AL ONIA is a retired geophysicist living in Calgary, Canada. His fiction has appeared in On Spec, The Speculative Edge, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, Spinetingler, eFantasy, Marion Zimmer Bradley and the anthologies BodySmith 401, North of Infinity and Warrior Wisewoman 3. He is a two-time Aurora Award finalist. His first novel, Javenny, was launched in August 2014 by Bundoran Press.
Al Onia – Autobiographical Statement
I was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where I still live with my wife Sandra; close to family, the incredible Rocky Mountains and prairie roots. I discovered science and science fiction in grade 4. Buchanan Elementary’s library introduced me to Jules Verne, Robert Heinlein and Donald Wolheim.
By junior high, Mom introduced me to C.S. Lewis; CBC Radio’s Theatre 10:30 dramatized John Wyndham and Algernon Blackwood; and Leslie Stevens’ original SF anthology series “The Outer Limits” further fueled my imagination. Science became a huge passion: chemistry sets, microscopes, telescopes, and model rockets fueled the brain.
High School brought a new passion—motorcycles. At 14, you could drive anything on two wheels up to 125cc. And we did. All over the growing city and beyond.
A university degree in Pure Math, then an 18 month employment stint in the seismic industry, followed by another stretch in academia, filling in the gaps with Physics, Chemistry, Geology and Geophysics. Student poverty lost its lustre and I fled to industry as a financial analyst, landman then geophysicist which I practice, now part-time, to this day.
I tried writing fiction in my post-University life but really didn’t ‘get’ the process until I read a “How To” article in a science fiction fanzine (I believe it was Megavore) with some listed sources (the main one being a pre-internet monthly SF Workshop newsletter). Inspired by an annual short story competition sponsored by the local SF convention, Conversion, I began writing in earnest during the 1980’s and was a charter member of a Calgary-based speculative writers group known as IFWA (now some 60+ members strong).
I’ve been writing for 20+ years and publishing with more regularity over the last few. I’ve been an Aurora Award finalist, short story category, in 2011 for “The Envoy” (Warrior Wisewoman 3) and again in 2013 for “Knights Exemplar” (On Spec #90). Currently, my life is fantastic with dual careers in geophysics and writing.
My fiction thematically often involves transformation of the individual, against a speculative background, into one who takes risk in an attempt to make a difference in their world.