As 2013 draws to a close, you don’t need me to tell you how harsh and unkind the year has been. I was chatting with Brian Showers about a return trip to Dublin on Tuesday evening, when I heard the shocking news that we had lost Joel Lane. Whilst I can’t consider myself a close friend of Joel’s, I have, like many others brought all of his books over the last decade – including an early adventure where I tracked down a copy of The Earth Wire, his first collection.
I have always tried to have at least one conversation with Joel whenever our paths crossed – usually at a FantasyCon or more intimately at a BFS Open Night or Terror Scribes gathering (more on that later). Joel was one of the good guys, and always will be. I recall a slightly harassed figure moving rapidly towards me at a FantasyCon, and as a volunteer I started to wonder if something was wrong. Was there no water in the reading room, had the fans broken down in the stiffeling prison known as the dealer’s room? The answer was no. It was Joel. He simply had to tell me how grateful he was that I had screened a documentary about the life of Charles Beaumont, and how much it had meant to him.
He was also a huge fan of the FantasyCon disco, which neatly allows me to introduce this personal tribute to Joel in the form of another video – I posted his British Fantasy Award video the other day – yet, this is the one I wanted you all to see. The montage is taken from the wedding of John B. Ford who was the original force behind the Terror Scribes, which explains why there are so many familiar faces in this video.
This video always makes me smile when I’m down, and I hope it brings you a moment of joy in these sorrowful times.
Rest in Piece ~ Joel Lane 1963-2013