Dorothy Emry is a writer who, so far, has one published short story to her name: “Outside the Grid” the story of a mad Mars rover, which appeared in the fourth issue of Escape Velocity, The Magazine of Science Fact and Fiction, published by Adventure Books of Seattle and edited by Geoff Nelder and Robert Blevins and now available in Escape Velocity: The Anthology. (One, and perhaps the only, benefit of such a paltry publishing history is that it leaves space to fully credit the lovely people who made it happen.) She has also written book reviews for StaticMultiMedia.com. The reviews and interviews aren’t up on the site anymore, but they are archived here on Nerdwrites.
I graduated from college with a B.A. in Studio Art, a minor in English and lots of credits in Theater. Then I got a job at a major department store and stayed in retail for seventeen years, working my way up from restaurant staff to the executive level ( at a very small store). Go figure. All through those years, I scribbled away at fiction writing in my spare time and developed my credentials as a nerd. How much of a nerd? I read the Lord of the Rings twice before the films were w twinkle in Peter Jackson’s eyes and own, on VHF and DVD, the theatrical cuts as well as the boxed DVD sets of the extended versions. And yes, I have watched all the special features and commentary tracks. But, no, I haven’t yet dressed up as Hobbit, Elf, or Dwarf for Halloween or any other occasion. Still, I’m pretty far gone according to the nerdomometer. However could this have happened, you might – or might not – ask?
It all started with my parents. Both were avid readers and film buffs. Mom got me hooked on musicals, romantic comedies and fantasy, but my dad’s the one who got me hooked on horror and science fiction. Mom used to go to bed when we stayed up to watch old monster movies leaving him with the warning, “Al, if she has nightmares, you’re the one who’s going to stay up with her.” I never did have nightmares. I usually felt sorry for the monsters – poor misunderstood creatures, only guilty of following their own instincts.
I’ve never been able to remember the title or author of the first science fiction book I read. I used to sneak away with my dad’s latest paperback stash and read them in secret (of which I’m sure now he was fully aware) and the only thing I recall about the book is a scene where a boy is outside, under the school bleachers, eating ants. I remember thinking how weird that was and wondering what would happen next. Eventually, my dad just handed over an anthology to read: An ABC of Science Fiction, edited by Tom Boardman, Jr. (one of the items in this site’s header image). It’s that book that got me truly hooked on science fiction. “Thirty Days Had September” by Robert F. Young and Roger Zelazny’s “The Great Slow Kings” are two of those 26 stories that I’ve never gotten out of my head.
Dad and I also used to watch original The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone together. I loved seeing a new story come to life every episode, but I felt something was missing from the whole TV Scifi experience. Then along came Star Trek, the original series (yep, I’m that old) where the same characters and world would be explored week after week. When it moved to the 9pm time slot in its last season, I begged to be allowed to stay up past my bedtime for just that one night. Request granted. After all, what could my dad say? He was the one who started me down that road.
Later, I had to survive on Star Trek reruns in those lean years when it seemed my favorite genres had been banned from TV and the movies, years when the science fiction/fantasy section of a book store might be all of one or two shelves. Hard to believe for those born into an era when even Star Trek: Enterprise is old news that there was once more than a decade when no one cared about Kirk or Spock except for us nerds and geeks at the conventions. I never dreamed as a kid that there would be a TV channel called Syfy or that Battlestar Galactica would return in a version unsillyfied by capelets on fleet uniforms or robotic dogs.
It’s all sorts of wonderful now to have such a wealth of TV series, movies and books to enjoy: Supernatural, Stargate, Walking Dead, The Terminator, Aliens, Predator, Resident Evil, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games to name just a few. And zombies everywhere, even in Jane Austen, and in hefty anthologies like The Living Dead (edited by John Joseph Adams). Shiny. Even if we head into another downturn for horror, scifi and fantasy, I think I’ve got enough good stuff to tide me over for a decade or two.
Aside from reading and watching TV and movies in my favorite genres, I do have a life. I work as a writer and editor of high school curriculum. In my spare time, aside from writing fiction, I garden, dabble in photography, and love to listen to music from my favorite local band, Nomad Planets – who don’t really have a connection to scifi. (On the other hand, take a look at their latest CD cover and you decide.)