Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight - Jack McDevitt

| Trading Card Spotlight

Happy 4th of July Weekend.

Our first Science Fiction Trading Card Spotlight features Jack McDevitt, who is displayed on card number 64, from the Science Fiction Collection.  Jack is the author of 22 novels, 12 of which have been Nebula finalists.  His fiction has won him the Heinlein Lifetime Achievement award.  Other careers Jack has had include English teacher, naval officer, and customs officer.   Jack is best known for his Alex & Chase mysteries, and for the Priscilla Hutchins novels. 
How early in your life did you know you would be a writer?

I knew I wanted to write when I was about seven. (Started The Canals of Mars.) But I was in my mid-forties before I realized it was going to happen. It came out of left field.

Where did you grow up?

Philadelphia, PA. 

Did you ever think when you were younger you would be on a trading card?

No. The only trading cards I knew of were baseball. I don’t believe I ever thought seriously I could make the major leagues.

Have you ever received any media coverage for your appearance on the trading Card?  If so, where?

Not that I’m aware of.

When did you first meet Walter day and where was it at?

 It was at a con, but I don’t recall which one.

If you could describe Walter Day in one word, what would that word be and why?

Amiable. Walter’s a nice guy.

How has writing today changed from when you were younger? What do you like or dislike about the changes?

I’m not aware of major changes other than, perhaps, there are more women in the role of lead characters. 

If you did not become a writer, what would you be doing?

At this point, I’d have been a retired guy who used to do management seminars for the Customs Service. Which, by the way, is what I am?

Are you still involved with writing today, and what role do you play?

Of course. I’m working on a new Priscilla Hutchins novel, Trail of Stars.

What are your favorite type of books and why?

I enjoy science books, history, political commentary, science fiction, Greek plays, Sherlock Holmes, comedy (e.g., the Jean Shepherd novels). And anything else that looks interesting.

What are your favorite hobbies today?

Jigsaw puzzles, pinochle, and chess, and eating lunch.

How has your involvement in the writing profession been important to you?

It’s given me a sense of having had an impact on other people’s lives; plus the fact that I love writing.

What does it take to be a professional writer today?

I’d guess the same qualities it’s always taken: Talent, which means the ability to create a situation in a way that the reader lives through it; passion, and the ability to write clear short sentences.

What do you think about electronic books that you can download versus the actual physical hard copy?

 I’ve no interest in them. They’re probably the wave of the future, but I prefer a book I can hold in my hands.

What authors do you admire today and who did you look up to as a child?

In my early years: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur Clarke. Among current writers: Gregory Benford, Robert Sawyer, Nancy Kress, James Gunn, and Connie Willis.    

What are your favorite books past and present?

I’m going to limit this to my five favorite SF novels and story collections: The Martian Chronicles (Bradbury), Future History (Heinlein), Famous Science Fiction Stories (edited by Raymond J. Healy and J. Francis McComas), The Best of Damon Knight, The Fountains of Paradise (Arthur C. Clarke).         

Who is your favorite celebrity and what makes that person special?

Jon Stewart. He was the most trustworthy voice on the newscasts.

Did you play Video games growing up and what were some of your favorites?

I didn’t have them when I was growing up.

Do you believe some Video Games are too violent and lead to violence in America today?

I’ve never been involved with them, but I suspect the issue is valid.

What do you see yourself doing in the next 10 years?

 Probably moving to a different world.

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