Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ryder Syvertsen, R.I.P.


I’m currently reading the 10th volume of the Doomsday Warrior series, and just came across the sad news (here and here) that author Ryder Syvertsen recently passed away, on February 24th of this year. He was 73 years old and a life-long New Yorker. Syvertsen was of course one half of “Ryder Stacy,” and wrote the majority of the 19-volume series, with Jan Stacy (who died in 1989) only co-writing the first four volumes.

Over the years I’ve tried to find a way to get in touch with Syvertsen; even David Alexander attempted to track him down for me, but had no luck – and if Alexander couldn’t find him, I certainly didn’t have a chance, given that Alexander was the person who took over Syvertsen’s C.A.D.S. series. I hoped to interview him and get his thoughts on the Doomsday Warrior series as well as his other men’s adventure books.

So then this is as good a place as any to post something I’d meant to include in one of my earlier Doomsday Warrior reviews: an audio interview with Ryder Syvertsen that Graphic Audio conducted in January of 2008. (Note: The interview takes place between 2:30 and 12:30 of the 20-minute audio file.) Syvertsen sounds like a native New Yorker for sure – interesting, too, that he never once mentions co-author Jan Stacy.

Syvertsen’s last words in the interview are “send me some letters,” so let’s hope some of his fans took him up on his request and contacted him through Graphic Audio. Even though I never met him, I will definitely miss Syvertsen; once you’ve read so many books by a writer you start to feel like you know him, and I regret that I never got to tell Ryder Syvertsen how much I enjoy his books.

8 comments:

Brigonos said...

A shame he has joined the Glowers, but he had a good run, and got to contribute to the pop-cultural landscape and bring the pleasure of reading to many.

Although I have to point out you said in multiple reviews of Doomsday Warrior books that you thought it was someone else writing the new-age hippy sequences sprinkled around the series - yet Syvertsen clearly claims in that interview to have used psychic powers to end the Cold War.

RJR said...

I knew Syvertsen in NY. He was . . . what's the word . . . a character, very outspoken when he thought he'd been slighted.

Zwolf said...

Bummer that he's dead. Those Doomsday Warrior books got me through many a study hall back in my high school days. I need to go back and re-read 'em.

Joe Kenney said...

Thanks for the comments! RJR, great to hear from someone who knew Syvertsen...it's starting to sound like many of these men's adventure authors were "characters." Mark Roberts appears to have been another.

Brigonos, that's my favorite part of the interview. Too bad the interviewer didn't pursue that topic a little further. You are correct, though -- in my early DW reviews I wasn't aware the Jan Stacy had only co-written the first four volumes. Eventually I started to assume that he was responsible for the psychedelic stuff and Syvertsen the goofier-vibed action stuff, but as you know, that's not correct, as the post-Jan Stacy volumes also have psychedelic/new age hippy sequences. I've also got a few of Syvertsen's "Mystic Rebel" books, and they appear to have the same vibe.

James LaBarre said...

Used to hang out with Ryder for New Years Eve at the house of a mutual friend. An eclectic place with ancient Egyptian artifacts, mementos from Hannes Bok & Clark Ashton Smith, and Lin Carter's ashes in a box (yes, seriously). He had visited our house one year when we hosted a Lunarians' picnic, and we were showing him the "Ogham carvings" on some rocks behind our property. (Yes, if it sounds familiar, look at pp.133 in Doomsday Warrior #19). We actually have the manuscript for #19.

Joe Kenney said...

James, thanks a lot for the comment, loved to hear from someone who knew Syvertsen. And your comment really knocked me for a loop, as it's the textbook definition of what Carl Jung termed "synchronicity" -- this past Tuesday (June 8th) I was in Chicago, and spent the day hanging out with Len Levinson. He told me all about the unusual people he's known over the years -- one of whom was Lin Carter! They worked together at Prentice-Hall in the '60s, writing jacket copy, and Len says Lin gave him a lot of writing advice.

The only thing I've ever known about Carter was his association with the Conan reprints of Robert E. Howard, which I read as a kid, and otherwise I knew he had done some fantasy stuff. But he sounded like a fascinating, incredibly eccentric character judging from Len's stories about him; indeed the dude's life would've made for one hell of a book. (Same goes for Len, now that I think of it -- wait, he already wrote it!)

I heard a lot of fun stories about Lin Carter that day, all of which is to say it was a total mindblow to see your comment two days later, mentioning Lin Carter of all people. I shared your comment with Len, who said:

Lin Carter’s ashes in a box? On display? It’s a strange world and getting stranger every day.

Thanks again for posting the comment! And I'm looking forward to getting to Doomsday Warrior #19!

Pennylane said...

I knew Rydar well from several decades ago...We lived in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn..He was fair with blue eyes, and a very colorful character; brash, yet had a sensitive side too...Talking with him was always a pleasure as he was bright and present and had that world weary NYC banter...He got married when he was middle-aged and he and his wife Page and their young son moved to Staten Island...I had a feeling he was no longer here...R.I.P.

Pennylane said...

I knew Rydar well from several decades ago...We lived in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn..He was fair with blue eyes, and a very colorful character; brash, yet had a sensitive side too...Talking with him was always a pleasure as he was bright and present and had that world weary NYC banter...He got married when he was middle-aged and he and his wife Page and their young son moved to Staten Island...I had a feeling he was no longer here...R.I.P.