Another sad update for fans of Armor by John Steakley

Posted: January 19, 2017 by ryanlecocq in Off-topic

My regular readers are probably not aware, but besides the normal content about gaming and technology, I also carry the torch for fans of an obscure sci-fi novel.  I wrote an article about Armor years ago and the response was overwhelming.  Steakley’s philosophical space character drama apparently has a huge following of cult fans (at least partially due to being on the recommended reading list of many of the nation’s military academies).  Steakley unfortunately passed away a few years ago, apparently having the rights to his novels and potential film adaptations buried with him.  Over the past 5 years I have made repeated efforts to contact anyone related to Steakley’s estate or publishing contracts.  The response has ranged from none to canned emails.  I recently made an attempt to contact DAW publishing, which was the subsidiary of Penguin that last published Armor in paperback.  Previously I had attempted to contact Penguin, the Sy Fy network and the law office where Steakley’s will was filed.  I got my most useful (though still useless) response yet.  An only half-canned response that at least uses proper nouns, while still informing me that Steakley had passed away, which I made very clear I was aware of in my initial message to them.  This is the response I received:

Dear Ryan LeCocq:

 

John Steakley unfortunately passed away in 2010. He had not completed a manuscript for a sequel, to DAW’s understanding, so we do not expect to be able to publish a sequel.

 

Film rights are with the author’s estate, and DAW unfortunately does not have any information on those negotiations. Obviously, we would be delighted by a movie adaptation as well.

 

Thank you very much for writing in, and thank you to you and to all the fans of Armor for reading.

 

All best,

 

The DAW Team

 

So there you have it, the most recent in a series of dead ends.  I am willing to keep trying, but I have run out of people to bother.  If we’re going to make any progress, it’s going to take some input from you the fans.  Someone out there must know something about the man who wrote this book.  I know he was a mysterious loner, but nobody goes through life without a trace.  Just find me a relative or a past lawyer or something and I will at least convince or bribe them to make some sort of statement to the fans.  If it is in any way possible to make more of the drafts for Armor 2 available or renew negotiations for a movie, I will gladly start the ball rolling.

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Comments
  1. Mark Stryker says:

    I want to say thanks for all your efforts.

    I hope there is a reader of yours out there that can provide some information to you. We may have to wait a few more years for the rights of this publication to become public so someone can pick it up.

    With what we are able to do with VR now and the way CGI has developed and will continue to develop those portions of the book with Felix in his suit will be absolutely mind blowing and heart rending.

  2. Jeff Parker says:

    A man named Dave Alpern ran his “official” fan site, though that disappeared shortly after Steakley’s death. He communicated with Steakley regularly, even organizing meet-ups and AMAs with some members of the site. Track him down, and you can find quite a few answers to your questions.

    • ryanlecocq says:

      Thanks for the tip Jeff! I did actually make an attempt to contact Mr. Alpern when I started all of this, but got no response at the time. The site was shuttered days after that though, so he may have had a lot of fan mail on his hands.
      I didn’t know he was the guy with the answers though, so I din’t keep at it. I focused on the legal angle trying to follow where any of the discussions went with his projects. I’ll make another attempt and hopefully I can get some closure for the fans!

  3. Dennis Castello says:

    Don’t give up!

    • ryanlecocq says:

      It’s more that I’ve run out of angles to pursue at this point. John Steakley apparently wanted his work to die with him and there comes a point where I have to respect that as a fan.

      That being said, if anyone can come up with a legitimate way to revive some of his projects, I would be happy to help!

      • Jeff Parker says:

        I do think that Mr. Alpern is the missing link here. He had a personal relationship with Steakley that he kept fairly private at the author’s wishes, but they kept in contact for a number of years as the fan site was running. Alpern even got the exclusive first look at the draft of Armor 2. I was a member there and remember Streakley discussing naming a character after Alpern.

        Another potential connection would be the guy that “Cherry Cat” from Vampire$ was named after. I can’t remember his full name, but he is the brother of famed sci-fi author CJ Cherryh and was a professional illustrator who I’m pretty sure did the cover art for Steakley’s novels. I know they were also close friends.

        There was an ex-wife and kids as well that Steakley would often mention during AMAs.

      • Mark Stryker says:

        Just wanted to say thank you for all your work and everyone’s input.

  4. Mark Comfort says:

    I was John’s partner in Hollywood when we first went there in May and then moved there in June of 1976. We been friends going back to the English Department of Westminster College in ’69 till ’71, when he transferred to SMU for their film department. I would like to see Armor adapted to the screen and Armor II written and published. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like.

    • ryanlecocq says:

      Mark, if you are on the level, boy have I been looking for you! I’ll PM you through wordpress and give you my personal email. I would very, very much like to talk to you. Especially if you can point me in the right direction of where the legal rights to accomplish this currently lie.

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