Barry B. Longyear
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| It was a dark and
stormy night . . .
George Scithers and me at Noreascon II, 1980
At 3:00 AM I was born in the Harrisburg Hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1942. I haven't had a good night's sleep since. That part of the hospital has since been torn down. My home was across the Susquehanna River in a thinly populated pastoral settlement in York County that was then called Frogtown. It is no longer thinly populated, pastoral, or called Frogtown. The home I was born into was filled to the limit with brilliance, literacy, music, wit, passion, and sickness. It has since burned down. I attended the Siler School (I'm not sure of the spelling. It was kindergarten, after all) which went out of business; the Harrisburg Academy (which has since moved out of Harrisburg), public school in Scottsdale, Arizona, Tarrytown School in Tarrytown, New York, Sanford School in Hockessin, Delaware, and then a long stretch at Staunton Military Academy in Staunton, Virginia, where I graduated in 1960. All of these latter schools have either been disbanded, torn down, or gone belly up. I spent many fruitless years seeking some kind of permanence.
Afterward, I attended a commercial art school in Pittsburgh (the same one artist and illustrator Kelly Freas attended, The Pittsburgh Institute of Art), there was some wandering around, then in 1962 I enlisted in the U.S. Army. I served with the 30th Artillery Brigade on Okinawa as a HAWK missile and launcher technician, and later with the 6th Missile Battalion in Key West, Florida. I was discharged in 1965 and attended Wayne State University for a time. There I met and eloped with the mysterious Regina. After some more wandering in Detroit, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia, we moved to Farmington, Maine.
There were a variety of occupations and causes over the years, then, shortly after selling the printing company Jean and I owned, I wrote and sold my first short story, "The Tryouts," to Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine in 1978. "Tryouts" lead to more Momus stories which were later gathered into my first book, Circus World.
More stories and books followed, then after the success of my novella "Enemy Mine," awards and a movie. Rather than burden you with a book-by-book recitation, please check out the bibliography. To round out my education, in preparation for my new mystery writing career, in 1998 I graduated from International Correspondence Schools as a Private Investigator. When I got my diploma, I called ICS and asked if I could be sent a copy of the school song. This was not a wise call for me to have made, for I fear I have been placed upon a list.
My writing career began for what later turned out to be rather self-destructive reasons: I wanted "to be somebody." In addition to that, I've never quite had a very good grasp on reality and I have always been an incredibly convincing liar. It was either fiction writing or politics. When I began writing fiction, I started with science fiction for a number of reasons I've discussed fully in The Write Stuff, but I stayed with it for so long because it was an incredible trip. Writing science fiction and fantasy is just like reading it in at least one way: it is an excellent escape. The then editor of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, George Scithers, bought my first story, and through him I was introduced to the genre and to organized science fiction and fantasy fandom. A more interesting, fascinating, lovable, and brilliant bunch of men, women, and kids you will never meet.
Stories were selling, books were being published, awards were coming in, Hollywood wanted to make a movie out of my story, “Enemy Mine,” and as all good fiction writers know, that's about when you have to run a truck over your character to give him a challenge to overcome. So, at the end of 1981, there I was in St. Mary's Rehabilitation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, bouncing between the sweats and the sub-zero temperatures, in meetings with other patients, still somewhat astonished at identifying myself as an alcoholic and prescription drug addict. My experiences at St. Mary's were the foundation for my book, Saint Mary Blue. All of the rules of the universe changed for me, and then it was time to begin my life and my career all over again. I've described this in my I hate-to-meditate meditation book, Yesterday's Tomorrow: Recovery Meditations for Hard Cases. In short, I had to change everything in my life, among them my reasons for living and for writing. My reason for writing these days is the ride. I love it. Once a story grabs me, I am literally transported elsewhere, and the eyes I get to look through, and the scenes I get to see, are always captivating and are frequently sustaining.Part of what I like most about writing is teaching it. I've done workshops and seminars, helped a few individuals one-on-one, lectured at countless schools, and have even taught "creative writing" at the University of Maine at Farmington for a couple of semesters *shudder*. The Write Stuff is now available in book form and as a Kindle. None of us will ever again have to set foot in a classroom (although, if your group ships me in to put on a seminar, chances are it will be in a classroom).
What I like the least about writing is interruption, unless I am being frustrated by a tough story problem, then any kind of interruption will do. I particularly favor invitations to go skiing.
For hobbies, I ski, root for the Yankees, Giants, and USA in Olympic sports, cheer for the gray in the Army-Navy game (for my sins), I paint, wood carve, wallow in ancient Roman history, watch old (and new ) movies, and ski some more. There is a dog, Tay, a poodle mix who snores at night. The mysterious Regina and I reside in Maine.
Thanks for looking in,
Barry B. Longyear
1979 (Nomination) John W. Campbell Award for best new writer.
1979 John W. Campbell Award for best new writer.
1979 Hugo Award, best novella, "Enemy Mine."
1979 Nebula Award, best novella, "Enemy Mine."
1979 Locus Award, best novella, "Enemy Mine."
1979 (Nomination) Hugo Award, best novelette, "Homecoming."
1980 (Nomination), Hugo Award, best novelette, "Savage Planet."
1980 (Nomination), Locus Award, best novelette, "Savage Planet."
1980 (Nomination), AnLab Award, best novelette, "Savage Planet."
1981 (Nomination) Locus Award, Single Author Collection, Manifest Destiny.
1981 Distinguished Achievement Award, University of Maine at Farmington.
1982 (Nomination), AnLab Award, best short story, "Collector's Item."
1984 (Nomination) Prometheus Award, best novel, The Tomorrow Testament.
1990 (Finalist) Philip K. Dick Award, best novel, Infinity Hold.
1990 (Nomination) Prometheus Award, best novel, Infinity Hold.
1991 (Nomination) Prometheus Hall of Fame, Circus World.
1993 (Nomination), Locus Award, best novelette, "Chimaera."
1994 (Nomination), Locus Award, best novelette, "The Death Addict."
1999 (Nomination) Prometheus Hall of Fame, Circus World.
2002 (Nomination), Locus Award, best novella, "Silent Her."
2006 AnLab Award, best novella, "The Good Kill."
AnLab Award, best novelette, "The Hangingstone Rat."
*Does not include art awards