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Introduction: It’s About Time

Mark L. Van Name

A few weeks before this book appears, David Drake will have turned 70. A few weeks after this book hits store shelves, he will be a special guest of the World Fantasy Convention 2015 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. These two occasions led me to propose this Festschrift to the immediately receptive Baen Publisher, Toni Weisskopf, but they served only as triggers. The true reason for this book’s existence is simpler: it’s about time we did it.

Dave is a friend of mine, a good friend, so you could argue that I’m biased, and I am, but that’s irrelevant. Dave’s accomplishments speak for themselves: dozens of books, over a hundred short stories, I don’t even know how many essays—the man has been writing tirelessly and prolifically for almost fifty years. His first professional sale, the short story “Denkirch,” appeared in 1967. Over the course of those decades, he’s written horror, SF, and fantasy; dark tales and (often darkly) humorous ones; and he’s still doing it. His pace has not slowed.

Dave has also influenced more writers than I can name. In this volume, fifteen of us pay him tribute in the way he would most appreciate: by writing. Both of his U.S. publishers add their voices.

Fittingly, Dave outworked us all: he contributed two original stories to this collection, one of them the first new Hammer’s Slammers story in nearly a decade, and they are the two longest pieces here.

The work is what matters, Dave would tell us, and I agree with him, so read on for a wonderful collection of original stories and essays in celebration of David Drake.

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