Richard A. Lupoff, Toastmaster

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive! Children of the night, what music they make! The wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules... Holmes, it was the footprint of a giant hound! We belong dead. In brightest day, in darkest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Magic words of piff-poof-piffles, make me just as small as Sniffles. CX-4 to control tower, CX-4 to control tower.

If you can identify all of those tag-lines you're surely a member of my generation. They come from the movies, radio shows and comic books that I grew up on, and they shaped my taste in literature and the arts for life. I've always had a love for the fantastic, and if anyone is to blame it would have to be a family that was not afraid to expose an innocent child to far-fetched and exciting ideas.

Or blame Lamont Cranston, if you'd rather...or Clark Kent...Count Dracula...Billy Batson...and all the rest.

When it came time to write fiction of my own, having detoured for decades through the realms of journalism, military service, systems analysis and script writing, I came home to the sister fields of fantasy and science fiction, and their kissin' cousin, the detective story.

It's been thirty-three years since my first book was published, and I feel as if I'm just starting to get an inkling of how to go about this thing.

Let's see. You start with a stack of fresh foolscap. Sharpen and split your goose-quill with your pen-knife, make sure that there's plenty of ink in the inkwell and plenty of sand in the shaker, and set to work.

Richard A. Lupoff / 1998