I barely knew him at all. We only met in person once, and corresponded little more than that. But we had lots of mutual friends. And my work would be very, very different if it wasn't for Rob.
I bought his most famous work, MYTHAGO WOOD, at the 1986 San Diego Comicon. And that book changed my conception of what good fantasy could be. It is utterly impossible to overstate (or deny) the book's influence on my subsequent professional efforts. STARCHILD took some structure from it, and in one case practically (okay, literally) lifted an entire scene from it. I wore Rob's influences like a badge of honor, because I thought everyone could see how his book had transformed me. And I wanted to share that feeling.
STARCHILD eventually turned into more of its own thing - but the echoes of Rob's influence still resonate within me. And the other works he did in the MYTHAGO cycle were examples of truly excellent literature. And even after I came into my own as an author, the ripples still had an effect: it was pure coincidence that hois CODEX cycle and my IMAGINARIUM GEOGRAPHICA cycle featured ties between Jason of Greek Myth and Merlin. The books are completely different in execution, and his work is in another class altogether - but when I found out about the CODEX books, I smiled. Because I knew I'd learned the right lessons, from the teacher who hardly knew how influential he was.
I'll see you in the wood, Rob.