A few years back, when I was about a Sophomore in College, I first got on the Usenet (Before I even got on the World Wide Web.)
It was about 1994/5. I called myself "George Washington" at first (It was the default name for posters from my school) and then I changed it to Rothwang.
Soon I met a guy who was the equal or better of most - scratch that - all of the prospective writers I knew in my College, a great sarcastic wit and a great thinker on the true matters of life. He was Cronan.
I remember the first E-Mail he sent me, after I had tried civilized debate to counter another poster (It may have been Dan Tropea, or someone else. It was definitely a sci-fi group. I am saddened that I cannot recall the one.)
He E-Mailed me my message back, with a single line attached.
"Use a Sharper Sword, my Friend."
Those words are fitting. He was not one to pull punches or hide his heart from view - and I am still honored that at least once he referred to me in that sense.
When I first found out that he was a young man - and certainly wise beyond his years, even considering the vagaries that youth can and does bring - I was even more impressed by his sharpness and abilities.
There is an old saying that if one looks away for a moment, one may miss so much. I had not been on these groups for a while, an look what I missed. Similarly, Cronan's life was sadly cut short, and those who will follow onto these boards and into this world have missed so much in not knowing him, or of him.
I do not know if there are archives of his early work, of the early-mid 90s, they were classics, and hopefully Deja has them. In this sense, part of him continues, along with the countless mails and pages which remain inscribed on the electrons of the Information Superhighway, like volumes on the shelf of a well-lit, friendly library, the type where you can sit and read at night, in quiet and calm. This is like a library I once went to, at the time I was in school, and I will always remember it as a fine and quiet place to read, as I remember the time I would get away from the books and the buds and whatever else to my computer, my old Macintosh LCII, and read those newsgroups in those early days, as JMS posted on the regular B-5 board, Tropea, Thaxton and Denebeim tangled, and Deep Space Nine shared the Airwaves with TNG.
Hearing this for the first time, I am speechless and sorrowed with grief. I have lost a couple of friends young, and it seems they were the most full of life. Similarly, the voice now silent was one of the sharpest and brightest of all - not sharp in shrillness and harshness, but also in clarity, humanity, openness, and kindness. The world has lost a great young man. I just don't know what else to say. Maybe Cronan would, but I do not. Not today, perhaps not for a very long time. What I hope and pray is that Cronan is in a better place, and that his great soul resides with the Angels tonight, where stars twinkle in the heavens like electrons in the wires of the net, and like neurons in minds as we remember him, only so much brighter. Brighter like he was in his time, brighter as I hope he is now, shining with the stars, in the arms of a loving God.
Cronan, may the Good Lord bless you, and keep you, and may you sleep in Jesus' arms.
God Bless and God Speed, there is none more I can find to say.
With the utmost sincerity,
Mr. David E. Powell
Return to Online Tribute to Cronan Thompson.