A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Feasts of December (3)

December 20

70 Years in the Making!

Two crazy kids preparing for the vital task of producing TOF
Getting an early start on reading
Getting an early partner for hijinx
Even back then TOF favored suspenders
And then there were three brothers, all duded up for Easter

With four brothers, we had to line up to make a proper head count
Let alone with five

Okay, sometimes we didn't line up
TOF in High School was skinnier than today
As editor of the HS Literary Magazine, TOF published his own stories!
(Yes, we wore jackets and ties to school. It was a professional job, after all.)
TOF portrayed Mayor Shinn in The Music Man
before HS plays became professionalized.
And Sweet Sharon graciously accompanied him to the prom.
Then came college at LaSalle in Philadelphia, a 60 mile trip
accomplished in a '54 Packard Clipper called "The Beast"
TOF artistically contemplates a burning candle in his dorm room
Sweet Sharon graciously came to Philly for the Caisson Ball.
 There follows a span of time for which photographs have not been digitized. After the Beast bit the dust, getting back and forth proved problematical and TOF told Sweet Sharon that she should date other guys rather than sit around waiting to see if TOF would make it back. Eventually, TOF heard that she had been wed to another. Although TOF dated casually afterward, it was not until years afterward that he found another who was her equal.

After graduating with a BA in mathematics TOF proceeded to Milwaukee where he studied for a Masters in mathematics at Marquette University under J. Douglas Harris. While there, TOF lived in a sort of urban commune, one of the communards becoming the inspiration for The O'Neil in the Irish Pub stories and the Irish Pub we frequented becoming fictionalized as the setting thereto. The commune, somewhat modified as to its inhabitants, is currently undergoing rehearsals as the setting for The Shipwrecks of Time.

His work in General Topology led TOF to write a Masters thesis entitled "Universal Range Spaces and Function Space Topologies," a real wowser for which he expects the movie rights to be bought Real Soon Now. It was, however, published in a real, live mathematics journal. Woo hoo.

He had begun dating a girl named Maria, a native of Austria, and it seemed to be going somewhere, save she was probably not going to Colorado when TOF graduated and left town. Then two of the communards brought a coworker to dinner one day and although it is a cliche to say so, when she sat across the High Table from TOF and TOF looked into her smile, he just knew that she was the One. Her name was Margie. There were only two minor difficulties. TOF was already seeing Maria and Margie was already seeing Rich Old Elliot.

But difficulties are for overcoming, and upon graduation from Marquette, with a spanking new Masters degree and a Graduate assistantship waiting at Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, the newlyweds climbed in the back of a friend's van, surrounded by boxes of books and records in the approved 60s fashion and heighed for the Rocky Mountains. Despite predictions by those bemused at the suddenness of it all, they are still at it, 46 years later.
The Incomparable Marge (l) and TOF (r) in 1972,
the Era of Big Hair and Funky Jackets. TOF also had plaid
bell bottoms and paisley shirts and the Marge had a bright
yellow pants suit with flowers up the side. Boomer Rule!

 After that, one thing followed another:
One thing (l) and another (r)

Yes, it's true. TOF had a beard for a time. And a lambs fur chapik.
Clearly he was influenced by the Russians.
Or by the Amish, or something. Taken in the mountains near Golden, CO

 Following a PhD interlude best passed over in silence, TOF spent eleven years as a quality engineer and applied statistician at Coors Container Company in Golden CO, engaged in problem-solving, experimental design, and other such activities. Again, there are few digitized photographs of this era. Following this, his head was hunted by STAT-A-MATRIX, a consulting and training firm then in Edison NJ, and for whom he engaged with various clients on sundry continents, including the Panama Canal Authority, ITC (Chennai, India), Reckitt-Benckiser (Johannesburg, Chartres, Australia, Hull), IAEA Safeguards (Vienna), NASA, et al. on quality management systems, statistical analysis, quality improvement, etc.
TOF the consultant, in the ITC Compound outside Chennai, TN, India
Much of what TOF observed in Chennai wound up as the Terran Corner
of Jehovah in the January Dancer
 Already while working at Coors, TOF had begun selling stories to Analog Science Fiction, the first one being "Slan Libh," (Nov 1984)

TOF the writer. Stan Schmidt (l) then editor of Analog and
Ian Randal Strock, then assistant editor

Sometimes TOF gets the cover story!

TOF accepting the Theodore Sturgeon Award for best
short fiction of the year
  But TOF has also written a number of novels:

TOF, shortly after seizing the Iron Throne for House Flynn

TOF, aggressively writing at Lunacon
TOF reading at the Battle of the Books, Bethlehem Public Library
Photo by Sweet Sharon
TOF the Moosehead

Sweet Sharon at 50th HS Reunion

The traditional line-up, the four surviving brothers


  1. A late happy birthday! Keep up the good work! :D

  2. You appear to have prospered more than your brethren.

  3. This was a great read. Enjoyed hearing about your life! Best wishes to you, both.

    P.S. The Sweet Sharon cameo pic at the end was a great touch.


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