A national newsmagazine not very long ago in its weekly cover story limned Thornton Wilder as an amiable, eccentric itinerant schoolmaster who wrote occasional novels and plays, which won prizes and enjoyed enormous but somewhat unaccountable success.
Wilder himself has said, “I’m almost sixty and look it. I’m the kind of man whom timid old ladies stop on the street to ask about the nearest subway station: newsvendors in university towns call me ‘professor,’ and hotel clerks, ‘doctor’.”
Many of those who have viewed him in the classroom, on the speaker’s rostrum, on shipboard, or at gatherings, have been reminded of Theodore Roosevelt who was at the top of his form when Wilder was an adolescent, and whom Wilder resembles in his driving energy, his enthusiasms, and his unbounded gregariousness.
Jack McDevitt is an American science fiction novelist. He has over 20 novels available in print, ebook, and audio, stories that frequently deal with attempts to make contact with alien races, and with archaeology or xenoarchaeology.
McDevitt has won multiple awards including the International UPC Science Fiction award for Ships in the Night, a Nebula for Seeker, a Campbell Award for Omega, and the Robert Heinlein Lifetime Achievement Award.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in South Philadelphia. Was a boy scout. Today I’m still in touch with the scoutmaster’s family, which is scattered all over the USA. My mom encouraged me to read, and provided books. Discovered Superman & Dick Tracy on the radio when I was about five. Enjoyed baseball. Couldn’t have had a better time during those early years.