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Gardiner, John Reynolds 1944-2006

Gardiner, John Reynolds 1944-2006


See index for CA sketch: Born December 6, 1944, in Los Angeles, CA; died of complications from necrotizing pancreatitis, March 4, 2006, in Anaheim, CA. Engineer and author. An engineer by trade, Gardiner was the author of Stone Fox, a children's novel now considered a modern classic. Interestingly, as a child and young man he possessed poor writing and reading skills, and although he was creative, his teachers did not encourage his writing desires because of his bad spelling and grammar. Consequently, he disdained literature and did not even read a novel until he was nineteen. Instead, he studied engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he earned a B.S. in 1966 and an M.S. in 1968. After college, he worked as a contract engineer for aerospace companies in Los Angeles and specialized in thermal engineering. His writing career began after his brother suggested he take a script-writing class. He did so, and though his scripts were never produced, on the suggestion of his teacher he turned one of them into a book. This became Stone Fox (1980), a critically acclaimed novel that sold over three million copies and, ironically, was turned back into a script as a 1987 television movie. Gardiner, who wrote in his spare time when he was not doing his engineering work, published only two more juvenile titles: Top Secret (1985) and General Butterfingers (1986). These were well received by reviewers, but were not nearly as popular as his debut. He was also the author of the nonfiction titles How to Write a Story That's Not Boring and the self-published How to Live a Life That's Not Boring.



Chicago Tribune, March 17, 2006, section 3, p. 7.

Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2006, p. B9.

New York Times, March 19, 2006, p. A29.

Washington Post, March 21, 2006, p. B6.

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