I've got some sad news that I need to share. A good friend and supporter of Aphelion has succumbed to cancer. Pro writer Nick Pollotta passed away on April 12th after a lengthy struggle against cancer. He was active and working right up to the bitter end, having sent off the manuscript to a new Mack Bolan novel and deciding on what his next new novel should be just a couple of days before he passed.
Nick was a big supporter of Aphelion. He sent us sample chapters of his newest works on occasion, as well as sending me several books to review here. He and I exchanged several phone calls, back in Aphelion's early days, as well as sporadic e-mails over the years. I never did get to meet him in the flesh, but I considered him a good friend. Nick was the first pro writer I was on a first-name basis with. Long before I started going to conventions to meet more pros. He's read new issues of Aphelion from time to time, when he was between writing projects and wanted to decompress a bit before diving into the next book. When he sent me comments on an issue, he was always very positive about what we do and the quality of our writers.
Nick was the type of writer all of us aspire to become. He never stopped working, wrote in a huge variety of genres, and managed to have a whole lot of fun doing what he loved. At the moment, there are well over 50 books out there that he's written. Using pen-names and House Names, he contributed to the “James Axler's Deathlands” series, “Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan, The Executioner” series, romance novels, paranormal-romance, many other different genres, and yet he still managed to turn out his own unique style of SF&F novels and short stories under his own name.
During his cancer treatments, Nick kept up a stream of updates on Facebook, as well as posts about which book projects he was beginning, working on, or had completed. His struggle against the disease had the usual range of successes and setbacks. Nick never seemed to lose his optimism. Right up to the end he believed that he would beat the cancer. In fact, he seemed to be doing so, and in style too! Even when confined to a hospital bed, he kept writing. He is an example to us all that even in adversity, the creative spirit refuses to submit. A writer writes, despite any obstacle, and only being forcefully dragged off this mortal coil can cease our efforts.
I am comforted by a whimsical image in my imagination of Nick, standing at the Pearly Gates, demanding a laptop and a Wi-Fi connection, saying “I wasn't *finished* yet!”
I'll close with that image. I believe he'd see the humor in it, and smile at it. Rest in peace, my friend. You made a real difference in many people's lives.