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Aburt the Author Page

Aburt the Author

(If you're looking for some of my fiction, go here... A (sadly outdated) list of my published stories is here.)

I've had one science fiction novel published so far (an intentionally timely one, that's now an alternate history... :-), [update: just finished writing novel #2, now in the sales process, working on novel #3] and a few dozen short stories. I'm a member of SFWA, of which I was Vice President for several years. I'm currently at work on my next book, and assorted short stories as they demand to be written.


I've been writing science fiction as far back as I can remember writing: For writing assignments in school I'd usually turn in something science fictional. I can't exactly remember a first age on that, though I distinctly remember one I wrote in fifth grade.

I won first place in a junior high school writing contest, after which I began submitting stories to IASFM (Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine). None sold, of course, but I did get some very nice rejection letters from George Scithers, the editor. (He gave them to nearly everyone, if not everyone [Hey, some of these stories were bad]. He's now editor of Weird Tales, and I believe they still give personal replies to all/most submissions. I knew this then, but it's still a nice ego boost for a newbie to get something other than a form letter from an editor.)

I wrote a number of stories, but was very hesitant to submit them as persistently as I should have -- just one outing, maybe two. I'm not really sure why -- fear of rejection? I suppose, though I don't remember consciously thinking that. Just knowing that they weren't good enough to sell? Maybe, but I did submit them all at least once... I seem to remember just assuming they'd already been to the only places that I'd want to see them in, so, that was that. Anyway, I didn't submit much and didn't sell any. They were still lots of fun to write, of course.

During college I put the writing aside because of the time demands (I was on course to finish my undergrad in three years, which I did, summa cum laude, phi beta kappa, yadda yadda yadda). I just didn't seem to ever get back to writing science fiction, what with working, grad school, other hobbies (I founded the world's first Internet Service Provider, now its own non-profit corp.; see Nyx).

I got back to writing in the Summer of '95, and I'm not sure why then. It just happened. I remember being disgusted with some of the recent SF books I'd read (I had always been reading SF, just not writing it). The common "I can do better than that" kicked in, I guess, and I started writing a story.

It came out waaaay too long. So long that it was pretty hard to sell (tip: the longer it is, the harder it is to convince an editor to devote to an unknown author the larger percentage of space it'll take). I won't comment on it further, since I'll let you read it; a link to it is at the top and bottom of this page).

When I finished writing that one, I wrote another. Then another... and they've just kept spilling out since. I've sold a bunch of them, for real money, and keep the as-yet-unsold ones circulating until they sell, too.

In my quest to improve my writing and get feedback, I started the Critters Workshop, an on-line group of SF (and fantasy and horror) writers who read and discuss each other's stories. That's worked out well, and I'd encourage anyone who wants to improve their own SF writing to join it (or something similar).

Anyway, here is Privacy Most Public, the first story I wrote since my "hiatus". Like I said, it's long, though I still enjoy reading it myself. It's a good one for a web page, since it's about computers, privacy, government conspiracies...

Have fun...