Born in Oklahoma 9 June 1943. Grew up in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, Washington, D. C., and Alaska. Currently lives in Gainesville, Florida and Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife Gay Haldeman. As of August 2000, they will have been married thirty-five years.Born in Oklahoma 9 June 1943. Grew up in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, Washington, D. C., and Alaska. Currently lives in Gainesville, Florida and Cambridge, Massachusetts with his wife Gay Haldeman. As of August 2000, they will have been married thirty-five years.
Quite a few SciFi authors started out as scientists. Many lead double lives in this respect. Why do you think that is?
I think a lot of sf writers were like me -- starting out interested in science but moving over to the arts later in life. I was going to be an astronomer who occasionally wrote stories and poems.
When did you realize you wanted to write?
Always did -- I think right after I learned to read.
Which came first: publication or landing an agent?
How did it feel when you got your first acceptance letter?
It was incredible! Even though it was just a hastily typed note.
Is it obvious to you in military SciFi when an author has not experienced combat first hand?
Yes, if he or she is not a good writer. A good writer can imagine things well, and make it seem as if he or she had been there.
What do you like most about being an author?
Freedom to live as I choose.
What do you like least?
You are currently teaching writing at MIT. How did that come about?
They called me up in 1983 and asked if I wanted to teach. I've taught there every fall semester since.
Are there many aspiring SciFi authors there?
The Forever War as a stage play! Can you tell us about that?
Stuart Gordon tried to get the rights to TFW as a Chicago public TV miniseries in the 80's. That fell through because of budget, but Stuart also produced experimental stage there through the Organic Theater Company. He asked whether I was interested in adapting the story to the stage, and I said yes.
You've written a couple of Star Trek novels. Why did you take that on and how was if different from you own original work?
I took it on because I needed the money. It was totally different from original work; you're handed a situation and cast and type up something like a story. Not too interesting.
What is your method for building a story and crafting it into a novel?
There's no "method." Sit down and start writing. Some people write an outline first. I usually don't.
What are you working on now and what can you tell our readers about it?
I'm working on EARTHBOUND, the third novel in the MARSBOUND trilogy.
What most frightens you most about the future?
Technological advances in warfighting.
The backbone of our web-zine is an online writer's group, so we'd like to ask for a little advice for our developing authors. What is the most important thing someone starting out should do?
Don't write if you're happy doing something else. Be prepared for criticism and rejection. Write to please yourself.
Do you go to many Cons? If so, which ones and are you happy to spend time with fans?
I go to too many cons. Some are professional necessities --- the Worldcon, World Fantasy, the Nebula Awards Weekend. Some are social events, like Icon and MidWestcon. Usually I go because I've been invited as a guest.
I do like spending time with readers, but often I'm given so much "official" to do at a con I have little time or energy for that.