Steven Richard Miller 1950-2024

This is Sharon Lee.

Steve died very suddenly yesterday.  We had known his health was failing, and he told me a couple months ago that he’d written an obit.  I found it on his computer last night.  It follows in its entirety.

Steven Richard Miller July 31, 1950 – February 20, 2024

 


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Steven Richard Miller was born in Baltimore MD July 31 1950, son of Donald George Miller and Helen Lorraine Miller (Myers). He attended and graduated from Franklin Senior High School, Class of 1968, where he was on the chess team and also the editor of the literary magazine. He attended University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), where besides joining the chess team he became News Editor and later Managing Editor of the school newspaper, originating and teaching several courses on Science Fiction as an undergrad.

Pursuing his life-long interest in writing and science fiction he attended the Clarion West writing workshop in 1973 where he studied with genre greats Peter Beagle, James Sallis, Harlan Ellison, Terry Carr, Vonda McIntyre, Ursula LeGuin, and Joanna Russ, shortly after which he joined UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library staff as the founding Curator of Science Fiction.

Following his stint as a library curator, Steve pursued writing including freelancing features, photos, and community news for many Baltimore region weekly and monthly newspapers; along the way he was also editor of Prime Time News, The Valley Voice, and an owner of New County Express, while contributing articles to the Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post, Locus, Bangor Daily News, Chess Life, Practical Survival magazine, Morning Sentinel, and others.

In April 1978, Steve and Sharon Lee declared themselves partners in life and in writing. In the next while they opened Dreams Garth and Book Castle, a science fiction themed used bookstore and art gallery business. They married in November 1980, and moved from Maryland to Skowhegan, Maine, in October 1988 after the publication of their first joint novel, Agent of Change, the first in what was to become a long series of space opera novels and stories set in their original Liaden Universe®. In 1992, they moved to Winslow; and to Waterville in 2018.

After the move to Maine, Steve continued to pursue his writing career and also became increasingly involved in computers, starting Circular Logic BBS, which became one of the state’s largest independent BBS systems, about the same time he joined the Oakland Public Library (Maine) as children’s librarian and IT specialist, a part-time position. Next, Steve was manager for Maine Computer Connection, which led to a job as lead sysop and trainer for the statewide Maine Meeting Place BBS, serving the disability community’s communication needs before the internet had become commonplace in Maine. As the internet took hold, he became Internet Librarian for Unimation, a startup in Unity, Maine. When Unimation folded during the dotcom winnowing in 1995, Steve transitioned to publisher and writer, a career he continued until his death.

Steve’s interest in chess spanned most of his life. In addition to participating in the Maryland Scholastic Chess League in high school, he was a member of UMBC’s first intercollegiate chess team and later became a US Chess Federation Tournament Director, President of the Owings Mills Chess Club in Maryland, and a voting member of the USCF representing Maryland while directing a regular series of open tournaments at the Owings Mills Chess Club, publishing Skittles – a monthly chess newsletter – and enjoying occasional success over the board.

After moving to Maine he joined and later became President of the Waterville Chess Club, where he reformed the club’s rating system, and instituted a series of regular open tournaments as well as running several Maine State Championships in a row, both of which were the largest to date in the state. He was recognized as Maine Chess Organizer of the Year in 1995. In addition to winning several club championships, Steve was part of Waterville’s Maine Chess League State championship team in 1998. He remained active in the local chess scene for many years including frequent participation in the Waterville club’s virtual meetings during Covid.

Steve was predeceased by his father, Donald Miller of Madeira Beach FL, his stepfather, Ronald L. Moore Sr., and his mother, Helen Moore. Survived by his wife, Sharon Lee, and siblings Donald George Miller (Kim), Craig Edward Miller (Brenda), Cindy Rex (Ron Prietz Sr.), Roland L. Moore, Jr. (Kay) numerous nieces and nephews.

39 comments to Steven Richard Miller 1950-2024

  • Tory Shade  says:

    RIP A great one has passed! Sympathies to Sharon and the rest of the Liad/Korval family who are now in mourning.

  • William L Cameron Jr  says:

    This is very sad news. You and Steve have provided me many hours of pleasure reading and re-reading your books. Yesterday, I read the post on this site describing your journey through various publishers, recalling my search for your books before you linked up with Baen. I have each of those publishers in my collection, as your books were always on my ‘pre-order on announcement/order on sight’ list. My deepest and most sincere sympathies on his loss to you and your families. I feel I’ve lost a friend I never met. Rest in Peace, Steve.

  • Chris S.  says:

    I am very sorry for your loss.

  • Doyle Jones  says:

    It is trite but I am sorry for you loss. I still remember buying Agents of Change even after all these years, which is possibly the best tribute I can offer.

  • Thomas McDavitt  says:

    Dear Sharon,

    My dad and I are so sorry for your loss. We are also wishing you the very best health because we don’t want to lose another of our favorite authors. We have been reading Korval books for over 20 years and would love another 20 years.
    In sympathy,
    Thomas A McDavitt, DVM

  • KZ Mitchell  says:

    Dear Sharon,
    I am so sorry to hear about Steve’s passing. I was lucky enough to meet you both multiple times at different conventions. You both were gracious and I enjoyed your humorous, tongue in cheek outlook on the world. I learned to not read your books in public because I never knew when you would throw in a line or two that would cause me to spit out my coffee because I laughing so hard. If I had the option to live in any universe created by authors I read, I would choose the Liaden Universe.

    People often say they understand what others are going through during a loss. During my losses in life I have taken that comment with a grain or two (well maybe a few tablespoons) of salt. Other may have experienced loss, but each person’s loss is unique. So I will say to you: My thoughts are with you during this time of horrific loss.

    Treat yourself kindly, and I hope that local friends will be there to support and comfort you.

    Thank you for all the joy you have given me as a reader.
    Sincerely,
    KZ

  • Brenda Cromwell  says:

    Was beyond shocked just now to read about Steve. I am so very sorry for your loss, Sharon. The two of you created a universe and worlds that buoyed my mind, heart and spirit when I needed it most, over and over. Your writings as a team have made me laugh out loud, cry, gasp in wonder and cherish the both of you more than you will ever know.
    Thank you.
    My heart aches with yours, and is deeply grateful that Steve existed and graced the world with his creativity and heart. I continue to feel the same about you, Sharon. You, like Steve, are cherished, very much.

  • Susan K  says:

    Well this sucks. Condolences to you and the cats.

  • Donna P.  says:

    Sad news indeed. Steve was the kind of person that the world needs more of, not fewer!

    (((((Hugs))))), Sharon. My thoughts are, and will be, with you.

  • Thomas B McDavitt  says:

    al’bresh venat’i

    I feel a very great sense of loss for myself and can only imagine yours Sharon.

  • Thomas B NcDavitt  says:

    al’bresh vanat’i

  • Suzanne  says:

    I’m so sorry. Be kind to yourself as you grieve — it’s hard work. May the Universe uphold you while you walk through this loss.

  • Daniel Taylor  says:

    We were so sorry to hear this news.
    We have never met, and never will. We live oceans apart. Yet Steven touched our lives. Through his writing and actions my life was enriched, my family made happier, my relationship with my partner Heather made deeper, my heart placed more at rest.
    Every person’s grief is different, because every life is different. Yet all grief is the same, because every life is precious. We share yours, and hope that you will feel all of the love and support you need.
    Farewell, Steve, and rest well among the stars.

  • Gene Brandt  says:

    I’m sorry for your (and the our) loss. It never quite covers the “reprocess your life and move on with new scars bit” but it is what appears to be on sale today. Ouch? I wish shared pain was truly halved.

    You and Steve have been mainstays of my space opera happiness, to the point where I started poking Del Rey (iirc) back in the early 90s asking where the next in this series that had to continue was and have been grateful on four different continents that you kept at it.

    Thank you both, and please allow me to echo the ‘take care of you’.

    v/r,
    Gene

  • Liat Silberman  says:

    So sorry to hear this. I feel like I’ve lost a friend. I just loved the Liaden Universe. Every time a new book came out, I would reread the back story – and they never got old! I send you my best wishes and I’m sure you know that you and Steve have impacted the world far more than most, and far better than most! Wishing you well

  • Haven  says:

    I am one of the many fans of the Liaden Universe you’ll never meet, but I’m heartbroken by this news. I wish you the best as you navigate life without Steve.

  • Jef. Haynes  says:

    Steve and Sharon brought me hundreds of hours of great joy. Amazing how a stranger can touch ones life through the written word. He will be missed.

  • Eileen Klinck  says:

    The world has an empty place without Steve.

  • Ling  says:

    Your books are about connection and provided me with lots of comfort. It is sad to hear that one of the wizards of this universe is no longer with us.

  • devin d rankin  says:

    I am very new here. I learned of Steve Miller after reading the introduction to Zenna Henderson’s “Believing” which was written by Sharon Lee. I have read none of their books yet, but I just loaded one of them on the Kindle. Reading the self-written obit, I find myself very sad. We had many things in common, being about the same age and early BBS sysops. I would have enjoyed knowing him. My heartfelt condolences to Sharon.

  • Lindsay  says:

    The books that you wrote together have given and will continue to give much pleasure and joy. I am so grateful that they exist and that you chose to have a writing life together. There are many people holding you in their hearts as you grieve.

  • Vall  says:

    I’ve just learned of Steve’s passing via the Baen Newsletter. RIP.

    I’ve checked my library and there’s just one his books in there (Liaden Universe Companion [Volume One]), will certainly add more.

  • Lyndon Olfert  says:

    My deepest condolences.

    I had just finished re-reading Conflict of Honors, and thought to check out http://www.korval.com as I scanned through the blurbs at the back of the book.

    The world that you both created together has brought me many hours of reading pleasure. I am deeply grateful for the talents you have shared with your readers. Please know that Steve will live on as I, and I am sure many others, continue to read and re-read the amazing collection you have created together.

  • Amy  says:

    May his memory be for a blessing.

  • Christine M Musselman  says:

    Dear Sharon,

    I have just learned of Steve’s passing. My sincerest condolences on your loss.

    Your Liaden Universe series has given me great joy and I re-read each novel often. I sometimes think the material would make a good movie. Perhaps this could be a project for you as you journey during this time of mourning.

    In sympathy,

    Christine Musselman

  • S.D.wright  says:

    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Steven Miller. His and Sharon Lee imagination have captured and transported many to the many realms of space. Thank you.

  • Jim Davis  says:

    Coming to this news very late, only reading of it in the monthly Baen newsletter. So very sorry to hear of Steve’s passing. The collaboration of Steve and Sharon has given me immense pleasure. I own everything that’s been published, collecting Firsts when I can. The themes in their writings of love, duty, fidelity and honor resonate with me. Condolences to Sharon and their entire family. Liaden fans everywhere mourn.

  • Debra  says:

    I am so sorry to read this. I first discovered your books in 1989 and the two of you have brought me many, many hours of joy since then. My sincere condolences to you, Sharon.

  • Genevieve N Halkett  says:

    I just read Fledgling for the first time yesterday, which made me want to go back to the previously read books. They’ve spanned quite a bit of my life, which is richer for having read them. Thank you both. Sharon, my condolences.

  • Lieselotte  says:

    I am so sorry. I lost my husband and best friend too, and want to support you, wish you strength, and many good memories to offset grief a bit. And shoulders to lean on.

  • Laura Love  says:

    I just heard of this today and my heart bleeds for you. I have been where you are and nothing really helps, but remember you have created a world wide family with your work. We all love you and are holding you in our hearts even if we can’t be with physically. Thank you for all you both have given us.

  • Damiano  says:

    I have just read this so so sad news visiting your site after a while. I am so sorry for your loss. From this distant side of the ocean in Italy I have read and loved every book you two have created and by mean of these come to appreciate Steven and you as kind souls. I always felt that you two lived with the same passion for care of the world and of all the people inside it, the same belief that change and growth can be found in all manner of people, these thoughts tht you put into your characters, were actually your own. And I am really sad that one less bright light is on this little planet. Thanks for all your beautiful books, for the amazing adventures, for the words so full of hope and love.

  • A. Pfleger  says:

    I am so very sorry.

    My mum died a day earlier than Steve, so I know how you are feeling right now.
    People are saying it gets better with time. I hope it’s true.

    My mum very much enjoyed your books, as does my dad (and me, too, of course).
    She was German chess champion 1973 and my dad is a chess Grandmaster – your books just have the kind of multi-layered complexity that appeals to chess players.
    The game carries over into the books!

  • G Wheeler  says:

    I am so sorry. for you especially but for all the rest of us as well. What a loss. There are no words. Take care of you.

  • Kerry Vosswinkel  says:

    “… rest well among the stars.” That touched my heart and my soul, as both Sharon and Steve did with their Liaden Universe saga. Al’bresh venat’i indeed to Sharon, their friends and family, and the legion of fans of their marvelous work.

  • Desmond Phillip Felix Auer  says:

    I am saddened, shocked and cannot imagine the loss of the life-long partner of yours, Sharon. Be assured his and your footprint will be forever remembered as I look through and read AGAIN for the 10th time the entire Liaden series up to date. I am adrift at you loss, Sharon, and extend my deepest sympathies to you for your loss and upcoming Post-Steve period. I hope this does not discourage you from further writings, but will certainly understand if that is your wish. Condolences and far-flung hugs from an Aussie that you never met, but was an avid fan from the very start. Neither of you got the recognition you really deserved, but you plunged on, regardless, and that, in itself is inspiring and felt throughout my own life.

  • Mark Newkirk  says:

    Steve will be missed by all his fans. I enjoyed his writings. He was one of the great ones. I will miss him.

  • Paul Boros  says:

    In my experience words are almost useless in this situation but, as they are all I have to offer, My condolences.

    Your loss is the world’s loss, even as it feels like a pit that will never be filled and I grieve with you.

    Your work together has, in my opinion, left the world a better place. It is my hope that you are able to find and keep that joy in writing that has always marked the stories you wrote together.

    Again, this is what helps me deal grief. In celebration of your life together, remember the good times, as well as the bad, and see that it was well and truly lived.

  • Dave Ream  says:

    Ms. Lee, deepest condolences on the passing of your husband! It’s been over 40 years since I first encountered Agent of Change, and it remains one of my all time favorite SciFi/Space Opera novels, and I’ve delightedly anticipated and read each ensuing Korval novel. Thanks to you both for many hours of wonderful stories and characters. May you have measures of peace and clear memories of joy & shared experiences in your time of grief.
    – Dave Ream

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