I learned today that Lynn Willis, long-time editor at Chaosium, has died. Lynn and I have never met, but we exchanged emails from 2004 until just before he retired from Chaosium in 2008. Others certainly knew him better than I and I have always wondered at the value of the eulogy but I feel an obligation to Lynn, for his advice and kindness, to say a few words in remembrance.
Before we talked via email, I knew Lynn through his work, first from the Ghostbusters RPG, the later from Call of Cthulhu. There was something different in the writing… I particularly remember there being a footnote in Ghostbusters defining Nota Bene… Later, when I made my first submission to Chaosium, that voice was there again. What I was surprised by was that Lynn took the time to not just handle the basic details of getting my monograph published, but to answer my questions, offer suggestions and advice, and generally being a good guy. We talked about projects, most of which never saw the light of day – he was hoping to see the London Guidebook revamped, I wanted to do something with Lovecraft Country… there were more ideas of course, some of which might still see the light of day, the most important of which is the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion. After Lynn was forced to retire due to the effects of Parkinson’s Disease, Chaosium lost something I do not think they have, or will ever, replace.
I don’t really have a point I suppose, beyond adding my voice to the chorus mourning his loss and singing his praises, as a writer, editor, and simply as a person.
Here are some links to other reminiscences-