I just realized that while I have “about” pages for both of my books, I didn’t have a thing about me. Oh, there are bits and pieces on individual posts, but there really was not the usual “about” page. So ….
I’ve been a scientist for most of my working life. I majored in physics at Radcliffe, getting my diploma the first year Radcliffe diplomas admitted we’d been to Harvard. Then to the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for graduate school, with a PhD in Physics/Geophysics followed by a career in atmospheric science, research, teaching, and occasional popular science articles as well as the usual journal publication of my results.
I retired a little early due to health problems and a well-timed RIF, and began actually writing down the stories I’ve been telling myself since childhood. Breast cancer and a sense of my own mortality shocked me into publishing my first book, Homecoming, with iUniverse. That one took an award in science fiction, as well as getting a 5-star review from ForeWord Clarion reviews. (They don’t give many of those.) The sequel, Tourist Trap, not only took a first place in science fiction the following year, it was fiction book of the year. The protagonist in both these books was a young slave who was more than he thought, Roi.
I am currently polishing a trilogy about Roi as an adult. Bits have been on Six Sentence Sunday, if you want a taste. I’m still not sure about which way to go on publishing these three books, but they do need to be read together. Like the first two, the trilogy is about people, whether or not these people happen to be human, in societies whose rules differ in some ways from our own but (I hope) illuminate our own society.
I love animals, especially horses and dogs, and both figure in my fiction. On Central, horses are primarily a toy of those who can afford them, with much of the drudgery carried out by robots. Horse sports and competition are important among a subset of the top social class. On Horizon, the focus of the trilogy, both horses and dogs play a wider role. I designed a breed of dog based on my own first Sheltie: small enough to ride on horseback with their human partners, working herding dogs, and telepathic. One aspect of the culture is full acceptance of a nomadic lifestyle, which includes a semi-nomadic horse-breeding culture. Most of the horses carry the leopard gene, what North Americans today would call Appaloosa coloring, and the horses are important in herding the silkies which provide the principal export products of the fuel-poor planet.
Gene? Color genes in animals, especially horses and dogs have fascinated me since childhood. In addition to frequent posts on this blog about the genetics of horse coat colors, I have an old but still popular website about genetics, emphasizing canine coat colors. That genetics, too, has been worked into my fiction, with the central tragedy of Roi’s life being that he carries a gene that could be extremely dangerous if combined with his telepathic ability. He loves children, but he does not dare have any of his own.