Amy Thomson


I was born in Miami, where I survived the Cuban Missile Crisis, half a dozen hurricanes, and twelve years of school.  I grew up with the space program, watching rocket launches, including several moon launches on trips to Cape Canaveral/Kennedy.  My brothers surfed, and I played on the beach and watched rockets take off.  When I wasnít dodging hurricanes, or watching launches, I had my nose in a book.  After high school I headed for Idaho, believing it to be like Colorado, only John Denver hadnít sung about it yet.  I went to the University of Idaho in Moscow, with some vague idea about learning how to live on the side of a mountain and raise goats.  The idea began to pall along about the time I learned how to father a chicken.  By then I had met up with a bad crowd: science fiction fans, and it was downhill from there.  I started going to science fiction conventions, even helping to organize a few.  From there the tragic slide into writing science fiction was all too easy.  Especially with the Moscow Moffia a local writers workshop, there to help me.  That workshop included Dean Wesley Smith and Nina Kiriki Hoffman, who both managed to survive reading my first short story, though they did require emergency treatment for bad grammar burns.  Eventually my sordid activities caught up with me and I had to leave town.  Which is how I wound up in Seattle.  I started off easy, writing short stories, then I attended Clarion West in 1984, and started to hit the hard stuff, first reviews, and then novels.  I started hanging around other writers, schmoozing with editors, staying up all night deconstructing Samuel R. Delaney, and Ursula K. Le Guin.  Then I sold my first novel, Virtual Girl, and a second, The Color of Distance.  It was then I realized the depths of iniquity to which I had sunk.  I found myself waking up in the middle of the night, fingers twitching as though I were typing.  If I missed a day of writing I would begin to tremble and sweat.  After two days, I would get shooting pains in my arms and legs, and I would stagger to the keyboard and write.  I would write anything to make the withdrawal pains go away: short stories, novels, reviews.  I even, in the depths of my extremity, committed poetry.  Even as I write this there is yet another book forcing its way toward completion.  It starts innocently enough, reading books, first mainstream novels, then maybe a little experimental fiction.  Then perhaps some Heinlein or Le Guin.  You begin daydreaming, getting story ideas.  Then you sit down to write....  Friends, donít let this happen to you.  Donít let yourself be dragged down into the gutter with me.  When that urge to write strikes you, seek help.  Call a friend, a minister, your doctor.  Talk about the weather, or sports until the urge passes.  Think on me and rejoice in the narrowness of your escape.


Recently published - Virtual Girl, The Color of Distance, Through Alien Eyes, Storyteller

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