Drew Bittner has written for just about every type of publication, including newspapers, magazines, newsletters, roleplaying games and comic books. For the last few years, his efforts have mainly been confined to academia, as he's completed a Masters degree in criminal justice (and continues to work sporadically on his Ph.D.), but in the past year he has done book reviews and short interviews for SFRevu and has worked on-and-off on a novel.
History in SF? Publishing?
My "history in SF" as a semi-pro goes back to 1986. A good friend from high school suggested we take a road trip to Providence, R.I., to the World Fantasy Convention. I was working for the Asbury Park Press, so I had some tenuous "press" associations (which opened some doors). We hung out and met a huge number of people, and I was invited by Jane Yolen (one of the nicest writers I've ever met) to a SFWA event in New York the following Monday. I covered it for the Press and started doing book reviews almost immediately afterward, including coverage of the Nebula Awards in 1987.
In 1988, my friend (and former college roommate)--then a magazine editor-- asked if I'd like to try interviewing David Drake. Drake was adapting a Harold Coyle novel (Team Yankee) as a four-issue comic book miniseries. I had an advance reading copy of the book and knew Drake's work, so I took a shot... and that got me writing for Comics Scene, with occassional contributions to Starlog and Fangoria.
That led to magazine work, interviewing authors and comic book creators. That led to writing for roleplaying games in 1991 and 1993-4, which led to a spot editing comics for WildStorm (now part of DC Comics). While I was there, I co-created a collectible card game and got published in a few comic titles. After that, I worked in video game production and then had a *very* short stint with (now-defunct) Chaos! Comics.
I've been a genre omnivore for most of my reading life: everything from Dr. Seuss to Tolkien to early Heinlein to Asimov and beyond. I was talking philosophy of fantasy when my teacher read us A Wrinkle in Time when I was nine, and discussed Lord of the Rings with my eighth grade teacher-- I hope she survived to see the movies.
Nowadays, I tend to read a lot of urban fantasy, though I do read epic fantasy and some sf as well. Haven't read mysteries in a long while, but most of the urban fantasy I find has mystery elements to it.
My favorites currently include Jim Butcher, Simon Green, Neil Gaiman, Stephen R. Donaldson, David Gerrold and Terry Brooks. China Mieville, F. Paul Wilson and Steven Eriksen. Also Holly Black and Tony diTerlizzi, for their Spiderwick books. I always enjoy the work of Charles deLint but haven't kept current with his releases. I have been a big fan of Laurell Hamilton, Piers Anthony, Jack Chalker and Isaac Asimov.
A novel that is on-again-off-again. I'm rethinking the premise but like the setting tremendously (taken from a roleplaying supplement I wrote that was rejected).
I've thought about trying to get back into roleplaying game writing or something similar but I have a lot on my plate at the moment.
First Genre Book Read?
Can't remember. I've read thousands of books over the years-- no idea which one was first. Probably something from Scholastic, an sf anthology or "kids toying with magic" book like Dial M for Mischief.
Panel Topics of Interest?
Writing, editing, freelancing, working in comics.
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