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SFWRITER.COM > Nonfiction > Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens

Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens

by Robert J. Sawyer

Copyright © 2006 by Robert J. Sawyer
All Rights Reserved.


Robert J. Sawyer wrote this tribute to his great friends Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens for the program book for MileHiCon 38 in 2006 at which they and he were jointly guests of honor.


[Gar and Judy]

If you call their house — which used to belong to Liam Neeson — you get Gar and Judy's answering machine. And it says, "You've reached the Reeves-Stevens." Not, mind you, the "Reeves-Stevenses." Granted, lopping off the last two letters saves a little time in their joint byline (I vividly recall one book on which their names were accidentally truncated on the spine), but there's more to this shortening than that. Over on the Star Trek lot, Gar and Judy were nicknamed the Binars, after the paired aliens from Next Generation who finished each other's sentences. It's no surprise to old friends of theirs like me; we always call them "Garandjudy" as if it were a single word.

For the record, back before they became their own two-person Borg collective, he was Francis Garfield Stevens and she was Judith Evelyn Reeves, both living in Toronto. When I first met them, back in the 1980s, they were already married, and it was amazing to see, even then, how close to telepathic their relationship was.

Gar and Judy met when they were both working on educational publishing in Canada. Judy edited a series called "Energy Literacy" for use in schools, and Gar had already written a few horror novels, starting with Bloodshift in 1981. Their first collaboration was a Star Trek novel called Memory Prime, which they began while living in Toronto. But by the time they'd finished it, they'd moved to Los Angeles, just a short distance from the Paramount lot. That led to them being invited to write The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and other Trek-related books, including Star Trek Phase II, probably the only "Making of" book ever for a television series that never aired.

Their involvement with Star Trek books led to them being asked to take a meeting with fellow Canadian William Shatner, to see if they might be the right people to collaborate with him on novels about Captain Kirk. They hit it off at once, and the trio have now produced nine Kirk novels.

The Shatner connection also led to Gar and Judy becoming involved with Star Trek: Enterprise, as story editors in the final (and best) season. Talks were underway to bring Shatner on for a guest-starring role, and he made clear that no writers understood Kirk better that the Reeves-Stevenses. By this time, they'd racked up impressive TV credentials of their own, including Batman: The Animated Series and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World (they'd spent a year in Australia as supervising producers on the latter), and so were readily hired on as Enterprise staffers (and they appear on-screen in the final episode).

Besides being superb storytellers, Gar and Judy love working out details, and treating inconsistencies as challenges (who knew that the Borg homeworld was also V'Ger's "planet of living machines"? Gar and Judy, that's who ...). They thrive on being painted into a corner, and then finding an inventive and surprising way out.

In fact, early in my own career, I'd painted myself into a corner with my first trilogy, The Quintaglio Ascension (the trilogy title, incidentally, was Gar's coinage). In the first book, Far-Seer, I'd established that there was only one continent on my whole alien world, and yet in the second book, Fossil Hunter, I needed to send a Darwin-like character on a sea voyage of discovery so he could uncover the principle of natural selection. After struggling for weeks over this, I happened to mention the problem to Gar and Judy. Gar saved my bacon, and my series, by saying three words: "Polar ice caps."

Although we've been friends for two decades now, most of it has been after Gar and Judy moved to Los Angeles, and I regret that; I wish I'd gotten to know them earlier. But, as I once quipped — and, Gar and Judy, with their perfect memories, recently quoted back to me — there's a Pauli Exclusion Principle as applied to science-fiction writers: only a limited number are allowed in any area. I moved into Thornhill, a northern suburb of Toronto, just after they moved out. I wish it were possible for us to spend more time together in the same place, but as Scotty might say, "I canna change the laws of physics!"

And so I've got to be content just to rendezvous with them fleetingly when the conditions are exactly right for spatial interphase — which they happen to be (so long as no Tholians intrude to throw off my calculations) right here in Denver this very weekend. Lucky me — and lucky you, too! Enjoy meeting the Binars ...


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