The dedication to my novel Owl Dance reads:
Whether traveling back in time to the Wild West
or forward in time to an optimistic future,
you are great companions to have on the journey.
I was saddened to learn that my friend Gary Hayes passed away suddenly this week at age 60.
I first met Gary nearly twenty years ago at TusCon, a science fiction convention held in Tucson, Arizona. He was dressed as a Klingon and working convention security. Gary was tall—around six-foot-six—with thinning hair, thick sideburns and a mustache. He made a good Klingon. I was at a room party that was getting a little loud and he came by to remind us to quiet down so guests elsewhere in the hotel could sleep. He lingered at the party and our conversation soon turned to Klingons, Star Trek, and costuming. I soon learned that Gary was the artist behind many of the illustrations in the program guide.
Over the years, I continued to see Gary at science fiction conventions around Arizona, and particularly at TusCon. He was often jovial and always enthusiastic about costuming and artwork. It was a delight to see what he would come up with for the next event. Gary and his wife Rebecca loved classic science fiction from such masters as H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, so it’s not surprising that as the Steampunk movement grew, their interests moved that direction as well. Naturally they also folded in their love of the Wild West.
In recent years, I often saw Gary at conventions with remarkable devices such as a backpack sporting DaVinci wings or some enormous gun that sported lights. Most recently, I saw Gary at Phoenix Comicon where he had a shoulder mounted Gatling gun that turned. Gary’s enthusiasm for these gadgets helped to inspire such characters as Professor Maravilla and Captain Cisneros in my novel Owl Dance. Enthusiastic as Gary was, he was always willing to lend an ear when I talked about one of my projects.
Although I’m sad to know Gary won’t be there with a gleam in his eye at a future convention, I’m hopeful that he’s now free of the constraints of time and space and that he’s exploring all the possible pasts and delighting in what the future will bring.