Time is short this week, so I just wanted to throw this out there. The author bios you normally find at the end of a book are usually pretty sparse. They’ll generally list out what previous books the author has written and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a little blurb about what they did before writing or where they’re from. Anyway, I was looking at my copy of Snow Crash and noticed that the author bio was really long, and had quite a strange tone:
Neal Stephenson issues from a clan of rootless, itinerant hard-science and engineering professors (mostly Pac 10, Big 10, and Big 8 with the occasional wild strain of Ivy). He began his higher education as a physics major, then switched to geography when it appeared that this would enable him to scam more free time on his university’s mainframe computer. When he graduated and discovered, to his perplexity, that there were no jobs for inexperienced physicist-geographers, he began to look into alternative pursuits such as working on cars, unimaginably stupid agricultural labor, and writing novels. His first novel, The Big U, was published in 1984 and vanished without a trace. His second novel, Zodiac: the Eco-thriller, came out in 1988 and quickly developed a cult following among water-pollution-control engineers. It was also enjoyed, though rarely bought, by many radical environmentalists. Snow Crash was written in the years 1988 through 1991 as the author listened to a great deal of loud, relentless, depressing music. The Diamond Age was his last novel.
Mr. Stephenson now resides in a comfortable home in the western hemisphere and spends all of his time trying to retrofit an office into its generally dark, unlevel, and asbestos-laden basement so that he can attempt to write more novels. Despite the tremendous amounts of time he devotes to writing, playing with computers, listening to speed metal, Rollerblading, and pounding nails, he is a flawless husband, parent, neighbor, and all-around human being.
He’s just screwing with us, isn’t he? Curiously, this sort of wiseass bio does not appear in any of the newer editions of his books…