Who We Are (1 of 3): Duff
Hi, my name’s D.F. McCourt and I love science fiction. It’s in my bones.
I grew up in rural Ontario in a house full of books and magazines. The entire eastern wall of my childhood bedroom was taken up with with bookshelves to store the collected and forgotten words of my parents. The novels and encyclopaedias would hold my interest from time to time;
Agatha Christie and J.D. Salinger and Encyclopaedia Brittanica 1972. But the true heart of the library was in the magazines. My mother's collection of National Geographic and my father's collections of Analog Science Fiction and Fact and Asimov's Science Fiction.
In Asimov's autobiography, he describes growing up in the twenties and thirties, reading the pulp science fiction magazines. Over time, he says, the authors published in those pages came to seem as demigods to him. And he realized that what he wanted, more than anything else, was to be a demigod himself. I can't tell you how strongly I empathized with that feeling.
I've held down a lot of jobs over the years. I've planted trees, I've worked with the blind, I've delivered packages by bicycle. I've worked in Mexico and Toronto and Amsterdam. But whatever my business cards read, my calling has always been science fiction.
And I've had some success as a writer. I’ve seen my work in magazines, my 2004 novella sold out two limited edition print runs and I have recently completed a full-length novel for which I am seeking representation.
But over time I have come to realize that, as godlike as the great writers may be, equally deific are those who struggle behind the scenes. For all that Asimov, Van Vogt, Heinlein and Clarke were the pillars of the Golden Age, the whole thing would have collapsed in an instant without John W. Campbell.
And now, as we enter into a new heyday for science fiction in the arenas of movies and video games, it is more important than ever to ensure that the genre does not grow comfortable, predictable, stagnant. I firmly believe that science fiction is still but stretching its legs. And I don’t know where the next leg of its journey will take it, but I think I know where the first step will occur. In the magazines.
And I’m willing to work my fingers to the bone laying the paving stones for that first step. I firmly believe that a strong magazine market is the single most important factor in ensuring a healthy future for the literary genre I love. And I dearly want Canadian authors to play a strong role in that future.
So here I am.
But I have talked too long already. I am just one of three in the AE conspiracy. So now I will step aside and leave room for my partners to introduce themselves. I will however be keeping a blog chronicling my involvement in bringing AE from the drawing board to the printing room floor. So please, feel free to follow along at: http://duffae.blogspot.com.