Gerard Houarner is the only child of immigrant Breton parents, born and raised in New York City, and a product of its school system. He grew up listening to apocalyptic stories at family parties about World War II and the Nazi occupation of France while watching Chiller Theater, Jonny Quest, Astro Boy, and other cultural ephemera.
Always a reader, his sense of wonder was sparked by local school and public libraries, especially the science fiction section. He bought his first paperbacks at a Catholic Church basement book sale, which included Eric Frank Russell’s Men, Martians and Machines, and went home with his first coverless comic books secured from waiting rooms until his first comic purchase, an issue of Mystery in Space featuring Adam Strange.
The writing bug infected him with the pre-teen gift of a baby blue Corona typewriter, which led to the creation of 2-page novelizations of Gorgo, It! The Terror From Beyond Space, and other black and white Creature Feature/Chiller Theater fare, culminating in the creation of original 20 page single-spaced AND illustrated space opera “novels.”
His teenage education and writing in the early 70’s was enhanced by adventures at the Julian Billiard Academy on 14th street, 42nd street movies, and hanging out in a high school comic book club with a future President of DC Comics. Publishing world realities were discovered through one of the school’s creative writing teachers moonlighting as a romance writer, and listening in on conversations students had with the other writing teacher, future Pulitzer Prize winner Frank McCourt.
While attending the City College of New York so long ago it was still free, he attended writing courses taught by Joseph Heller, Irwin Stark and Joel Oppenheimer while sneaking into William Burroughs’ hallucinogenic classes. Later, he attained a couple of Masters degrees in psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University, so he could make a living.
After school and along life’s way, the likes of Terry Bisson, Nancy Kress, the members of the writing circle CITH, and many other writers, editors and teachers have tried to pass along a clue or two about how they do what they do.
For a living, he is a mental health professional who worked in various capacities at day treatment programs, a methadone clinic, a children’s psychiatric facility, and several adult psychiatric hospitals including a Forensic center he sometimes thinks back on as a real-world version of Batman’s Arkham Asylum. He has been Rehabilitation Director five times at four different facilities (once filing a union grievance against the assignment, and winning after pointing out he'd refused to take the test for the position). In one of many of life’s ironic turns, he eventually did settle into the job, took and passed the test and is making his way to retirement as a middle manager. Or, early retirement, depending on how things go.
He’s had nearly 300 short stories published, many to be found in his 7 collections, and 7 novels short and long. As an editor, he has served as Fiction Editor for Space and Time Magazine since 1998, edited 2 anthologies on his own and co-edited 2 more with the artist GAK.
More on the very latest can be found at www.gerardhouarner.net
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