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Who is this jerk?
Since I have been recently taking up space (to little good end)
on the mailing list, I thought I would drop a note giving
something of a bio.
I took degrees in geology and fisheries biology from Murray State
some time in the late Cenozoic. At graduation, I had delusions of
being a paleontologist. I soon discovered that the very few
openings available were not particulary hungry for green grad
students from little state schools that had barely managed to
hold onto a "B" average.
So I went to work. Over the course of a few years, I did make
money as a consulting geologist, but also as a newspaper
photographer, coal miner, surveyor, explosives worker, and
I eventually landed at Peabody Coal Company as a geologist,
eventually Senior Geologist, and stayed there better than a
decade. Following this, I drifted into computer use in
geoscience, devloping the "StratiFact" program now used as a
visual database of stratigraphy by some 300 companies,
universities, and government agencies.
Six years ago, I gave up a decent living as a geologist for
a dirt poor living as a fiction writer. I have sold 18 novels,
30 short stories, and dozens of articles. I have not made a
million bucks, had a film made from one of my books, or
been interviewed by Katie Couric.
I'll be out at Russ Jacobson's S. Dakota dig site this summer,
as I was last year, playing the enthusiast and cheerfully
uncovering bones I'm glad I don't have to mount.
In the next six months, I'm starting work on a novel, DINOSAURS
DOWNUNDER, an alternate history in which dinosaurs have survived
to modern times on Australia. It should hit the stands some time
in '98. None of my other books have managed to crossover my
geologic experience, except that the South Dakota badlands,
Black Hills, and Powder River Basin have all made token
appearances. DEVIL'S TOWER, out this fall, features a good
deal of western scenery, along with an animated dinosaur
I am too old, and too fat to provide accurate figures for either
of those areas.
My hat is off to those of you laboring in the field, and those
with the stick-to-it to keep up with the blinding array of
discoveries. I left paleontology behind as a profession, but
I have not stopped thinking about it for a day. You have my
encouragement and admiration if you can tough it out in this
Visit my home page at http://www.greyware.com/authors/Sumner
or check out the DEVIL'S TOWER Preview page at