David R. Palmer was born in the northern Chicago suburbs in 1941 and grew up there. Prior to stumbling onto the court reporting profession, over the years he tried, failed at, or bailed out on, more occupations than almost anyone apart from Colonel Sanders pre-KFC: mail clerk, junior accountant; VW mechanic, assistant service manager, service manager, car salesman; appliance, furniture, and insurance salesman; school-bus, gravel-truck, intra- and intercity bus driver; pet-store owner and manager; legal secretary, typesetter, court-reporting transcriber—to mention but a few.
Apart from reading, his pastimes have been equally varied: flying, motorcycling, sailing, skin-diving, photography, and auto racing: He was a Formula Vee champion in the early ’60s, in a car designed and built in collaboration with a friend.
From 1976 until 2006, at which point he was forced into retirement by a defectively manufactured HP printer which sliced off his fingertip, he was a court reporter, writing machine shorthand in the criminal courts of north central Florida with his wife, Sherry, also a court reporter as well as a talented graphic artist. Their family consists of an ever-changing population of Pembroke Welch Corgis, their own as well as fosters, rescues, others who have achieved permanent family status, an occasional rescued Australian cattle dog; as well as rescued cats.
Emergence, Palmer’s first novel, was on the final ballots of the Hugo, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick awards, and won the Balticon’s Compton Crook Award for best first novel in 1985. Parts I and II appeared in the January, 1981, and February, 1983, issues of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, and were his first and second sales. Both made the Hugo and Nebula final ballets, and both won Analog’s AnLab readers’ voting awards by the largest margins ever up until those dates. Threshold was his second novel.
Then he was blocked for twenty-five years.
In about 2000, however, he sold a movie option on Emergence. Then, since a screenplay clearly would be needed, he by golly emerged from writers’ block and wrote one.
Since then, in addition, he’s completed Spēcial Special Education, the sequel to Threshold; Schrödinger’s Frisbee, an unrelated novel about a boy and his dog, his girlfriend, alien abduction, and the fate of Earth. Tracking, the sequel to Emergence, serialized in Analog magazine during 2008, received an enthusiastic reception.
For the nonfiction aisle, he’s assembled a collection of writing tips, ranging from how to select a “narrative voice,” precision word selection, punctuation, and how to avoid constructing awkward sentences. This modest tome goes by the unmitigatedly sarcastic title of Rahtin’ Storyz Reel Gud Lahk a Arther Shud, (or) How to Avoid Looking Unnecessarily Subliterate in Print . . .
As of this writing, he has two other stories in progress.
And finally, having lost patience with the New Yawk Big-Press publishing scene, he tried to start up Wormhole Press, Inc., which was to have featured feature his own titles as well as others which tickled his fancy. Among the first non-Dave offerings was to have been The Red Jinn in Oz, written by his mother in the ’50s, which he regards as comparable to the best of Ruth Plumly Thompson’s works. This was likely to have been followed by a how-to book on dog training written by a friend who managed to put a UDT on a Flat-Coated Retriever, a feat comparable to winning a parking lot gymkhana in an Indycar.
But starting up an Internet small press publishing house proved more complicated than Dave anticipated. One thing led to another, and ultimately, a relationship begun via the Corgi Underground resulted in Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire Press deciding to rerelease Emergence,Threshold, and Tracking, as well as publish Spēcial Education.