R.I.P. Jennifer Rardin


Jennifer RardinI spend my time on Unbound Worlds trying to bridge fantasy and science fiction fans with the authors they enjoy reading.

Sometimes I have to report on really sad news that breaks my heart.

Jennifer Rardin, the urban fantasy author of the Jaz Parks series, passed away on September 20th. The cause is currently unknown. She was only 45 years old.

To read a bit about Jennifer, click HERE.

I met Jennifer just one time, very briefly. She was warm, had a great smile, and even better laugh. Her fans on Twitter and Facebook are devastated, and in lieu of their own sadness almost every one of them is sending their peace and prayers to Jennifer’s family in this hard time.

I do the same here.

Authors are important. That seems like the most obvious statement in the world and I suppose it is on some level. It is moments like this though that should make us—the readers—appreciate authors all the more. Sure, we all have some understanding of the time, dedication, and energy it takes to write a book, but these are real people with family members they leave for hours a day to write.

To have a dialogue. With us. Absolute strangers.

Thank you, Jennifer, for that dialogue. My heartfelt condolences are with your family, friends and readers.

If science fiction is about the big idea and discusses future dangers as well as possibilities, then fantasy is the heart of the human condition and the trials the human spirit can overcome. Jennifer wrote about these things. And like Robert Jordan, David Gemmell, Octavia Butler, Roger Zelazny, Kage Baker, and many others whose time writing and living life was cut short, it is important for us all to remember our time is finite and we should make the most of it—because I guarantee they all did.

Please send your favorite five writers an encouraging word, even if it is “I appreciate what you do daily.”

Support their charities and the things they feel are important.

Treat all of those around you with kindness even if you don’t always agree with them. Grow a sense of community with others and let that community be positive with nary a negative.

Because it is all too short.

As I sit here with glimmering eyes—hey, I didn’t know Jennifer at all but I still find little beauty in life taken too early—go out and buy a copy of Once Bitten, Twice Shy. We can support her family in that way during this difficult time.

For death is a reminder that writers and readers alike shall wear midnight one day.

But for now, let us bask in the light of their works’ thousand suns.

And be sure to give back as good as we are getting.