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I think that each of us is unique and yet we are the distillation of everything that has come before. So it is with writing also, and mine owes as much to Aristophanes as it does to J. A. Jance; to Aesop as much as to Ray Bradbury; to the Grimm Brothers as to John D. MacDonald; to Shakespeare as to Raymond Chandler; to the nameless bards who sang of Cú Chulainn and Conaire Mor and the nameless scribes who later wrote down their words as to Homer who gave us Achilles and Odysseus, and Edmond Rostand and Miguel de Cervantes who immortalized Cyrano and Don Quixote, and Fritz Leiber who gave us Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
Andre Norton, Anne McCaffrey, Fredric Brown, Phillip José Farmer, Ian Fleming, Zane Grey, J. R. R. Tolkien, A. A. Milne, James Thurber, Mark Twain, Robert W. Service, John Steinbeck, Hemingway, Ayn Rand, Solzhenitsyn, Checkov, Pasternak, John Donne, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Sappho, Ben Hecht, Emil Petaja, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Beatrix Potter, Ogden Nash, Heinlein, Clarke, Azimov, Ellison, Silverberg, Dick, Simak, Vonnegut, Verne, Dumas, Hugo, Chesterton, Conan Doyle, Thomas Jefferson, Tom Paine, Alice Walker, Elmore Leonard, the list goes on and on ad infinitum.
Every author, whether I've read his or her works or not, whether I liked his or her works or not; every writer, scribe who ever typed, penned, incised a word, a line, are as much a part of me, my DNA, as the Conarys, Dames, Longs, Fullers, Cousins, Chilton on back to that first amoeba that tweaked to life in the long forgotten primordial ooze.