character in Wild Cards, and more than once online I bugged Vic with geeky fanboy questions about him. Vic was always super-awesome in his replies, and definitely interacted with me not as if I were an anonymous fan but as if I were a genuine buddy.

To paraphrase the Mechanic ... "Ave atque vale, Vic."
Jim Heneghan
Feb. 14th, 2018 05:22 pm (UTC)
To Cap'n Tripps, To Jet Boy!
The Jolsen story comes too soon
zyvette1
Feb. 14th, 2018 05:53 pm (UTC)
My deepest condolences to you for the loss of your friend of many years. May you, his family and friends find solace in the mark he made on this world, his work and the lifetime of memories you share. RIP Victor.
Rich Steeves
Feb. 14th, 2018 05:57 pm (UTC)
I am terribly saddened by this news
I have been a Wild Cards fan for nearly 30 years, and, as a teen, I was captivated by the character of Captain Trips and his Friends. As the books went along, Mark Meadows had, I think, the most complex character journey, and I loved it all. I loved Mackie Messer and Sara Morgenstern and other creations of Vic Milan. His writing spoke to me.

Then, via the Internet, I got to interact with him, first on the Captain Comics message board, then on Facebook, where he accepted my friend request and was always kind, funny, intelligent and interesting. I had plans to go to Bubonicon last year but they fell through, and now I am even more disappointed that I did not get to meet him. He was a talented writer, and, to me at least, a good man. It's always tough to see a hero fall (I was sad when Edward Bryant passed), but this one strikes me personally. Love to all his pets, family and friends (and it seems he had many), and may he rest in peace. He'll be missed
ravenclaw_eric
Feb. 14th, 2018 05:58 pm (UTC)
I hadn't known he was ill. My condolences to his family and all who knew him. He will be greatly missed.
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