In ‘Riders on the Storm’ several of the characters use slang from a future language. How did you go about creating the language they use?
I let my mind go “out of gear” and try to feel what might pass for slang/language in about 50 years. Look at today’s converstions versus those of 50 year ago — half of what we say would make no sense: “tweet”, “OMG”, online, email, stimulus, neo-con, jihadi, 9/11, UAV, stealth, Mbit, VR, Facebook, apple, iPad/Pod, and many more. I just try to slide into a natural progression of things. (Actually, I have no idea where any of it comes from — it’s just there when I need it.)
What’s your favourite time-travel story and why?
Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove; because he is the master of the genre, and easily makes one believe in the story as it unfolds. As a Southerner, one always has a slight tinge of wishful thinking that perhaps Things May Have Been Otherwise.
Tell us a bit more about SIGMA.
When I worked in the White House Science Office 1992-1993, I was appalled at the lack of imagination when government bureaucrats tried their hand at forecasting. I wrote a manifesto — “The Future is too important to be left to Futurists!” — and asked some fellow science fiction authors, mostly Ph.D.s (to avoid the Washington, D. C., “giggle factor” to join me in providing the government and others with our own brand of science-fiction-based futurism. Our website, www.SigmaForum.org, has the background details, list of membrers, their bios, and some news clips. In January 2012 some of us will be appearing in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as guest panelists at the Global Competitiveness Forum 2012.
How did you get into writing?
My father read to me before I could read, and family members made up stories. I also wrote. I began submitting science fiction stories after I met some writers and began to read stories I thought I could have written better. My first publication was a poem, “Rime of the Ancient Engineer,” in Asimov’s Magazine, in 1980, followed by stories in Analog. I’ve done about 500 pieces, fact and fiction, in 100 venues, most lately with fiction in Althistory.com, Analog and Kindle e-books. My factual pieces appear in Atlantis Rising Magazine, and a regular column in UFO Magazine.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I have a real job as an environmental engineering supervisor, coordinate SIGMA activities, travel to ancient sites, and otherwise enjoy a real life with wife, children and grandchildren.
Are you working on any other short stories or novels at the moment and if so can you tell us a bit more about them?
My e-novel, Valley of the Shaman, will be available on Amazon.com in January 2012. I usually do short stories or articles at the drop of a hat, typically on a weekend, and they are most often not planned ahead of time.
What are your ambitions as a writer?
To join the Kindle Million Sellers Club.
Union or Confederacy?
Heart – Confederacy; intellect/patriotism – Union; with a time machine I would probably go back and assassinate both John Brown and John Wilkes Booth ca 1850.