Bewildering Stories biography
I was born in 1979 in Berlin, East Germany. I’m the middle kid, squeezed between my older sister and my younger brother. The best description of me in school would have been the kid with the book. Most wouldn’t have been able to describe me at all, since most people weren’t aware of me, my superpower was to blend sometimes perfectly into the background. I can remember that my sister told me once, that when she told a story to her friends at our school about me (or something like that), they thought she meant my younger brother. When she said, “Nay, the other one,” they asked, perplexed, “You have another brother?”
Young Jörn is already having fun
with the space-time continuum.
Around 1989 my family went to Moscow and we lived there until 1996. Interesting times, but somehow I managed to be the worst in class in learning the Russian language. In English I was a little bit better, but not by much; I learned it later through SF & Fantasy books and computer RPGs.
My first contact with SF was a book my father gave me when I was around ten years, a collection of SF short stories, the title translated would be something like “Light Message to Taul.” While he was interested in science, he didn’t care much for SF; that I would turn into such an avid reader wasn’t his intent. But because both my parents, especially my father, are bibliophiles, he learned to live with me loving SF; better than not reading at all he may have thought.
SF for me as a genre is mostly occupied with the future and change; at its most basic it’s a genre that deals primary with ideas. The ideas can range from very hard SF to extreme gonzo, but in the context of a story or novel they have to affect society and individuals believably, and the harder and more consistent the exploration of these ideas is, the better I will like the book or story.
Still, somewhat against my own creed, I like things that don’t match my normal characteristics. So, what authors do I like? So many names, but I will just name a few, Robert A. Heinlein, Alfred Bester, Theodore Sturgeon, Robert Sheckley, Stanislaw Lem, Philip Jose Farmer, Roger Zelazny, the Strugatzky brothers, Larry Niven, Poul Anderson, Bruce Sterling, David Brin, Walter Jon Williams, Michael Swanwick, James White, Greg Bear, John Barnes, Stephen Baxter, Tony Daniel, William Barton, Greg Egan, John C. Wright, Richard Morgan, Charles Stross, Ken MacLeod, David Zindell, Dan Simmons, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Pat Cadigan...
If you ask me, why isn’t there any German writer on the list, my answer would be that this is done purposefully. While there are some German writers who can write very well, I haven’t read anyone who is really interested in SF as an exploration of ideas that interest me; maybe the only exception is sometimes the extremely long-running series Perry Rhodan. But in recent years the SF scene in Germany has changed, and local authors are interesting once again. My hope is that writers that can pique my interest will come out of this.
My website is completely in English these days.
Copyright © 2005 by Jörn Grote