John M. Ford Biography

(Novelist, Writer, Game Designer)

Birthday: April 10, 1957 (Aries)

Born In: East Chicago

John M. Ford is remembered as the drollest and the most scholarly author in America. He was a regular contributor to several online discussions and composed countless poems, particularly in blank verse. During his life, he also wrote a number of lampoons and parodies of the works of many known writers. He was also a regular at science fiction conventions and is remembered today for his good-humor, sprightly spirit and his striking aura, that attracted a number of fans. His works were mostly written in the ‘science-fiction’ and ‘fantasy’ category and two of his best-known works include ‘The Last Hot Time’ and ‘Growing up Weightless’. Apart from these two works, he has also penned a number of reviews and has authored short-fiction works such as ‘Scrabble with God’, ‘Street of Dreams’, ‘This, Too, We Reconcile’ and ‘Walkaway Clause’. Most of his novels were speckled in setting and style, but he used the ‘Bildungsroman’ setting for a great number of his works. Apart from writing, he helped design a number of games including ‘The Yellow Clearance Black Box Blues’, ‘Star Trek III’ and also wrote Klingon manuals and several RPG articles.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: John Milo

Died At Age: 49

Quotes By John M. Ford Poets

Died on: September 25, 2006

place of death: Minneapolis

U.S. State: Indiana

More Facts

education: Indiana University

awards: 2005 - Origins Award for Role-Playing Game Supplement of the Year
1998 - Minnesota Book Award for Fantasy & Science Fiction
1993 - Philip K. Dick Award

1991 - Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Supplement
1989 - World Fantasy Award for Best Short Fiction
1989 - Rhysling Award for Long Poem
1985 - Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Supplement
1984 - World Fantasy Award for Best Novel

Childhood & Early Life
John Milo ‘Mike’ Ford was born in East Chicago, Indiana, and was raised in Whiting.
He studied at the Indiana University Bloomington in the 70s and was an active member of the Society for Creative Anachronism and the science fiction guild.
While he was still a student, he published his first short story, ‘This, Too, We Reconcile’ in 1976.
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He left the university and moved to New York where he was employed with the ‘Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction’ magazine. His job was to write fiction, poetry, game reviews and articles.
His last entry for the magazine was in 1981. Around this time, he also authored ‘The Princess of the Air’. Along with George H. Scithers and Darrell Schweitzer, he penned ‘On Writing Science Fiction’, which released the same year.
He authored a Star-Trek tie-up novel, ‘The Final Reflection’ in 1984 and the next year, he wrote the short-story, ‘Scrabble with God’, which was once again reprinted at a later date. He also helped design the game ‘Double Paranoia’ along with Curtis Smith, which released the following year.
He penned another Star-Trek tie-in novel, ‘How Much for Just the Planet?’ in 1987. The following year, he wrote ‘The Scholars of Night’, which was written in the thriller category, containing a Christopher Marlowe play.
In 1989, he authored one of his lesser-known works, ‘Casting Fortune’, which is in fact, a collection of stories set in the ‘Liavek shared world’. The same year, he penned one of his most famous poems, ‘Winter Solstice, Camelot Station’, which earned him an important award.
In the late 80s, he contrived three issues of ‘Captain Confederacy’, history comics and wrote, issue number 10 of these comics.
In 1990, he moved to Minneapolis; where he was employed in a number of jobs including, slush pie reader, copy editor and computer consultant. The same year, he wrote ‘Fugue State’.
In the 90s, he became a member of the ‘Friends of the Minneapolis Public Library’ and wrote some of his best-known works including, ‘Growing up Weightless’, ‘Timesteps’ and ‘From the End of the Twentieth Century’.
The year 2000 brought with it a new surprise for Ford’s fans. He deviated from his original writing style and authored ‘The Last Hot Time’, which is an urban-fantasy novel, set in Illinois. The subsequent year, he contributed to ‘The World of Robert Jordan’s, The Wheel of Time’.
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In 2004, he authored, ‘Heat of Fusion and Other Stories’, which was nominated for a World Fantasy Award the next year. This work is mainly a collection of his famous short stories and poetry.
In 2005, he wrote the Fourth Edition of the popular role-playing game, ‘GURPS’, which earned him an important award right before his demise.
Major Works
In 1983, he authored, ‘The Dragon Waiting: A Masque of History’. It is considered one of his first major works because it won the coveted ‘World Fantasy Award’. In 1995, the book sold nearly 40,000 copies in print and 10,000 more for international, foreign editions.
The first of his Star Trek novels, ‘The Final Reflection’ was published in 1984. It was in this book, he underlined the progresses of the Klingon language and ethos. The novel became so popular that it became the basis for the FASA Star Trek role-playing game.
In 1994, he published one of his lengthiest and his most admired poems, ‘Troy: The Movie’. This poem was reprinted in several versions and is to date considered one of his best poetic works.
Awards & Achievements
In 1984, he won the World Fantasy Award for the category of ‘Best Novel’ for ‘The Dragon Waiting’.
In 1989, he won the Rhysling Award for ‘Long Poem’ for ‘Winter Solstice, Camelot Station’.
In 1991, he won the Origins Award for ‘Best Roleplaying Supplement’ for ‘GURPS Time Travel’.

He was presented with the Minnesota Book Award for ‘Fantasy and Science Fiction’, in 1998.
He was honored yet again with the Origins Award for ‘Role-Playing Game Supplement of the Year’ for ‘GURPS Infinite Worlds 4th Edition’, in 2005.
Personal Life & Legacy
From a very young age, he suffered from diabetes and renal dysfunction which required him to go through a kidney transplant and frequent dialysis.
He passed away in Minneapolis and was discovered by his long-time partner, Elise Matthesen.
Following his death, a number of texts and obituaries about Ford were written, some of which can even be found online including, ‘The Society of the Preservation of Mike’ by the LiveJournal committee and Will Shetterley’s ‘An Introduction to John M. Ford’.
This famous American author, poet and game designer of the ‘The Final Reflection’ fame was a regular at science conventions and used to wear a white lab coat, while giving sharp answers to scientific and non-scientific questions as ‘Dr. Mike’.

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