My 5 foot by 5 foot writing tower with solar panels for electricity.


It's hard for me to say whether STAR TREK, the original series, or THE WONDERFUL FLIGHT TO THE MUSHROOM PLANET is the earliest influence drawing me into science fiction. I do remember being glued to the TV for the openning credits of STAR TREK and I couldn't have been ten years old yet. Not many years later I began writing in earnest, each night setting up a TV tray in front of the television---not surprizingly, the stories were highly individualized recreations of STAR TREK episodes! But there was always the wonderful long tailed dragon-like creatures, part scary, part fun which were of course the Morunbend of Basidium in Eleanor Cameron's wonderful book and the basic yearning of a boy for his space ship links Stewart with the earnest David Topman.

From the fantasies of STAR TREK, the fascination of this ten year old boy for space was solidified by the very real images from the first Moon landing. Perhaps, too, the fragile, ungainly, ugly lunar module placed the seed of my love of hardware---the real nuts and bolts of it---that led me to take Stewart to the Moon in a recreation of our present day space shuttles. Movies like STAR WARS and ALIEN fit my idea of gritty, realistic science fiction images. Within my circle of my middle school and high school friends, arguing the merits of the latest STAR TREK plot or plausibility of the snazyiest technology were the equivalent of deconstructing the Super Bowl play by play. Those friends, too, were writers. We formed a close knit band of slightly wacky kids---goods kids, good grades---but wild in our own way: much of it caught on paper. The sharing of that interest in writing was probably a source of persistence. It certainly is today as I draw on the support of my writing group which I co-lead with my writer-wife, Jessie Haas.

It certainly has be true that my love of science fiction made a reader out of me. I joined the mail order science fiction book club in my early teens, saved my money to buy the selections I wanted, and built my own private library of the great authors of yesteryear---Asimov, Heinlien, Pohl, Bradbury. At the same time, I joined the Classics Club leading to a love of philosophy that I believe has sharpened my interest in the ethical issues raised by modern scientific advances.

These great authors kept my writing connected with the printed word, suggesting always that one day I might also have a story in print. That turned out to be along road for SHANGHAIED. It was the first novel I ever finished, beginning to end. That was in 1991. SHANGHAIED needed to earn over fifty rejections, and go through several re-writes---each making more sure I'd finally written the book I always meant to---before it found just the right editor: who in the process of three more revisions helped me really write the book I had in my head since first hearing that NPR report about the Scott Expedition.

Quick Links


In this follow-up to Space Station Rat (2005), Jeff and his superintelligent rodent friend, Rat, are still stuck in space. Jeff is looking forward to returning to Earth with Rat, but the adults have more sinister plans for Rat. --- Booklist
Details on how to read my 100 watt twitter & about my new solar presentations
Stewart dreams of becoming a rocket pilot like his Mom, who died in a terrible space shuttle accident, but his father is absolutely opposed to his dream. And then Stewart meets an old spacer with a very special mission...
Science Fiction
An escaped, genetically engineer rat; a bored, lonely boy; an evil robot meet on a space station. Someones life is in danger!
Want to cook s'mores using solar energy? Take a bath in sun-heated water? Read Space Station Rat using solar electricity? This is the book for you!