Stross: how I ended up as a science fiction writer

Tom James @ 11-06-2009

lifeCharles Stross is recounting the long journey to his current position has one of the stars of British science fiction, beginning with his first steps into education during the years of Thatcher:

I already knew (from an early age — 12 or so) that I wanted to be an SF writer. But there was a fly in the ointment — a fly called Margaret Thatcher. I turned 15 in 1979, the year the conservatives won an election and the Thatcherite revolution swung into action.

Unemployment soared from around one million to over three million in twelve months as the UK experienced the worst industrial recession since the end of the second world war (largely caused by Thatcher’s dramatic decision to cut most of the state-owned industries off at their knees, on the assumption that the workers would find new and more productive jobs sooner rather than later — a misplaced assumption, as it turned out).

I come from a middle-class background; I could expect to go to university, but not to rely indefinitely on parental hand-outs. “You’ll need some kind of way to earn a living while you’re trying to write,” the careers guidance teachers told me.

A familiar story, as this happy university dropout will affirm (except it was Blair instead of Thatcher and the economic collapse only really started after I left).
[image from The Wandering Angel]

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2 Responses to “Stross: how I ended up as a science fiction writer”

  1. Sharon E. Dreyer says:

    Hello from Texas! Sounds as if we have a lot in common. For years I had to play the role of working stiff to earn a living. All the while my brain was wandering through another dimension and it wasn’t San Antonio, Texas! During the early 1990s I purchased my first PC and began to finally put my tales into written words. Check out my first and recently released novel, Long Journey to Rneadal; it’s a romantic action adventure in space and is more about the characters than the technology. Glad I found your site!

  2. Barbara E Martin says:

    Most sci-fi writers have an early interest in childhood. The desire culminates in pages of scribbled works progressing to a more literate form as one reaches adulthood. Then it becomes a matter of sustained effort to go through the regular channels of publication of multiple rejection slips before attaining one’s goal of having their work in the public eye.