I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, six months before the moon landing, to academic parents. Childhood consisted of bad sci-fi tv movies on afternoon tv, science fiction book club books “accidentally” ordered, a raft of Marvel comics, and punk rock. Teenagedom added more punk rock, more fretting, and fewer comics. I had promised myself and the universe that, of course, I would grow up to be a writer, but the way was more tangled than that, and anyway I was (and remain) a slacker.
After a year of failure at the University of Colorado in Boulder, I listlessly attended the city college, while putting my energy into forming and dissolving punk rock/shoegaze/power pop bands (Shocklogic, Snowblind, Martian Electric respectively, plus other doomed projects). This continued throughout the nineties, though a lucky accident furnished me with graphic design and print production skills, by which I made my living. When the Web arrived in 1995 with actual paying work, I switched over from print; never went back.
I had written fiction with abandon in college, some of which found its way to publication in zines, but found music to be taking up far more of my time and interest and hearing. In ‘97, I followed a girlfriend to Atlanta, which kicked off a sustainable career in web development. For fun, I watched my relationship crumble and played rhythm guitar for a new wave band, the Shut-Ups. Weary of the pursuit (nearly successful) of a major label contract, I returned to writing around 2003, where I began work on a first novel, my attempt at describing in words what psychedelic sci-fi artist Richard K. Powers depicted on book covers in the sixties.
By 2004, I had quit the band and settled in Portland, OR, where hipsters go to retire. Although I found myself with two bands in no time flat (The Scree and the Golden Greats), my main focus was writing, a popular avocation in Portland. At this time I published two books: The Bloodbaths (Subatomic Books), a Roman-esque fantasy pitting a plumber against vampires, and the first novel of The Secret World Chronicle series (BAEN Books) developed with Mercedes Lackey, and with contributions from Dennis Lee, and Cody Martin. Through the Portland writing community, I met my wife, Heather Reddy. We relocated to Seattle in 2010, where I spent my creative energy in my home studio, recording experimental albums under the name Robotic Storm Cloud. After a few years of hideous noise and lousy developer roles, I scored a good gig, giving me the time to get some of my newer literary work out the door.
And that’s where I’m at as of today. How’re you doing?
Stephen Libbey, 7/30/2019