Science lover to science fiction lover
have attempted to write this "getting to know you" post about half a dozen times and am now determined to finally do this thing and get it over with. There are two problems here. The first is that someone who sits around reading books all the time, and then, in the off reading time, sits around tapping on a computer keyboard, isn’t all that interesting. The second is that I’m a writer, and I don’t write memoir. I write fiction. Science fiction and fantasy to be exact. And this whole writing about oneself thing tends to require actually telling the truth or else Oprah will say she hates you on her show. I don’t want Oprah to hate me, so I better just stick to writing fiction where everyone knows I’m lying. So here is the beginning of my interest in speculative fiction, and it is all mostly true.
Like most boring stories, I can pin it all on my mom. When I was four years old she decided she wanted to go to college. So she and her best friend, Maruja (who is like a second mother to me), signed up at the local state university, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She decided to study microbiology. Pretty soon quality time with Mom became dissecting rats at the dining room table and learning how soap killed bacteria. She took a job at a fish lab and I got to visit a few times and see the test tubes and beakers. She had periodic tables and textbooks with lots of pictures around. I fell in love.
I became one of those kids with the rock collections and the sea monkeys. I branched out into astronomy and geology. I liked archeology and even went on a few digs with the Mississippi Valley Archeological Society. And somehow it just became harder and harder to read The Babysitter’s Club like most of the other girls when you go home and look at electron microscope pictures of E. Coli or read about the volcanic moons of Jupiter or learn about nuclear winter. I needed fiction that reflected my interests. Science fiction was a natural progression. I was already a reader (most of my early memories of my parents include books or music, so it was natural). I became a reader of science fiction.
And that is it. The whole story. Science fiction led to fantasy. And both led to a life of exploring strange topics and stranger people. And I like it. I get to have my stories and my science too. Thanks, Mom!
There. It is done. All the biographical crap you would want to know. If you want more of my writing, go see my website, Spies & Secretaries. Next week, I promise you a look at the first book of C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy Out of the Silent Planet. It will be much more interesting. Bye.
Oh. By the way, I have now witnessed a woman throw herself on a man while exclaiming, "Oh, Eric!" My friend Sarah did this to her husband just this morning. I had my own fit of emotion on watching this. I laughed so hard I could barely stand, while Sarah watched to see if I was still able to breathe. So I have now seen it actually happen.