Observations on science fiction, writing, life and whatnot


Terry D. England was born the same place as the first atomic bombs were, Los Alamos, N.M., though it’s not hard to judge which has had the biggest effect on humanity. He spent the first nine years of his life on that mountaintop and it was a fairly bucolic childhood, having been spent in a town owned and operated by a federal government that wasn’t shy about spending money to keep its atomic scientists and technicians happy so they’d continue to design bigger and better civilization-ending gadgets. Half-way through his ninth year, his mother decided to move to Santa Fe, 35 miles away. He had little choice but to follow.

He left home to join the U.S. Air Force, the best way he could see to avoid the draft (unsure he was pacifist enough to claim conscientious-objector status, pretty damn sure Canada wasn’t an option). Life as an Airman wasn’t so bad; he never got sent into harm’s way, perhaps because someone took pity on the only son of a widow. (A Saving Private Ryan moment? Highly unlikely, more chance than anything else.) But being a cook didn’t exactly stir his passion for a military career, so he left after four years.

The G.I. Bill helped pay for a college education in journalism. He was forward-thinking enough to choose the broadcast section, but then he blew it all to hell by taking a print job upon graduation. Things went swimmingly enough for several years as he started as editor of a small-town newspaper on the eastern New Mexico plains, covering hay shows, county fairs, women’s craft groups, silo fires (spectacular) and horrific vehicle accidents on I-40 (where one day, as the medical examiner placed a severed limb in the trunk of his car, our intrepid reporter walked up and asked all innocent, “How bad is it?”). When that paper folded (due to a drunken publisher/owner, essentially), he crossed the line and took an editing job at the Amarillo, Texas, paper, where he learned to live with the constant smell of oil refining or cattle stockyards depending on which way the wind blew. After a 18 months or so of this, he actually considered applying at a Dallas newspaper, but, fortunately, a college colleague saved him from this folly by offering him a writing job at the Los Alamos newspaper. Fun at last writing about science research, nuclear weapons, the onset of chaos, the day a bunch of guys stacked bags of fertilizer soaked in fuel oil and set them off (in the name of science, the claim was; one still has a suspicion they just liked blowing things up) and a guy who put a jet engine in his Gremlin. Personnel changes and changes in policy forced a move the the Santa Fe newspaper, where most he mostly worked on the copy desk, though they’d unchain him occasionally and let him do film and book reviews, stories the history of the atom bomb or stories about spies who met at a local pharmacy (and delve into chocolate sundaes, one would bet). For a while, he also was the books-page editor overseeing a small staff of reviewers. That is, until the Internet started nibbling away at ads, then the real-estate market, an important source of ad money, collapsed. First went the book-review page, then went the job.

A lack of employment thereof forced a move to Kansas City, MO, where a relative offered him shelter for the winter. Spring came and so did a civilian job with the U.S. Army at a nearby fort. A totally new gig, with interesting people and work. That’s where he is now, at least until this is updated someday.

England is the author of one published novel, Rewind, and a few published short stories. Yes, this is a meager showing, but that’s the way it is for reasons we won’t get into. He still nurtures hopes of getting more into print (paper or electronic) because he still thinks he’s got some worthwhile stories to tell.