PERSONAL: Born in Chicago, IL.
ADDRESSES: Home—7538 N. Bell Ave, Unit 3A, Chicago, IL 60645-1962. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Oakton Community College, IL, part-time creative writing instructor.
AWARDS, HONORS: Nebula Award, 2002, Sturgeon Award, and Hugo Award nomination, all for "Bronte's Egg."
Bronte's Egg (novella), 2002.
Contributor of short stories, novellas, and poetry to magazines, including the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Stoney Lonesome, Science Fiction Chronicle, and Space and Time. The novella "Bronte's Egg" was reprinted in Nebula Awards Showcase 2004, edited by Vonda M. McIntyre, Roc (New York, NY), 2004; the long short story "The Measure of All Things" was reprinted in Year's Best SF 7, edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer, Eos Books (New York, NY), 2002. Both "The Measure of All Things" and Bronte's Egg have been translated into Hebrew.
SIDELIGHTS: Richard Chwedyk is a poet and short story writer whose science fiction novella, Bronte's Egg, won a 2002 Nebula Award and a Sturgeon Award, as well as being nominated for a Hugo. The story deals with a refuge for dinosaurs that are intelligent and designed as toys. Called "saurs," these dinosaurs were genetically altered to be tiny and cute toys for little kids. Unexpectedly, the saurs also turned out to be very intelligent and to have life spans far longer than the tots who owned them; thus many end up in a shelter run by Tom Groverton after their owners have outgrown them. Chwedyk introduced his saurs in the 2001 short story "The Measure of All Things." Reviewing that title on the Best SF Web site, Mark Watson felt that Chwedyk "manages to keep the story from being too saccharin."
Chwedyk reprised his idea with the 2002 novella Bront's Egg, in which one of the saurs at the refuge, young Axel, dreams of creating a robot. In the process, he saves the egg of another resident at the shelter, despite the efforts of the worried bioengineers who fear reproduction by their creations. For Watson, this second installment "veered toward a somewhat saccharin Disneyesque feel." Other reviewers, however, had much more positive assessments of this Nebula Award-winning story. David Soyka, writing for the SF Site thought the tale "quite silly and frothy,… but an apt breezy tonic." Higher praise came from Greenman Review contributor Matthew Winslow, who thought it was the "definitive winner for best story" in the issue of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in which it appeared. Winslow went on to call the story "enjoyable," pointing out that "although Axel's antics are quite childish,… they still retain an adult sophistication." A reviewer for Bluejack likewise called Bronte's Egg "a fun romp."
Chwedyk told CA: "My interest in writing pre-dates my ability to read. I recall as a child filling notebooks with scrawled imitations of written text broken up by a few illustrations of lost islands and space capsules. In some way my hand started to work at writing before my brain did. If writing was not in my genes it was at least in my blood.
"My influences come from all over and would take much more time and space than I have here to describe. My writing process is chaotic. I haven't been able to settle down and write in one particular way, which has certainly affected my output but I hope not my quality. The best way I can answer this is to say that I usually start writing handwritten drafts and eventually move over to the computer. My goal is the old Joseph Conrad admonition: to make you see. I follow the story where it takes me. When I'm doing my best, the mantra is 'Trust the story! The story teaches you!' If it's any good, the exegeses can be worked out later.
"The most surprising thing I've learned should not have been a surprise: that an author is constantly writing from the self about the self, no matter the subject. This is not as insular as it sounds. In one respect an author is interpreting the 'lived in' world through the self, so the big picture is ultimately reflected in the author's work, but through the other end of the telescope.
"I can easily resort to the author's favorite answer, that I want my readers to enjoy themselves by living through my stories a bit and providing a good read, but I'd be ignoring the secret wish of most good writers—if I were to count myself among them, which I'm not sure I can—to say something more. I'm not sure if I can put that 'something more' into words—it's the part that readers have to provide for themselves—but I'll make an effort: I would like readers to get the feeling that there's more to us than we give ourselves credit for. We are remarkably complex, many-faceted and not easily duplicated. A mere reading of the newspaper demonstrates what we are at the lowest common denominator. What fiction writers and poets can do is demonstrate that the highest denominator is infinitely higher than the lowest, but not so far away as to be outside the reach of any one of us."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Best SF, http://www.bestsf.net/ (January 9, 2002), Mark Watson, review of Bronte's Egg; (August 3, 2002), Mark Watson, review of "The Measure of All Things."
Bluejack, http://www.bluejack.com/ (December 20, 2005), review of Bronte's Egg.
Greenman Review, http://www.greenmanreview.com/ (July 14, 2002), Matthew Winslow, review of Bronte's Egg.
SF Site, http://www.sfsite.com/ (December 20, 2005), David Soyka, review of Bronte's Egg.