After leaving a final farewell to her fans on Facebook, author Ann Crispin (who you might also know as A. C. Crispin), died yesterday morning as the result of a two-year battle with cancer.
Crispin’s best known work is perhaps her Han Solo Trilogy, but she’s also written novels that expand upon the settings of the Star Trek, Alien, and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises, writing the first Star Trek novel to make it to the New York Times Bestseller List that wasn’t a novelization of a film, Yesterday’s Son. Tor.com has a better eulogy of her work than I can give, but her legacy as a supporter of aspiring authors and a crusader against fraud may have found a similar reach as her writing.
Crispin served as both the Eastern Regional Director and later Vice President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, in which capacity she founded the SFWA’s Committee on Writing Scams. The Committee eventually culminated in the creation of Writer Beware, a website, blog, database, and free research service dedicated to informing on and exposing the fraudulent players in the business of scamming aspiring authors.
I’ll be honest with you: I’d never heard of Ann Crispin before yesterday, and I’ve never read a single Star Wars expanded universe novel, but I do know first hand what it’s like to, as a young female writer, suddenly discover a female creator in the niche interest that you thought, up until then, was wholly male dominated. I also know what it’s like to discover that that androgynous, initialed pseudonym is the timid publisher’s cover for a female author, and to know that there aren’t just other women out there who share your interests, but that there are other women out there who have created the stuff you are interested in, and were doing it long before anybody started writing articles about the rise of the female geek. It seems a certainty, to me, that the work of Ann Crispin must have caused some other nerdy women to have parallel experiences to mine, and for that alone, she would deserve all the recognition I can give her.