My dad used to play a tape recording he made of me when I was 5 years old (1956). On it, I related a story about a ‘mechanical man who roamed the land’. I guess that was my first science fiction story. My favorite T.V. show in those days was ‘Science Fiction Theater’ (“Let me show you something interesting.”) Later, ‘Men Into Space’, ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘One Step Beyond’ and even ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ captured my imagination. D.C. Comics were a staple. Tom Swift stories helped me to learn to read. I’m not sure when I discovered Bradbury’s ‘The Martian Chronicles’ but I reread it many times during my grade school days. He became my favorite sci-fi author at the time. Of course, I soon discovered Campbell, Asimov, van Vogt, Heinlein and many others. A particular favorite is Fritz Leiber. All are ‘Golden Age’ authors and the genre I attempt to imitate. Ordinary folks caught up in extraordinary events is the template I begin with (the ‘Alfred Hitchcock’ influence no doubt). It doesn’t matter if those folks reside on Earth or in another galaxy or if the extraordinary events involve an invasion from space, a domination by rogue computers, questions of God and existence or speculations on the future; logic is logic but the responses to such events and concepts make the story.
Now retired, my working life was spent in CNC manufacturing. I had the opportunity to be trained on early computers. Turned out I had an affinity with computerized machining and ended my career a few years ago working with state of the art computers doing incredible things with unbelievable machinery. Programming in the various languages, getting the utmost out of the equipment and even going beyond limits to have the machines do things they were never designed to do became my forte. I was consulted on a few jobs after retirement. In my working years, my main focus was Defense and Aerospace. I was involved in some neat projects including F-15 engines, launching systems for Patriot missiles, the JSOW missile guidance system and a few others things I probably am not allowed to discuss even today.
During those years I wrote as much as possible, submitted a few stories here and there and had a grand total of two short stories published! Retirement has allowed me time to work in earnest on a passion that has been inside me since I was 5 years old.