Friday, April 22, 7:30 – Sci Fi
Philadelphia Fantastic Presents
Lawrence M. Schoen
Though born in Chicago, Lawrence M. Schoen grew up in the endless sunshine of southern California. From age five until his eighteenth birthday, he worked every weekend with his father at various swap meets, selling everything from black Santa Claus dolls to melon ballers to women’s underwear. This provided him the opportunity to watch the full range of humanity pass by (and sell the occasional melon baller), and probably marks the start of his interest in human behavior. His writing career also began at those swap meets, and when business was slow he filled spiral notebooks with endless tales for his own amusement.
Eventually he left the swap meet behind and went off to college where the fascination with people won out and he put fiction aside. He first studied psychology, then linguistics, and then psycholinguistics, before ending up doing graduate work in Kansas on the nature of semantic representation and human memory. Doctoral degree in hand, he moved on to the teaching and research side of academia, working at schools in Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. In 1992, Lawrence’s interests in science fiction and language found common ground and he established, and became director of, the Klingon Language Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of the world’s most popular fictional language. After ten years as a professor of psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology, Lawrence left academia to work in the private sector as a Research Director and Compliance Officer for a series of mental health and substance abuse facilities providing treatment for the poor and indigent in Philadelphia. He also found time to return to his first love, crafting fiction. His stories have appeared in variety of print and electronic magazines and anthologies, in English, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, and Klingon, and he has begun a special project to make his first Amazing Conroy story, “Buffalo Dogs,” available in all of these languages and more.