William Barton Enterprises

Science Fiction in Search of a Lost Age

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About WBE




My first novel, Hunting On Kunderer, was published by Ace Books, in August 1973. It was on one side of the last original Ace Double Book, fulfilling a cherished boyhood dream.

About WBE

About me, anyway.

I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on September 28, 1950. The Korean Police Action was under way, and Edgar Rice Burroughs had only recently left California for Barsoom. My father was in college, studying to be a geologist, and my mother was working in an ice cream parlor.

I grew up as slowly as slowly as possible, reading science fiction, fantasy, and historical novels and wandering around the woods with a cadre of friends who were more or less interested in those same things. As we tramped among the trees and waded through the creeks, we role-played stories from the books we read, and in due course, began making up worlds of our own, on which stories could be told. Pretty soon, those stories began to take shape on paper, and some of us got the idea we could grow up to be what we called “authors.” Eventually, I finished high school, graduating in the bottom tenth of my class.

After high school, my friends, who studied harder than I did, went away to college, and I waited to be whisked away to Vietnam with all the other lazy boys. When that failed to happen, for lack of anything better to do, I enrolled in the Liberal Arts curriculum at Northern Virginia Community College. It was while there that I composed a novella called Hunting On Kunderer, which I sold to Ace Books. Imagine the surprise of my hard-working friends, who graduated from their universities and became computer programmers, used-car salesmen, and postal carriers.

In the 1970s, after I dropped out of NVCC, I wrote more books and stories, but mainly I worked at a series of increasingly challenging jobs as what amounted to a mechanical engineering technician, ending up as a marine machinery mechanic at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. During that time, I married, we had a kid, and after a while, were divorced. I spent several years as a single parent, which was perhaps a more worthwhile education than the one I tried to get around the same time as a part-time student at the University of New Hampshire.

In the 1980s, cheap computers came along, and I bought one, thinking it might be an interesting hobby. It was, and I swiftly moved on to a new career as a computer programmer, working for a variety of companies and eventually hanging out my shingle as a free-lance software architect. Somewhere toward the end of that decade, boyhood chum Michael Capobianco and I wrote an ambitious science fiction novel named Iris. More books followed, both in collaboration and solo, and I began to write increasingly for the science fiction magazines. My novelette “Age of Aquarius” was nominated for the Hugo Award, and novel Acts of Conscience received a Special Citation of Excellence from the Philip K. Dick Award.

Somewhere in there, as the 1980s passed into the 1990s, and then on into the 21st century, I married again, divorced again, and married for a third time. You’d think a boy would get the hint by now, but it was third-time lucky for me, and we moved on out to our “country estate,” sometimes referred to in the forewords to my eBooks as the Barking Spider Ranch.

So, in the end, here I am where I longed to be. Which is pretty much all any of us can hope for, when you get right down to it.

Kaor! And I’ll see you all on Barsoom one day...

Since 1985, I’ve made my principal living as a software architect, more recently specializing in B2B web applications supporting the paperless office concept for multi-national work groups. This is a thumbnail screen shot of a typical web  app.

I’m also a bit of a painter, stress on the word “bit.” This one is called “Xmas 1950.” Guess who?