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- undated (Vervaardig)
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Stephen Leigh (who writes as Leigh and under the names S.L. Farrell and Matthew Farrell) was born in Cincinnati, OH, on February 27, 1951. With a B.A. in Fine Arts and an M.A. in Creative Writing, Leigh taught creative writing at Northern Kentucky University from 2001 until his retirement in 2020.
Leigh's literary debut was the short story "And Speak of Soft Defiance", published in Eternity SF in 1975; this was the first of some 40 pieces of short fiction Leigh has written. Some of Leigh's short fiction include his December 1976 story "Answer in Cold Stone" (Leigh's first Analog publication), "When We Come Down" (Asimov's, 1978), "Shaping Memory" (Asimov's, 1985), "Evening Shadow" (Asimov's, 1988), "The Bright Seas of Venus (Galaxy's Edge*, 2013), and "Bones of Air, Bones of Stone" (2015).
In addition, Leigh has written numerous stories as an original member of George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards mosaic universe collective of writers. Leigh is responsible for the creation of several notable Wild Cards characters, including Gregg Hartmann/Puppetman, Bloat, Oddity, Gimli, and Steam Wilbur. To date, Leigh (sometimes writing as S.L. Farrell) has written content for eighteen of the Wild Cards books.
Leigh has also enjoyed a successful career as a science fiction and fantasy novelist. His debut novel was 1981's Slow Fall To Dawn, which was nominated for the 1982 Locus Award for Best First Novel. Slow Fall was the first of Leigh's Neweden/Hoorka trilogy, followed by Dance of the Hag (1983) and A Quiet of Stone (1984). He wrote The Secret of the Lona in 1988, the first in the Dr. Bones series (a fantasy series written by various authors, including Leigh's Wild Cards colleague William Wu). Leigh has written 6 novels in AvoNova's Ray Bradbury Presents series (1992-1995): Dinosaur World, Dinosaur Planet, Dinosaur Samurai, Dinosaur Warriors, Dinosaur Empire, and Dinosaur Conquest. His 1998-1999 Mictlan duology includes the novels Dark Water's Embrace and Speaking Stories,
Leigh has also written several popular fantasy series. most of them under the name S.L. Farrell. These include the Cloudmages series (2003-2005), which include Holder of Lightning, Mage of Clouds, and Heir of Stone; the Nessantico Cycle (2008-2010), which includes the novels A Magic of Twilight, A Magic of Nightfall, and A Magic of Dawn; the paranormal fantasy series Sunpath Cycle (2017-2018), which includes A Fading Sun and A Rising Moon. Leigh's standalone SF&F novels include The Bones of God (1981), The Crystal Memory (1987), The Abraxas Marvel Circus (1990), Thunder Rift (2001, as Matthew Farrell, republished in 2010 as The Shape of Silence), and several others. His most recent published novel is 2021's science fiction work Amid the Crown of Stars.
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2-11/8: Rejection letter from Gardner Dozois at Asimov's, undated