Who is Tom Cool?
My father and I, on the deck of USS Comte de Grasse
(DD-974) during her 1995 transit of the Panama Canal.
At right is the control building of the Miraflores
Tom Cool is a true name.
I was born in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, in 1954, when the Earth had only one
satellite. I grew up in Rennerdale,
a small, peaceful town nestled in an Appalachian valley. It
was an anarchic paradise, with no crime, police, traffic
lights or any apparent government, although there was
a volunteer fire department down by the pond.
That, and a huge Nike missile site that loomed on the western
ridge. Its giant radar rotated above the town for most of my
childhood. The Nike site's mission was to shoot down Soviet
bombers before they could nuke Pittsburgh.
The book that hooked me on science fiction was THE AMSIRS AND
THE IRON THORN, by Algis Budrys,
1967, which concerns a small human settlement dominated by a
huge alien artefact.
At the age of fifteen, I wrote my first science fiction
novel, SENTINELS, which has since been lost in fire.
In 1976, I graduated from Penn State's
creative writing program with honors, in the honors
program of English. Thus prepared for life, for the next few
years, I worked as a hodcarrier in northern Ohio and
backpacked throughout north and central America, eventually
ending up in the Guatemalan jungle with no money and no
official papers. How I got home from there is another
In 1979, for a variety of reasons,
I joined the United States Navy. During my naval career, I
served at stations in Denver, Norfolk, Panama City, Monterey,
Pearl Harbor, Alameda, Washington D.C. and Miami. I made four
deployments in aircraft carrier battle groups to the
Mediterranean, the Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian
The Navy treated me well, sending me to the Naval
Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where in
1987, I earned a Master of Science in Computer Science. Later
I worked as an agent of the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency and the Office of Naval Intelligence,
developing software in support of military intelligence
analysis. My final tour of duty was as the Deputy Director of
Intelligence for Plans and Programs, United
States Southern Command. I retired a commander in 1999.
Two sailors, circa 1998
After taking a year off, I began working as a computer
engineer for The MITRE
Corporation, a not-for-profit company.
For much of my life, I've been a constant reader. What to
read is always a question and so I'd be happy to recommend some books.
In addition to writing and reading, I enjoy
My published works to date are three science fiction novels,
SOLDIER OF LIGHT (with John de
Lancie), SECRET REALMS and INFECTRESS. My stories are "Universal Emulators" (Fantasy & Science
Fiction, July 1997) and "Frozen," which was included in the
anthology TREACHERY and TREASON in early 2000.
Among the tools of the trade, I recommend Moleskine notebooks.
My beloved wife is Eva. We have two
wonderful children, Natasha Katinka Cool and Tai Tai "Fiery
Copyrights 2005 by Tom Cool
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