>Introduction: Monday -Dave Freer: enter fool left, capering sadly, with occasional manic laughter

>Dave Freer here:

Let me introduce myself to the world: Myself, this the world. World, this is myself.
I am pleased to meet you all… I think.
Many people call me Dave Freer, or Monkey, or just ‘hey you.’
Mad Geniuses? And me?
Of course, any worthwhile group of mad geniuses needs its token cretin. This is, you might say, my métier. And I am at least, mad. I do write, and I strive to make that my métier too. I do not pretend to be very good at it, but I have been striving away for a number of years and have learned a little by the simple process of doing it wrong and having to do it again. And again. If you can learn by the mistakes of others, well, I’ll tell you about mine. There’ll be some other very solid advice and commentary from the real geniuses, who are all much better at this than I am. You’ll just have to put up with manic Monday from me, for the benefit of their sage words.
Some general background: I am a writer of Science Fiction, Fantasy and a few other things. I live in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, on top of a mountain a few miles from the middle of nowhere, ruled by some cats, and permanently be-dogged. I am married to Barbara, who is cleverer, more sensible and far nicer than I am. Everyone is entitled to an occasional lapse in judgement, and I am hers. She is also a brilliant and very harsh line-editor. We have two sons who are both a great deal taller and brighter than I am (the latter part was intentional genetic planning on my part).
I grew in a rather unusual family, doing rather unusual things (my mother, for instance had been a Naval artillery gunner during the war and picked up some science fiction magazines – presumably from an American ship. We grew up on Science Fiction. And commercial fishing boats. Diving. Shooting. And attitude. And violent antipathy to racial segregation.) Unfortunately no one saw fit to tell me all this was unusual, so I was about 17 when I finally worked out that it wasn’t actually the rest of the world that was weird. Before I had time to digest this, I was conscripted into a war I wanted no part of. I spent two years in the Medical Corps and it colors my attitude on conflict, and a lot more, to this day. I survived, met a fantastic girl who had a lapse of judgement, and got married and went to University for a long time. Before I started writing I was a fisheries biologist — which, translated into clear terms is someone who learns a vast amount of biology and stats so that they can mess about in boats, on and in the sort of water best avoided, and mud, with lovely smelly, slimy fish. I ended up as the Chief Scientist for the Western Cape Commercial Shark Fishery. I also ran a few fish farms (I can plumb, weld, fix things with baling wire and duct tape, make elderly machinery die spectacularly, reverse vehicles into dams, and treat fish diseases) before blundering into writing. As for hobbies… I read everything, I cook (I grew up in an environment where men cooked, and women cut semi-precious stones, liked snakes and spiders . A little odd, as I said), I’ve been rock-climbing since I was 8, diving for spiny lobster since I was 10… It was almost obligatory to end up a bizarre profession, and one that would keep me at a desk. At least the background has allowed me to write — with some experience to draw on — anything from Hard Science Fiction to Historical Fantasy.
I have 10 books in print, some with Eric Flint, or Eric and Mercedes Lackey. More in press. Contracts through to 18… I also have a large slew of shorts, novellas and novelettes published. This is proof that if you are determined and willing to learn from your mistakes, you too can be a professional writer.
My latest book is just out – A SLOW TRAIN TO ARCTURUS — “If you like classic 1950s and ’60s science fiction, you will love “Slow Train To Arcturus.” Galveston Herald (and if they can say that after Ike… :-D)
(The team-cretin holds the un-insulated electrodes in place) “right, Marthers.. Uh, Mithtesses. Letth have the 100 000 voltth! Make it LIVE!”


  1. >Hi Dave,After growing up like that it must have been a shock to discover how ‘weird’ the rest of the world was. My 6 children tell me I’ve sabotaged them for life because they’ll never fit in anywhere. I used to tell them, don’t resolve your differences by hitting each other. If grown ups did that there would be violence and wars all over the world. And they would roll their eyes at me.Cheers, Rowena

  2. >Hey, you!Currently reading two Freer books (well co-Freer) in order to try and get “redshirted”: Pyramid Scheme (to be followed by the sequel) and Slow Train.Candy Blossom?

  3. >First, double space between paragraphs. I’ve heard of CSS tags which will give you first line indent, but how it’s done is unknown to me.Second, you have an exaggerated sense of your own unimportance.

  4. >Thank you – I wondered what had happened to my indents. Well, actually I am producing work on a par with Shakespeare – or at least anything new he’s published in the last couple of years! (Smile)You know how you put your hand in front of your mouth when you cough? It’s a social convention you were taught as a very small child, and literally takes an enormous concious effort not to do so. Society of course is fragmentented into far more ‘cliques’than mere nations. The clique I was born and bred to, starts conditioning children young into what ‘acceptable’ social behaviour is. It’s very egalitarian – a typical small frontier society, where everyone -at everyone who was still alive, had to be pretty special, with hangovers from those’everyone-knows-everyone else’ days. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the world has changed, but I’m still happier to not tell you what a wonderful fellow I am, but show you what I can do, and let you decide for yourselves that I am nearly as good as the bloke who wrote ‘The Eye of Argon’. It takes a huge concious effort – and makes me feel uncomfortable – to do otherwise. So you’ll just have to get used to it, because I am a lazy scut.

  5. >Well, Rowena, it’s tough on them growing up. Kids find ‘not fitting in’ hard going. But mine are starting to realise it wasn’t all bad, and that they are what they are. And not all of them can be as confused about ‘normality’as I was 😉

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