In deep sorrow…
Most people may not have heard of John Dalmas but few who read science fiction in the last decades of the twentieth century can have missed his marvelous books of The Lion of Farside books, the Fanglith Series, or his military science fiction works, The Regiment, &c.
I first met the author while he was a university professor in the College of Forestry at Northern Arizona University. He attended a Scientology lecture on campus presented by my father, Rod Martin, and soon became a frequent visitor at our house.
Learning of my interest in writing, he invited me to a community writers’ workshop held once a week at the public library in Flagstaff. He would often read selections of his one published novel, at that time, The Yngling, as well as other projects he had underway.
He co-authored a novel with my brother, Carl Martin (Touch the Stars: Emergence, Tor Books, 1983), as well as one with my father, Rod Martin (The Playmasters, Baen Books, 1987), and he even used a chart devised by another of my brothers, the late Larry Martin, to assist the readers’ understanding the philosophy of the T’sel in the novel The Regiment (on p.209, Baen, 1987). He was gracious enough to proof-read a couple of my early novels and I had the pleasure of proofing a couple of his.
I only met his son, Jack, once but knew his daughter Jude well enough as my first wife was one of her best friends.
We stayed in touch over the years after I left Flagstaff, and he left as well to go to Seattle, where I got a chance to visit him and his wife, Gail.
Over the years I have been able to keep up with his output at the local bookstore. This was before the internet and I had no complete listing of his works, just nabbed one up when I found it. One day I picked up one called Walkaway Clause in a used bookstore. I wrote him and mentioned the find – it was several years old by that time – and he wrote back and asked if he could have it. Seems he did not get the usual author copies of that volume when it was released and he had never seen it. It took me a couple of years to find another copy in a used bookstore to fill out my collection.
Over the years, our communications have, quite naturally, gotten further and further between as his health declined.
I was hoping to hear soon that one of his historical novels from Swedish history had finally made it to print but it seems, now, that may never be happening.
If you have never read his works, I recommend you check them out. Some are available free online. All of them are good reads, in my opinion. I will probably be re-reading my collection again in the near future.
Those volumes and my memories are all that’s left of him on this side of the pale.
Thank you, John, and farewell.