Back when I was a kid there were all these weird educational books that classic 1970’s science fiction illustrations in them trying to depict the future. Back in the 1960’s and into the Seventies there was this push for underwater cities and oceanic farms. Many of these relics from the retro future seemed worlds away. The Future Cities : Homes and Living Into The 21st Century was always a good time from the school library and I remember the floating city pyramid megadungeon from the book. Aquatic Cities appeared over and over again in old school post apocalyptic rpg’s such as a Gamma World and more recently in the follow up fan module Rapture From The Deep.
That moment when you realize you spent 3 hours making an NPC for your D&D adventure including her backstory, culture, and even going so far as to create a whole new deity/ portfolio for her only to remember that the PC’s aren’t even going to care about any of that unless it helps them get more treasure.
Just got back from a damn good show to learn that Aaron Allston has passed. He wrote some of the best of the SW expanded (truly expanded) universe, had a head full of hobbit hair, wore the loudest shirts humanly possible, and was an incredibly sweet man to a kid with a silly Star Wars podcast. I’m gonna miss him.
He also introduced me to Ankle Biters (3 feet tall, two inch fangs) and Undead (Aussie zombies). After interviewing him several times and telling me about them, he bought me copies and gave them to me as gifts. I have so many stories of that silly man, and am sad there won’t be any more.
It is with deep sadness that I note the passing of Aaron Allston.
Aaron was a wonderful author, a devastating punster, an erudite teacher, and — most of all — a wonderful friend. His humor in the midst of his pain and medical difficulties was an inspiration to everyone around him, and I will always remember the panels he and I (often with Mike Stackpole) did together. The Aaron, Mike, and Tim show, as we called it, has come to a sad close.
I had the incredible good fortune to be a guest at ChupacabraCon with Aaron Allston just weeks ago. Going from starry-eyed fan of his work on Champions and Dungeons & Dragons (to name a few) to fellow professional guesting at a con was quite an honor. Farewell, Aaron, you will indeed be missed.
Aaron Allston died of massive heart failure yesterday, while Guest of Honor at VisionCon. Aaron was a good man: a creator of things fantastic, yet personally straightforward, cheerful, and wry. His health went downhill while he was still relatively young, but he stayed as active as he could, and he died in the midst of the geekery that he loved and nurtured.
Aaron started off with SJ Games by doing whatever was needed; I think “Circulation Manager” was his first official title. He kept taking more responsibility and doing more neat stuff. Before too long, he was editor of The Space Gamer, and helmed it during some of its very finest days. He helped launch The Fantasy Gamer as a spinoff. He was a powerful force in the early days of Car Wars. He wrote (among many other things) the Harkwood supplement for GURPS and the Car Wars/Champions crossover Autoduel Champions. But he was wasted with a small indie game company, which is what we were at the time. He moved on to write some excellent D&D material for TSR. But when he finally found his level, it was as a bestselling novelist, creating a round dozen Star Wars novels. But I liked the things he wrote out of his own head. My own favorite is Galatea in 2-D, a stand-alone novel so obscure that (I now see) it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page. It was an unsubtle and hugely fun “geek gets superpowers, messes up badly, finds his feet at last and WINS” wish-fulfillment story. It would have made a great summer movie.
Aaron was also the best GM I’ve ever known. The Champions campaign he ran for the SJ Games staff was memorable. A couple of us didn’t actually know the Champions system at all, but Aaron made it not matter, and we all had a fantastic time.
Although he lived in the Austin area, I had not seen him for years. The best I managed was to send the occasional “Say hi to Aaron!” via mutual friends. The lesson there, though you’ve heard it before: Don’t miss a chance to hang out with the good people. They may not be around forever.