Stephen D Covey
Science, Science Fiction & Thriller Writer
My name is Stephen D. Covey.
I've been reading SF since I was 8 years old (and fascinated by dinosaurs). I love SF because I love to learn, and great SF expands the mind by exploring visions of what might be. I've always favored "hard" SF, stories about technologies and exotic places that just might be possible, someday, somewhere, somehow. As soon as practical, I plan to write full time ("retirement" is simply a synonym for "career change"). In a very real sense, I am a full time Futurist / Asteroid Miner / Space Settlement Architect & Farmer, a full time webmaster, and a full time writer. Sleep isn't all that important, anyway, unless you are dreaming up a new scene or a new story.
Note that the genre of near-future, hard-science fiction overlaps that of techno-thrillers (and/or SF-thrillers). The difference is largely in the plot and pacing - but the story lines are equivalent. Michael Crichton wrote techno-thrillers that I thought were SF: The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Next, Sphere, The Terminal Man, Prey, and State of Fear. I will write using similar themes, as often mentioned in my blog posts, Ramblings On The Future Of Humanity. One difference is that I'm an optimist - I believe in our future.
A little about me: I started to read when I was very young (before kindergarden), inspired by my father Darrell who daily would read every article in the newspaper, plus on average one novel. Besides, the comic section of the paper is pretty boring if you can't read. When I was 7, my parents purchased a children's encyclopedia (The Book of Knowledge), and I decided to read the entire 20-volume set. It took me a year to read Volume I (slowed drastically by the need to frequently ask, "Mom, what's this word?") I finished the set during the summer two years after that. I liked science and technology, and I admit that I largely just skimmed the articles on history, biographies, politics and the like (except for the interesting people like Newton and Tesla and Einstein).
Like many kids, I was fascinated by dinosaurs. In the 3rd grade, my class took a field trip to the nearby library (which happened to be on the same block as the elementary school), and I discovered dozens of books on dinosaurs. I often went to the library on my own to read those books. After nearly daily visits for 6 months, a very helpful librarian said, "You can take these books home, you know." No, I didn't know, and the very next day my mother co-signed a library card for me. A few months later I had finished reading the last of that library's books on dinosaurs, and the same librarian showed me the only other books with "dinosaur" in the title - in the science fiction section. I was hooked.
I was lucky enough to attend a high school with excellent chemistry, physics, and biology teachers. I attended a wonderful small college (Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana), and graduated with a degree in physics. A small liberal arts college offers many unique opportunities. For one, I was able to satisfy my literature requirement with an Independent Study course I created on "The Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov". I also wrote my first SF piece (essentially a space opera similar to some of the works of E. E. "Doc" Smith) while a student there, but I was embarrassed by my poor writing and gave up after writing about 60k words of first draft. Largely, I just needed more experience writing, and a lot more reading. Skip ahead 30+ years ....
I write what I like - SF that explores the implications of new technologies, or possible worlds, or plausible events that would disrupt our lives should they ever come to pass. I have completed two techno-thrillers, The Last Tomorrow and RIPPED, written detailed outlines for a half-dozen novels (and up to 40,000 words of first draft in each), plus outlines for several collections of related short stories. I am polishing & expect to publish many of the dozen short stories I've completed. I have discovered that I enjoy writing SF every bit as much as I enjoy reading it.
I also discovered that my home in St. Augustine, Florida, was a great place to be a developing writer. The Jacksonville area is home to at least 4 writer's groups (one of which has several local chapters), and I joined a critique group of 8 Jacksonville area science fiction and fantasy writers.
Check out my list of stories, both completed and works-in-process.
You might also enjoy the (futurist) presentation I gave at the 2010 International Space Development Conference in Chicago, entitled Asteroid Capture Into Earth Orbit.
It seems I had an idea that was apparently unique. Everyone knows that we can (in principle) use gravitational slingshots around the Moon to capture satellites (and asteroids) into Earth orbit, if we can move them around at will. Unfortunately, asteroids are far too massive for our technologies to manhandle. And everyone knows that there is a smallish asteroid, 99942 Apophis, that will swoop by the Earth (closer than our geosynchronous satellites) on Friday the 13th in April of 2029, and which MIGHT return and actually collide with the Earth 7 years later. We don't know for sure, because tiny uncertainties in the 13-APR-2029 slingshot can have a huge difference in its subsequent orbit. My idea was that we can tune those uncertainties (by applying small delta-Vs) to control the resulting orbit (large delta-Vs) using rockets we can build with today's technologies.
At the 2011 International Space Development Conference in Huntsville, I gave presentations about (1) the technologies for capturing an asteroid into Earth orbit, and (2) using the asteroid's resources to solve the Earth's energy and global warming problems.
One (so far) of the presentations is posted on my blog, http://RamblingsOnTheFutureOfHumanity.com, along with supporting information, and the other (an updated version of an earlier post) will be posted soon.
I was also interviewed by Alvin Remmers of Moonandback.com.
Here are links to the three videos of my interview:
July 6th, 2011
July 7th, 2011
July 8th, 2011