"In England the Patten family claim an ancestry coeval with the Conquest." This is the beginning of the genealogy handed down to me when I was young. My Scots-Irish ancestors were said to have been privateers during the Revolutionary War, but then moved to Nova Scotia shortly after the war. My great-grandfather brought his family to Minnesota, but died of typhoid in the early 1880s. My great-grandmother returned to Nova Scotia with her daughters, leaving my grandfather with relatives to recuperate from typhoid. This family history was just the beginning of my interest in history.
Growing up at the beginning of the Computer Age and Space Age, I was sure that the moon, if not Mars, would be colonized by the early 21st century and that robots would be at least as advanced as the robot from "Lost in Space". I wrote my first computer programs in 1968 and carried them around on rolls of punched paper tape.
I was addicted to science fiction and fantasy. A Marvel Comics fan, I still have 15 of the first 20 Iron Man, 35 of the first 100 Avengers, 30 of the first 100 Spiderman, 25 of the first 100 X-Men, Marvel Tales #2 (The Origin of the Avengers, The origin of the X-Men, The origin of Doctor Strange), and many others. The first books I remember reading were the Lucky Starr series by Isaac Asimov (as Paul French).
By the time I started at the University of Minnesota, I had been writing computer programs for almost four years, so I decided I wanted to study something broader than computer science. I earned a B.S. and an M.A. in Economics, learning from three Nobel Laureate Professors: Leonid Hurwicz, Christopher Sims, and Thomas Sargent. Another of my professors and also my boss when I was an instructor was Professor Edward Coen, father of the Coen Brothers.
It turns out I never had just one career. I was an economist, a programmer (writing programs for statistical software, compilers, and operating systems), a project manager, a VP of Information Services, and a consultant. I also earned a 2nd degree black belt in Song Moo Kwon Tae Kwon Do and was an instructor for several years.
Now, I'm fulfilling the prediction of my 9th grade standardized assessment. I'm writing.
What would the world look like if guns, germs, and steel hadn’t been able to decimate the New World? What if a petroleum-based world economy never happened? What if there are aliens, but they have no interest in conquering Earth? Rather, what if the aliens believe that humans have the potential to become the most dangerous intelligent species that had ever been encountered? What if genetic engineering is taken far beyond what people commonly think is possible today? Will it be good or bad? Will humans continue to be pure biological beings? Will they become a hybrid of biological and non-biological beings? (Hint: they’re not ugly like the Borg). What if time travel is possible? Will humans or human-hybrids achieve better results when they attempt to change history than humans have when they intervene in other cultures during their own time? These are only some of the questions that form the basis of the Renegade World series of books, an alternative history of Earth.