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I used to answer every single letter from a reader (who wasn't nasty) personally. It's something I still would love to do, but the volume got so great that, between writing the books and answering the mail, my sons were beginning to ask their mother who I was and she was having trouble remembering herself. As a result. I've been forced to this, which contains the answers to many of the most asked questions. So, unless you gave a compelling reason for requiring a personal answer (in which case you will receive an email reply if you left your Internet address) this is what you must content yourself with. Sorry but what can I do? OhI know it's not the best photo, but.... See the one in Grolier's SF CD for a better one. I don't have the rights to it. To skip this and get back to the home page, click here.
(1) Where do you get your ideas?
(2) Why do you live in Maryland when you could live
in southern California or Florida?
(3) Will there be more (a) Well World novels (b) Four
Lords novels [c] Dancing Gods novels?
(4) What do you do for a living?
(5) Can you get me copies of books of yours that are
out of print?
(6) Which SF writers do you particularly like to read?
(7) Do you play role playing games?
(8) What SF movies do you like?
(9) If I send you something to autograph, will you?
(10) Will you read my manuscript or help me with my
(11) What is your real name?
(12) Any chance of doing some of the books as ebooks?
(13) You write so much. Is there a list of all you've
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Jack L. Chalker in Word & Deed
A Bibliographical Reference with Commentary
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Who is Jack L. Chalker?
Concise Biographical Notes for the Interested
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Born: 12/17/44, Baltimore, MD (although all bios and even Who's Who say Norfolk so who am I to argue with Who's Who?). It's a self-perpetuating error that has grown too large to be worth correcting. I really don't mind since I have roots and tons of family in Norfolk, anyway.
Education: Baltimore City public schools, B.S. Towson State College [now Towson University], graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University. Although I have a strong science background, my degrees are in history and English. My graduate specialty is the "History of Ideas," which is to say I'm a certified expert on isms and ologies. I have taught history on the high school and college levels, and am or have been a lecturer at the Smithsonian, The National Institutes of Health, and numerous colleges and universities, mostly on science fiction and technology subjects.
Occupations: Aside from the usual kid occupations, I've been a professional typesetter, a sound engineer for outdoor rock concerts, an audio and computer reviewer, free-lance editor, a publisher (founder and now sole owner of The Mirage Press, Ltd.), a book packager, an Air National Guard Information Director, new and used book dealer, and teacher as mentioned above. I was a special forces Air Commando during the Vietnam war period but never served west of Amarillo (note, however, that no Viet Cong penetrated east of Albuquerque while I was there). I was, however, in the warmy TDY duty tour in Vietnam lasted a bit over 4 hours, but I got the ribbon and combat pay. Since 1978 I have made my living solely by writing, although Mirage Press continues in business, doing a CD ROM of my big reference work, The Science-Fantasy Publishers, with Mark Owings, and annual supplements to same.
Family: Married Eva C. Whitley on the ferryboat Roaring Bull in the middle of the Susquehanna River in 1978; 2 sons, David Whitley Chalker, b.1981; Steven Lloyd Chalker, b.1991. To see Dave's self-designed and very elaborate (and pretty weird) web page, click HERE. Also inhabiting the house is Mavra Chang, the Valley Girl of Pekingese, and Valentine Pussycat, a homicidal attack cat that is slow to learn proper behavior.
Memberships: Sierra Club (life member), National Parks & Monuments Association, Amnesty International, The Natural Resources Defense Council, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The National Aquarium, Maryland Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Smithsonian, Maryland Historical Society, Washington Science Fiction Association, American Film Institute, American Legion, many others, with varying degrees of activism. I have long been active in and supportive of conservation and historical preservation causes. I'm also a past 3-term treasurer of the Science Fiction Writers of America. I am a registered Democrat and two-time unsuccessful candidate for office. I am also a Kentucky Colonel and an Honorary Mayor of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, among other things. This information is given not as advocacy to my readers but basically to show you where the "real" Jack L. Chalker is coming from, which, I know, is not the political image I tend to have from people who read and don't quite understand my works.
Awards include the Dedalus Award (1983), The Gold Medal of the West Coast Review of Books (1984), Skylark Award (1985), Hamilton-Brackett Memorial Award (1979), others of varying importance. 2 time John W. Campbell Award nominee, no wins. Hugo nominee 4 times, 0 wins (but, hey, Spielberg finally got an Oscar and Hitchcock never did so who knows?).
Continuing Interests and Avocations: Ferryboats, travel, national arks and monuments, consumer electronics, politics, history, space program, printing and publishing, boo collecting, auctioneering, old time radio and classic TV, computers. This one is a Chalker-built PIII/1000 Chalker built system running, yes, Windows XP Pro if you care, and also around is a Sony Viaonotebook computer that I take with me when I travel. My wife uses a VAR built P4/1.6gig machine and my oldest son has a VAR built Celeron system while my younger has his own home built Celeron. Lately I've been weirdly writing my books in Adobe FrameMaker, a high end dtp package but it's comfortable, being EMACS based like my old DOS wp, Borland's Sprint. Yes, I know how to program but consider it in the same thrilling vein as being asked to inventory sand grains in Libya. I am frequently on Compuserve in the Windows Support and graphics sections (not in the SF section there--too huge). You can also email me (I answer mail that isn't nasty) at .
For those wondering, that is me in Faces of Science
Fiction, and my satellite dish, and my oldest
son (who's 16 now), and my dog, but it's not my house. The photo
was taken with my old house at the photographer's back. She wanted
the dish more than the house in the picture; it seems I'm the
only US SF author she photographed who owned one. Now you'll
never see that house; I moved to a much larger one further into
the mountains. I still have a dish, though, whose input I can
watch from the indoor Jacuzzi. Decadence is wonderful. Incidentally,
not only is that not my house, but my son's now far older and
my beloved little puppy dog in the photo, Hoy, died Nolacon weekend
(1988). He could not be replaced, but his successor wais Mavra
Chang, a sable Pekinese who was Dave's dog. Mavra vanished just after Torcon
3 in 2003 at age 15 and was never seen or heard from again. The newcomer
is Steve's dog, Boomer, a tan and white beagle who wants to be everybody's
friend but has yet to win over the cat, but who is very different
from our previous dogs. Steve worships him, so what can we do?
Content © 1984-2004
by Jack L. Chalker. All rights reserved including electronic. Permission
is granted to distribute this in electronic or print form so long as there
is no charge to the receiving party for it and that nothing is added
subtrac ted from the entire text including this copyright notice. All other
rights and all exceptions are reserved under the Universal, Pan American,
and Berne copyright conventions and all other applicable conventions. The
Mirage symbol, created by David Prosser, is © 1962, renewed 1990
by Jack L. Chalker.
All rights reserved.
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Web version last updated December 9, 2000.