Bowes, Richard (D.)
Bowes, Richard (D.)
PERSONAL: Male. Education: Attended Hofstra College, beginning 1963. Hobbies and other interests: Collecting antique toys.
CAREER: Designer and author of rules for board games, c. late 1970s-early 1980s; New York University, New York, NY, science reference assistant at Bobst Library.
MEMBER: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
AWARDS, HONORS: World Fantasy Award for best novella, 1998, for Streetcar Dreams; Lambda Literary Award for best science fiction/fantasy, Lambda Literary Foundation, 1999, for Minions of the Moon.
Warchild, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1986.
Feral Cell, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Goblin Market, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1988.
Minions of the Moon, Tor (New York, NY), 1999.
My Life in Speculative Fiction (e-book), iPublish (New York, NY), 2001.
Transfigured Night and Other Stories (e-book; includes My Life in Speculative Fiction and Streetcar Dreams), iPublish (New York, NY), 2001.
Contributor of short stories and novellas to Fantasy & Science Fiction; Postscripts 3; and Streetcar Dreams, And Other Midnight Fancies, PS Publications (Hornsea, England), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Fantasy and science-fiction author Richard Bowes published his first genre pieces in the 1980s. Although he continued to publish short stories consistently, he took an eleven-year break between his third novel, Goblin Market, and his fourth, Minions of the Moon. His more recent works, including Minions of the Moon, the memoir My Life in Speculative Fiction, and the novella Streetcar Dreams, have won awards and acclaim both inside and outside of the science-fiction world.
Minions of the Moon and My Life in Speculative Fiction both tackle the issue of drug and alcohol addiction, the former in fiction, the latter in Bowes's own life. In Minions of the Moon narrator Kevin Grierson thinks that he has successfully kicked his drug habit. However, his doppelganger, whom he calls the Shadow, has other plans. When the Shadow threatens to ruin the life of a teenaged runaway, Kevin is compelled to try to help. Kevin also discovers that he is in more danger than he thought; not only is his doppelganger trying to ruin his life, but a group called the Sojourners are apparently attempting to capture the two of them to use them in some secret plan.
The story is semi-autobiographical; like his narrator, Bowes grew up in an Irish-Catholic family in Boston in the 1950s and 1960s, then moved to New York and found work as a copywriter. In Bowes's hands, the material takes on "the mythic overtones of a modern-day fable," wrote Library Journal reviewer Jackie Cassada. A Publishers Weekly critic also praised the book, calling it "a well-written and unusually gritty urban fantasy."
Bowes explained his inspiration for Minions of the Moon to Infinity Plus interviewer Jeffrey Ford: "Late one night in 1990, someone very close to me, maybe as near to a son as I could have, rang my bell, woke me up. He had been on an epic bender, was still high but falling, wore an expensive suit but had nothing on under it. He was grandiose, he was terrified. He was me from twenty years before when I was drinking and hooked…. Shortly after that night, I wrote 'On Death and the Deuce,' my first story about Kevin Grierson."
My Life in Speculative Fiction traces Bowes's journey as an adolescent and young adult who is struggling to come to terms with his homosexuality, as well as to survive his addictions. The story is framed by pieces of fiction by Bowes, including re-worked versions of some tales he wrote during that period in his life. Revisiting his earlier work was an interesting experience, Bowes told Ford: "Rewriting those pieces was like collaborating with this not-untalented but deeply disturbed boy whom I only knew slightly." A Publishers Weekly reviewer questioned the inclusion of the stories, commenting that they "distract from Bowes's compelling personal narrative," but overall praised My Life in Speculative Fiction as "well-written and highly emotional."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 1999, Ray Olson, review of Minions of the Moon, p. 842; June 1, 1999, Ray Olson, review of Minions of the Moon, p. 1784; August, 2002, Ray Olson, review of Minions of the Moon, p. 1939.
Library Journal, January, 1999, Jackie Cassada, review of Minions of the Moon, p. 166.
Publishers Weekly, December 14, 1998, review of Minions of the Moon, p. 60; October 1, 2001, review of My Life in Speculative Fiction and Transfigured Night and Other Stories, p. 59.
Science Fiction Chronicle, December, 2001, Don D'Ammassa, review of Transfigured Night and Other Stories, p. 48.
Infinity Plus Web site, http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (December 13, 2004), Jeffrey Ford, interview with Bowes.
SFF.net, http://www.sff.net/ (December 13, 2004), review of Minions of the Moon.