J. Allen Wilder is a native southern California and has lived in many places from the southwestern deserts to the Hudson valley of New York. He currently resides somewhere in the hazy southern Appalachian Mountains where he is allergic to everything. He is married, has a teenager with teenicles, a guinea pig with attitude, a Jack Russell Terrier with too much energy, and, sadly, a wandering cat with delusions of godhood who squatted in his carport and never left. He also has graduate degrees in Russian history and theology. He once had a train club meeting in Hudson, New York which built an N scale layout called Purgatory. (It seemed an appropriate name for a layout built in a church basement.) He first began developing the roots of the Terra Arcadian Universe in scribblings and sketches back in the late 1960's and writes these stories just for the fun of it.
Look for his books in print at www.amazon.com and www.createspace.com.
Other stories from the Terra Arcadian Universe by the author are forthcoming: The Voyage of the Nimbus Star; Truman's War, and others.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Barely. It was in the 5th grade. That would be the fall of 1967. I don't remember if it even had a title. It was about a trip to the Moon, in a rocketship of the type you'd expect to see in a George Pal movie. And I imagine it was very badly written. I remember my classmates didn't like it and thought the whole idea was silly. "Nobody will ever go to the Moon. It's impossible." I thought my classmates were lacking imagination. I was right. Two years later Neil Armstrong was walking on the Moon, and I was building models of the Apollo spaceship and the lunar lander.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read, but I do remember the first science fiction story I read. That was The Runaway Robot by Lester del Rey. (To be accurate, it was ghost written by Paul W. Fairman using an outline by Lester del Rey, and published in 1965.) I got it through the Scholastic Book Club in 1966. I was in the 4th grade. I had read other stories before that: Charlotte's Web and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but I didn't get it. The stories were confusing to me at the time. I guess having dyslexia and ADD (which I wasn't diagnosed with until I was 55) had something to do with that. But The Runaway Robot was different. It captured my imagination, unlike more mundane stories, and made me think. "What is a domestic robot?" "What about this place Ganymede? What would it be like to live there and how would I get there?" That started something new for me. Of course, I had seen some old classic sci fi movies on a black and white TV, I had seen Lost in Space which came out when I was in the 3rd grade, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, a few 1950s' alien invasion movies, some classic George Pal movies, and Mysterious Island and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, a couple of classic Disney movies based Jules Verne's stories. Star Trek had just hit TV when I was in the 4th grade, but I didn't pay any attention to it at the time. But literary science fiction was something entirely new for me. It kind of grabbed me. After The Runaway Robot, I read another book under del Rey's byline and ghost written by Fairman, Tunnel Through Time, which I got from the Scholastic Book Club in 1966. Then there was Theodore Sturgeon's 1961 novel, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which I found in my parents' stash of paperback novels. In the summer of 1967 at a supermarket in Albuquerque I found Lucky Starr and the Moons of Jupiter by Isaac Asimov, who was writing under the pen name Paul French. I don't know how many times I read that book in 67. Then later that year I found Dave Van Arnam's 1967 novel Lost in Space in a bookstore in Yuma, Arizona. By that time I had started watching Star Trek, a late bloomer, I suppose, but del Rey (Fairman), Sturgeon, Asimov, and Van Arnam had me hooked on literary science fiction.