Who is Tom Cool?

Tom Cool and his father, William K. Cool, on the deck of USS Comte de Grasse (DD-974) during her 1995 transit of the Panama Canal.
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 Locks.

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 story.

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 Gulf.

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.

Tom Cool and the Lone Sailor statue, Navy Memorial, Washington D.C.
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 peace, history, rock, golf, poker, Wikipedia, genealogy, photography, and Futurism.

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 Rage" Cool.


Copyrights 2005 by Tom Cool

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