I’ve tried to put into words some thoughts around the passing of Derrick Ferguson earlier this month. Aside from a brief Twitter thread (which I build off of below) shortly after word broke, all I’ve been able to write is: “Damn.”
I’d do not exaggerate when I say Derrick is one of my absolute favorite people. Just a fantastic person with a love of reading, writing, movies, so much – and a love if sharing all of that with others.
He truly embodied “write the stories you want to read” but was also always kind, always encouraging, always excited to see what you could do next. Never saw writing and his talent and art as a bubble or competition but as a group exercise, a community that could grow together.
Derrick was a mentor to so many, a hype man that lifted up entire communities and helped so many writers come into their own. He was your Number One Fan, saw talent to be encouraged and nurtured, to be prodded not just because you should write, damnit, but because he wanted to see what could come next.
His confidence in the talent of others could make anyone a novelist. Stop being so self-critical, just write, damn it.
I regret not knowing him better, not speaking with him more often, not meeting him in person more than a couple times, but despite all of that he was always there, always a friend, always with an open door and heart. A huge loss.
There is so much more to be said on Derrick, his writings, his influences, his influenced. Others have said it better than I.
“I don’t know, man – who’s this story for?” I asked, one time. Stupid question. I have – had – still have – a bad habit of thinking that ‘market’ and ‘audience’ are interchangeable. Derrick knew better.
He laughed – whatever else, I could always make him laugh – and said, “It’s for me, J. I just write what I want to read.”
I’ve long argued that (bear with me here for a moment) Isaac Asimov was the brains of sci-fi but that Ray Bradbury was its heart. In the same way, Derrick was the heart of the community of independent genre writers, and particularly that of New Pulp. But it wasn’t just his writing that put him there and defined it. It was his sort of ambassadorship for the movement, bringing the unrelatable term to the masses with comparisons to movies and other forms or entertainment, his “get started” lists of 100 New Pulp books you need to read, and his action-adventure mindset in regard to everything from his movie reviews to his posts in the Usimi Dero group he ran on Facebook that brought so many like-minded fans together.
You can up some of Derrick’s books on Amazon. You won’t be disappointed. Below are a few I currently have on my shelves.