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So, indulging your inner voyeur, eh? Nothing to be ashamed of -- I do it all the time. There's a weird fascination to seeing pictures of people you discover through the Net, and there's also something cool about checking out the home page of someone you know through one particular aspect of their lives, learning more about who the whole person is behind that co-worker or teammate or whatever. So I will not rebuff you with evasive non sequiturs.

I love language, and I love writing (as you might be able to tell from my exceptionally wordy web pages). Well, actually, that's not quite true. I love language, and I hate writing. I love having written, and I love thinking about what to write next, but actually sitting down and pounding it out? Bleah. A writer hero of mine, Connie Willis, says that you know the new book is going badly when the windows are clean, because the only thing she hates as much as writing is washing the windows, and when the windows are looking more appealing, the writing is really a grind. I can relate to this. So why do we do it? Well, for me, there's a lot of joy in knowing I've created something, and when a piece of writing is finished, I feel a real sense of satisfaction. That lasts a couple of days, until I go back and read it and realize what a load of crap it is. It's an aphorism among authors that, unless you're a prodigy or a genius, you have to write a million words of junk before you start producing really good work. I think I have about 700,000 left to go.

Gee, I'm really selling myself here, aren't I? I'm also churning out a stream of non sequiturs, just exactly like I promised I wouldn't. So enough self-pity, let me tell you about what I've written. I've got a bunch of unsold science fiction and fantasy short stories sitting on my hard drive -- maybe someday I'll give up the ghost on a few of them and put them on this web page. Not yet. Meanwhile, if you want to read something I've written, I suggest you try out my works of Interactive Fiction. My latest work, Luminous Horizon, actually won the 10th Annual Interactive Fiction competition. It's the final chapter in a trilogy of superhero games that started with Earth And Sky and continued with Another Earth, Another Sky. I've also written a more serious science-fiction piece called LASH, and a brief fantasy short, Wearing the Claw. What is Interactive Fiction, some of you are asking? Interactive Fiction (or IF, to its devotees) is where writing and computer programming intersect. Some of the computer geeks among you may remember Zork and other such games from the 80's -- it's that. For the rest of you, the briefest explanation I can come up with is that IF is a computer-assisted story, where the protagonist takes orders from you, the reader. IF programs try to understand English, or at least a highly limited subset of English, so that you might tell the main character what to do next. It often takes the second person voice ("You are in a dark hallway..."), but not always. I believe that writing and programming are creative arts, and that IF is one thriving offspring from their happy marriage.

I love programming, too. For one thing, it's how I make my living, working for the University of Colorado. The majority of my free time programming energies go into my IF.

What else can I tell you about me? I'm married, though you won't see any pictures of Laura here -- she's rather more private than I am. We also have a son, Dante. I play the guitar (though not expertly) and sing. I love music, especially Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac . I live in Westminster, Colorado (a northern suburb of Denver) -- I grew up in Colorado and really love it here. No, I don't ski. That's about all the vital info I can think of at the moment -- hope your inner voyeur isn't too unsatisfied.



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One more fact about me: my "About me" page has been viewed 10474 times since July 5, 2000. Oh, I guess that's not really about me, is it?
Paul O'Brian's Self-indulgent Bio Page / Paul O'Brian / obrian at colorado.edu / Revised April 2006
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