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


Thu1600Travel as a Research MethodSo here you are in Japan; can you use the trip to stimulate your work? What are the ups and downs of tourism-as-research? What do you miss? What does it add?Amy THOMSON, Jon COURTENAY GRIMWOOD, Peter HECK
Fri1000Is This Your First Worldcon? (Japanese)What everyone should know about about Worldcons. This session will emphasize knowledge for first timers from Asia.Amy THOMSON, Marah SEARLE-KOVACEVIC, Joe SICLARI
Fri1100Kaffeeklatsche Amy THOMSON
Fri1300Autographs Amy THOMSON
Fri1400Yaoi vs. Slash Mari KOTANI, Anne HARRIS, Amy THOMSON, Reiko HIKAWA, Hisayo OGUSHI, Junko KANEDA, Azusa NOA
Fri1600Writing Non-Human CharactersIt's difficult for humans to think past themselves sufficiently to create something that's more alien than an athropomorphized Gila monster or a psychic tarantula. How do we make non-human characters alive and real without making them copies of ourselves? † How do we avoid cliches?Amy THOMSON, Cecilia DART-THORNTON, G. David NORDLEY, Candas Jane DORSEY
Sat1400Alien SexualityAlien sex is frequently depicted as being the same as human sex with differences in superficial biology. What if the Venerians are not just us with bad haircuts and bigger ... ears? How would aliens enjoy sex? Is it necessary to enjoy it? For all 2 to the x partners. Amy THOMSON, Anne HARRIS, Geoffrey A. LANDIS, Pat CADIGAN
Sun1200Design a Truly Alien AlienIn science fiction aliens resemble humans with rubber face masks, inspired by rare terrestrial life-forms. Their behaviors, while extreme, are familiar (like Crazy uncle Ted). Is it alien if it is familiar? The panelists will be asked to conceive of the most inhuman, least earthly aliens possible.Amy THOMSON, Geoffrey A. LANDIS, Lawrence M. SCHOEN, Patricia MACEWEN
Sun1400Readings Amy THOMSON
Sun1700Miss Piggy and GodzillaWe have fun and speculate on some interesting dates. Poor Godzilla. Amy THOMSON, David D. LEVINE, Tom GALLOWAY