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Ivan Sekély was a nom-de-plume, of course. This was really Steven Brust's friend and fellow writer John M. Ford — "Mike" to his friends — who passed away on September 25, 2006.

Steve wrote this tribute when he learned of his passing:

Here is the discussion in Making Light.  Elise's LJ is here.
Below is what I wrote in Making Light, copied here because I don't think I can handle trying to talk about it any more right now.
God, this sucks. How can there not be a Mike Ford any more? As you said, yes, we knew he was poor health, and we should have expected it, and maybe we did, but we didn't and it's wrong and it's horrid.
I don't remember which book it was, but in the acknowledgments to one he thanked his doctor for "keeping the lights on." That phrase was so very him. A few words perfectly chosen that conveyed a whole range of emotions, a whole range of truths.
His books? His stories? His posts? Yes, yes, and yes. I'm also going to miss his chatter about 50's TV shows I never wanted to see. And wondering if we'll show up in Las Vegas and I'll get to talk to him for a couple of hours.
A couple of hours...
Does anyone else remember Pele, the Brazilian soccer player? Someone once analyzed how much time in a game he actually had the ball, and it was a few seconds. He could change the whole complexion of a game, just touching the ball for those few seconds.
I think about how long I spent, total, in Mike's company, and it only adds up to a few score of hours. Those few hours are filled with chewing matter for the brain, and laughter, and occasonally the awe that comes from being in the presence of genius--a word a don't use lightly.
Maybe a year from now I will start to accept how much richer my life is for there having been a Mike Ford in it, but now I can only hurt.

The nameEdit

Ivan is the Russian version of John; sekély is Hungarian for 'shallow' or 'shoal'. The Hungarian word for 'ford' (a shallow place where a stream or river can be crossed) is gázló, as Brust knows (Bengloarafurd Ford), but Sekély appears to be a fairly common Hungarian surname and Gázló is not.

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