Tony Plank was a computer programmer, web designer, SF writer, active member of the Australian SF community and an all-round good guy.
I first got to know Tony on-line via the Eidolist where he, Ted Scribner and I would often break into puns and light banter when the serious discussion got a bit heavy. Tony ran the Inkspillers website which (in 2010) offered over 250 listings on Spec Fic magazines, anthologies, editors, publishers, conventions, bookshops and awards. Later he ran a splinter website on the Ditmar Awards.
Inkspillers was nominated for Ditmar Awards in the “Best Fan Production” category in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Tony became interested in SF while at school and started writing SF while attending London Uni. He’d been writing on-and-off for over 40 years by then. He was inspired by a lecturer who said, “Easy reading calls for hard writing”.
During his writing career, he had many short stories published on AntipodeanSF, as well as AustrAlien Absurdities and AGOG! anthologies. His story, ‘Nine Weeks a King’ published in Aurealis #104 was possibly his last published story.
Writing as Anthony Plank, his novel ‘Rovid Moves’ about a civilization who realise their sun is dying and they have to either move their whole race to another system many light years away or perish, is (for the moment) still available through Barnes and Noble, Kindle and Kobo.
Tony wasn’t one for attending SF cons. I only met him a couple of times at Melbourne SF cons. Tony took Ted and Ros Scribner and I to lunch once where he entertained us with stories from his RAF days. I thought, “There’s a man with an interesting book in him. He should be writing all of this down.” I don’t know if he ever did or not.
Tony suffered a stroke late in 2017. I phoned his rehab ward and spoke to he and his wife, Liz last Christmas Day. Though he seemed to be recovering, he suffered another stroke a few weeks later. He passed away peacefully on 21 March, 2018, a month shy of his 82nd birthday (if my maths is correct).
A kind, fun-loving man, he contributed a lot to the Aus SF scene and will be sadly missed.
(Thanks to James Allen, Jon Swabey and Ion Newcombe for their assistance in composing this.)