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Fran Van Cleave

Science Fiction Author

Future Whisperer
World Weaver
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MEMBER
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
Analog M.A.F.I.A.

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About Fran

Bless the writers of this world who give the children of dysfunctional families a fabulous place to escape that does not involve drugs or alcohol.

I think I was about 6 when I first discovered SF, though I suppose a story about two purple cats flying a rocket to Mars should really be classified as fantasy. The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet ensured that henceforth I was hooked on space flight.

And shortly after that I discovered the Astounding Science Fiction magazines on my dad's bookshelf. In those pages were Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp and Harry Harrison. They were my new best friends, and I loved them all -- even John Campbell, the famously eccentric (obstreperous?) editor of Analog.

Yes, I actually learned tolerance from John Campbell; it was obvious even to an 8-year-old that he wrote at least half of his editorials to irritate as many people as possible, and that on certain subjects he was quite possibly nuts. But -- and this is important -- Campbell annoyed me into thinking more about what I believed and why, and I appreciated that a great deal.

My family, unfortunately, held the opposite view. They told me what to think, and if I disagreed, I had better not say anything.

A happy thing for a girl in that situation to have Heinlein juveniles, which had -- mostly -- convinced me that I really was smart, and that it was not entirely impossible for me to be attractive someday. Major leap of imagination for a kid with cat-eye glasses, knobby knees, and the fashion sense of an amoeba.

I didn't know what genre was, but I loved everything from Andre Norton and Ray Bradbury to Roger Zelazny. Now I know enough about genre to know I can't always be sure if a work is SF or fantasy. As Damon Knight said, "SF is what we point to when we say it."

Just so. And I still love them all.