WILLIAM F. WU



Rob Chilson, a lio

(A bio is a biography; a lio is one you shouldn't tell under oath.)
Copyright 2001 by William F. Wu


Photo by Beth Gwinn.

"Midwestern humor; if you don't insult somebody, it's because you don't like them." -- Rob Chilson.

Based on the above principle, I'd just like to say, Rob Chilson is a great guy.

All right, all right, I hear howls of protest. I take it back. He's not.

Rob Chilson is a Missouri country boy who wasn't born there; he was born in Oklahoma to a family of Okies who wound up going east and north instead of west with the rest of the Okie migration. Besides that, they were on the move in the 1950s, not the '30s. This belated, disoriented beginning explains much about the rest of his life and work.

He is, by the way, one of the youngest, if not the very last, science fiction writer to be trained by the famous editor of Astounding/Analog magazine, John Campbell, in Rob's case through letters sent between New York City and the Missouri back country. His long list of stories published in Analog prove the success of this training. Since Campbell has been dead for three decades, Rob must be really old now.

When I first met him, I couldn't stop coughing. I could barely speak. In fact, much of what he says makes me gag to this day.

Chilson glares at Wu
At DragonCon in 1995,
Rob Chilson shows his true attitude
toward his friend and collaborater behind Bill's back.

Since Rob enjoys reading a wide variety of fiction and nonfiction, he is extremely well read (unlike his own published work), and self-taught to a degree that should put many people with university degrees to shame. Of course, teaching himself has led him to believe he has had a good teacher. Just listen to him to explain something some time and see if you come away better educated.

Rob is the author of many short works of fiction, and best known for those short stories in Analog, of which a significant number were half-baked notions or unpublished rejections until he suggested I collaborate with him. Ten collaborations of ours have been bought and published by Stan Schmidt, the current editor of Analog. While Rob and I have never regretted this, we have sometimes wondered if Stan does.

His best short work includes the subtle and carefully rendered "Moonless Night," "Written in Sand," and "Last of His Breed," excellent fiction that no one involved with award nominations ever noticed when the stories were eligible. Maybe it would help if he stopped calling his betters (those of us with multiple award nominations) "LOSERS." Then again, maybe nothing would help.

His finest novel -- the only one I've been able to finish, in fact -- is Black as Blood, a very humorous horror story taken from his youthful life in rural Missouri. Buy a copy and study the cover. I submit that the figure in the foreground is based on the author. In any case, he has the author's enthusiasm for scantily clad young women. When you're finished laughing at the cover, you can read the book and laugh at his prose.

There's a link on this page to his own egotistical Web site, which promotes his own misdirected career and slanders his chief collaborator. Explore it for proof of his scurrilousness.

When we're together, we act stupid and drunk without drinking. When we're together, our collective IQ drops about 40 points. For examples of this behavior, ask us, if you meet us in person some time, to tell you about a trip from Kansas City to Tulsa we took together in the '80s. We probably won't say much, though. We're still too embarrassed.

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Last Modified: March 10, 2003
Modified by: LJL


William F. Wu, Science Fiction Writer, Rob Chilson
Copyright William F. Wu 1999, 2000-8. All Rights Reserved.