Brian with James Luceno (in the back row) with
the Sherpas (aka the Choir Boys) in Nepal.
From The Jan. 18, 1998 Capital Newspaper:
A labor of love
Science fiction writer keeps a promise
to his colleague
By Kevin Kidder, Staff Writer
Science fiction writer James Luceno knew his latest endeavor
was the hardest and yet best thing he had ever done. The first
book in a four-part series, just published this month, is the
culmination of more than a decade of work - but not his.
The series was written by renowned author Brian Daley, a
close friend of Mr. Luceno who died almost a year ago.
Mr. Luceno, an Annapolis resident, plays down his role
in getting the new "Gamma L.A.W." series to the stores.
"I mostly did editing of the manuscript," he said, emphasizing
that Mr. Daley did most of the work before his death from pancreatic
cancer on Feb. 11, 1996.
But editing a 1,600-page manuscript was no small
job. Mr. Luceno said he had to search through hundreds of files
containing notes by Mr. Daley so he could accurately edit the
book. "'Gamma L.A.W.' was by far the largest challenge for
me," Mr. Luceno said. "It was extremely tough to do."
He also had to put his individual writing style aside in
deference to Mr. Daley's style.
"(Brian) had tremendous grasp of technology
information." he said. "I had to concentrate on what I
edited." That included reading through notes and even
newspaper clippings so he could better grasp the technical know-how that
Mr. Daley used in his writing.
It was truly a labor of love, born of the strong bond
between the two best friends.
In Star Wars Insider article by Mr. Luceno, he explained
what their relationship meant over the years. "In losing him
- a friend of more than 20 years, a collaborator on more than 20 books,
god father to my teen-age son - I felt like a parent who unimaginably
survives his or her child," he wrote.
The two science fiction aficionados had quite a history
together. They met 20 years ago in New Jersey at a screening of
the original "Star Wars" movie, (sic) both pursuing what would
become fruitful careers in science fiction writing.
The pair often would travel around the globe on
vacations from the rain forests of Guatemala to the roof of the world,
the Himalayan mountains in Nepal. "Brian couldn't stand
knowing that I was traveling while he was sitting at home," Mr.
Luceno recalls. "Brian and I did a lot of traveling
On their trips, the two would map out their next
intergalactic adventure. The inception of "Gamma L.A.W."
for example came on the trip through the Himalayan mountains in
"Brian must have been missing the ocean a
mused Mr. Luceno, referring to the water world where
the new series takes place.
Mr. Daley and Mr. Luceno had collaborated before on
several projects, including TV scripts, the novel "Tron,"
(sic) the "Robotech" cartoon series and several other science
fiction book series.
But the most powerful incentive for Mr. Luceno when
working on the "Gamma L.A.W." series was a promise he made to
Mr. Daley after learning of his terminal cancer. He vowed to
finish the book if Mr. Daley didn't make it.
So, with the encouragement of his family, he set out to
complete what Mr. Daley had so nearly finished.
Lucia St. Clair Robson, the self-described "soul
mate" of Mr. Daley, said publishing the book was an enormous
"It was huge, and quite frankly, I didn't think it
could be done," she said. Her house, where Mr. Daley lived,
is filled with stacks of loose papers and old-style floppy disks, with
endless notes on the fictional encounters he wrote about/ "He
had footnotes on the footnotes," she said.
Ms. Robson said the posthumous collaboration was old-hat
for the two. They had often written together and, several years
earlier, Mr. Luceno had handed over writing duties for the "Black
Hole Travel Agency" book series to Mr. Daley.
The "Gamma L.A.W." series now completed, had
been split into four books to be released over the course of the
year. The first, "Smoke on the Water," has just been
released and is now available in book stores.
Mr. Luceno said he won't know how popular the new books
are until the end of the year, because science fiction fans usually wait
until an entire series is published to read it. But he's proud of
what he helped wrought. "I think it came out great," he
It's a bittersweet time, though, as he reflects on the
last exhilarating journey he'll share with his colleague. In the
article he wrote for Star Wars Insider, Mr. Luceno told of a conversation he
had with Mr. Daley toward the end of his life.
"Because we logged so many miles together - in the
real and imagines worlds - I told him I wasn't comfortable with his
going on an adventure without me. ... And Brian joked that he understood
my concerns and would certainly find a way to contact me, assuming he
could find a working phone or the appropriate postage for the kind of
communication we had in mind."
Pollination - what happens when two writers co-mingle their research and
From a Tapestry of Magics:
inspirations, he concentrated on staying alive. I can see now
as much buffalo meat as I could wish, he told himself.
Unfortunately, it is all attached to a living flash flood.
The animals shook the ground, hemming him in, heads
down. Even in the grip of the stampede panic, the huge bulls sought to
interpose themselves between the horseman and the cows and calves.
... From there he saw that one kill, at least, had been made that
day. He also knew what had caused the stampede.
The hunter had somehow sensed his approach before Crassmor
had topped the rise, though the thunder of the stampede must, he
thought, surely have masked his trembling horse's hoof beats. Too,
Crassmor was riding crosswind through the remaining dust cloud.
Nevertheless, the hunter was staring up at the spot when the knight got
The man was the red-brown color Saynday had been, his
entire body inured to the touch of sun, wind, and weather. He was
tall, holding a posture at once graceful and relaxed, yet tense as a
wound spring. Well-defined muscle and sinew broadened a lean,
limber body. The hunter wore only moccasins and a soft-tanned
breechclout trimmed with metallic beads and human hair, tucked through a
narrow belt of braided hide.
On his wrist was an archer's brace; a leather band held a
quiver-bowcase, skillfully crafted from a white wolf's pelt, at his
back. His face was high-cheekboned, fine-featured, reserved, and
full-lipped. Bands of black paint circled his eyes; his gleaming,
sable hair was drawn back tightly against his head and gathered in a
long scalp lock decked with a raven's feather. He watched Crassmor
emotionlessly, unblinking. In his hand glittered a skinning
At the hunter's feet lay his prey, a behemoth bull of the
herd, losing the last of its life, kicking in minute spasms which came to
a halt even as the knight rode downslope. Nearby, a lithe, glossy pony,
the color of its rider's hair, waited trailing reins that must have been
twenty feet long. It bore no saddle, no cincture. There was
a single rawhide loop braided into its man; Crassmor, seeing that,
thought what a fearless and skillful rider this man must be.
As the knight approached, the hunter sheathed his knife at
his belt. A quirt hanging from his wrist made a snaking motion in
response. He turned aside to his pony, showing a profile any
artist might have admired. "Quietly, Night," he told his
pony, and it became still.
Crassmor leaned his unbloodied lance against his shoulder as
he drew close, keeping it at a conspicuously casual cant. He hoped
he'd made no trespass on forbidden hunting ground. He stopped well
away from the hunter, who gave him silent attention. Crassmor set
the lance in its rest and slid from his saddle carefully. Dozens
of times before, he'd met people in the Beyonds in this unknown-quantity
fashion. It was easy to offend someone else's protocols in the
Beyonds. He kept his hands well in sight, away from his body, but
in such a manner that his right one was only a split second from Shhing's
waiting hilt. He brought his left hand up to indicate himself.
The other relaxed a little. The knight did then,
too. "Wanderer," the hunter responded, fingertips
gesturing to his heart.
"A hero's kill, Wanderer," Crassmor
complimented, and meant it. They both looked for a moment to the mountainous
buffalo and the red-banded arrow sticking out of its side. "I
was not so -" He'd almost said "lucky," which might or
might not have been an insult. "Skillful," the knight
"Would you sell, would you trade some of your
kill?" Crassmor asked. The hunter tilted his head slightly, a
tacit inquiry. Crassmor was making an inventory of his possessions
and trappings at that point, wondering what he might offer. Then
he saw Wanderer's eyes gauging the hilt of his sword. Their eyes
met. Crassmor gave his head the barest shake, vowing, "I'd
rather up the hunt once more." The herd was no more
than a distant dust cloud now; Wanderer very nearly smiled at the
comment. Tension left them both.
The knight whipped off the white scarf from his
forehead. Risking the few steps between them, he held it
out. It was a lovely piece of work, with threads of gold woven in
and raised embroidery. "The meat is for a friend,"
Crassmor explained. "It's the meat he loves best."
Wanderer looked from the scarf to Crassmor, then turned and
bent to the carcass. His skinning knife was in his hand as quickly
as ever Shhing had found Crassmor's. When Wanderer
straightened again, he held the thick, meaty tongue of the buffalo high
for inspection droplets of blood and salvia streaming from it.
"I believe I know who your . . . friend
is," Wanderer declared with a hint of amusement. "This
is the best part of the meat he loves best." He held forth
Crassmor accepted it with his left hand and bowed
low. Something in him made him wish to make a more personal
payment. He took a step back; his right hand darted and Shhing,
held high threw back the dusty light. Wanderer hadn't reacted; he
waited. The knight's respect for the hunter grew. Wanderer's
eyes followed the reflection along the sword's blade, then sought
Crassmor's once more. Crassmor took the blade through a meticulous
salute, then sheathed it at his back one-handedly. Wanderer raised
his hand in acknowledgement, smiling fully now.
Crassmor told him, "In the place they call the
Singularity, Wanderer, you have friendship and a home always."
Wanderer drew the silken scarf over his fingertips,
delighting in its texture and delicate patterning.
From Ride the Wind by Lucia
St. Clair Robson:
The pale reddish
soil and short, patchy brown grass looked like a rumpled, mangy
buffalo robe thrown across the hills. The rolling plain marched
off to meet the horizon with nothing blocking its way. The sky
seemed to hang lower to the earth than usual, and it was the color of
ashes. From the distance came the steady roar of thousands of
buffalo. It was a dull rumbling, as pervasive as the cold wind and
the gray sky.
Wanderer sat loosely on Night, and tucked the reins into
his belt, leaving his hands free. The reins were twenty feet long,
and they would come loose from his belt if he fell while chasing the
buffalo. If he was lucky he could grab them in time for Night to
pull him free of the herd.
In the cold air of the late October dawn he wore only a
breech-clout, moccasins, his skinning knife, and his quiver and bow
case. He rode barebacked, unwilling to burden Night with even the
weight of a surcingle. He shivered a little as he made one last
check of his equipment. He took the coiled sinew bowstring from
under his armpit, where he kept it to protect it from the morning
dampness, and strung it onto his bow. If the sinew became too wet,
it stretched , and it shrank and snapped when it was too dry. He
had two spare strings tucked into a small pocket on the quiver, in case
His daydreaming was interrupted by a movement at the edge
of his vision, and he tensed, the movement translating into a signal to
Pahayuca's hand rose and fell with a quick chopping
motion. Every man leaned forward , and the ponies leaped
ahead. The line of naked riders swept over the ridge and circled
on the other side, trapping the herd in the magic surround. As the
ring of riders tightened, cinching the buffalo evermore closely,
the cows and calves milled bawling in the center. The bulls raced
around them, using their bodies as a barrier. They ran with their
tongues out and their heads down, the air puffing in and out of their
"Pahayuca promised the buffalo tongue ceremony when we
get back to the main village," Star Name said.
"And the women are in an uproar about it," added
Owl. "I can't wait to see who's chosen to serve the
"I suppose they all want to be chosen," said
Naduah. Owl laughed with delight.
"Not exactly. ...
11th Armored Cavalry
Brian with children
in Viet Nam >>
experiences shaped his writings. To him military Science
Fiction was the best combination and his 12-year project that turned
into the 4-book GammaLAW series has proved this point. http://www.militaryresource.com/HomePage/UserCreatedTributePage
From Were You There? Vietnam
Notes: by Randy Cribbs,
Brian talked of writing a book.
Small talk, as soldiers do,
But it was his dream.
While all of us were searching
For answers, or understanding, But finding neither,
Brian was stringing words
Together in his mind,
To be spewed forth years
Later in not one, but
We did not perish over there
And that caused us to smile
As we left,
Though not the same as
A year before;
But there was a rip in fate
And a part of that place
Entered Brian, extracting its'
Toll these many years later.
Brian is gone, but
His dreams, in those books, Are not.
You did it Brian.
Brian second from left at the Brandenburg Gate in
Bob Booker, Brian Daley, ?, Denny Malloy
(giving the Hitler salute) and Ron Myhro
2005 Brian's Blackhorse unit held a reunion. Lucia Robson attended to meet
Thanks to Lee Gentry and Marv Hall for these
( * ) denotes
those who were with the
409th when Brian was with us.
Lucia St. Clair Robson,
Ron Barton* (lost his lovely wife, Susan, earlier this year),
Going through some old papers, I found a letter Brian wrote to me in 1969 while he was with Team A in West Berlin. It doesn't say much, but it does show his sense of humor. Saw your name on the Brian Daley site and thought you'd be interested. Please feel free to share the contents of the letter ---
email from Ed Elkins on 8/1/2010
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