Michael Paul McDowell, writing as Michael P. Kube-McDowell


Michael P. Kube-McDowell has been called "the finest new writer of cosmic science fiction in twenty years" (Orson Scott Card), and his writing praised as "reminiscent of Arthur C. Clarke at his best" (Newsday).

Since 1979, Kube-McDowell's short stories have been featured in such magazines as Analog, Asimov's, Amazing, Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, and Fantasy and Science Fiction, as well as in various anthologies, including AFTER THE FLAMES and ALTERNATE WARRIORS. "Slac//", Kube-McDowell's fifth published story, was selected as one of 1981's ten best by Donald Wollheim. His 1983 fantasy "Slippage" was chosen for Karl Edward Wagner's THE YEAR'S BEST HORROR STORIES and subsequently selected by George Romero to be adapted into an episode of the television series "Tales From the Darkside."

Kube-McDowell's involvement with TV continued with three teleplays for "Tales From the Darkside." The stories included an original, an adaptation of his story "Lifebomb," and an adaptation of a story by Frederik Pohl. Kube-McDowell is a member of the Writer's Guild of America-East.

EMPRISE (1985), Kube-McDowell's first novel, launched the thousand-year "Trigon Disunity" future history, and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award. It was followed by ENIGMA (1986), EMPERY (1987), and the alternate-history thriller ALTERNITIES (1988).

Kube-McDowell's most acclaimed work to date is The Quiet Pools (1990 hc, 1991 pb), which was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club and nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel. His follow-up novel, Exile, was published in hardcover by Ace in May, 1992. It was inspired in part by the 1989 student uprising in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China.

According to Kube-McDowell, "Exile is about how chance and destiny play with our lives, about the price and necessity of social dissent, about what it means to be a citizen. But most of all, I see Exile as the story of two friends and how they found, and then lost, each other--and the story of the city of Ana on the world called Taurin, and how she lost, and then found, her honor and conscience."

Kube-McDowell returned to the bookstores with a New York Times best-seller splash in March, 1996, with Before the Storm, the first volume in The Black Fleet Crisis, a trilogy for Bantam's popular Star Wars program. Shield of Lies and Tyrant's Test followed in short order. All three books were also Publishers Weekly and USA Today best-sellers.

Next up was a major collaboration with the legendary Arthur C. Clarke, The Trigger. Published in hardcover by Bantam Spectra in the US and HarperCollins Voyager in the UK, The Trigger grapples with the difficult and controversial issue of violence in human society, and whether technology might carry us toward a solution. An ALA Booklist prepublication bestseller, The Trigger won high praise from critics as "what near-future SF should be: clever, thoughtful, thrilling, and human." (Infinity Plus). The New York Public Library named The Trigger to its "Books For the Teen Age 2000" honor list.

Kube-McDowell. is currently under contract to Bantam Spectra for two new solo novels, prospectively titled Vectors and Eyes of Reason.

In addition to his success in the United States, Kube-McDowell is slowly building an audience overseas. To date, all but two of his novels have been offered by British publishers, and his fiction has been translated into Polish, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Hungarian, and Spanish.

Kube-McDowell was an instructor at the 1990 Clarion Science Fiction Workshop at Michigan State University, and has been a guest of honor at SF conventions from Atlanta to Oregon and throughout the Great Lakes states. He is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America and a past Nebula Award juror.

Born Michael Paul McDowell, the author grew up in southern New Jersey. While attending Michigan State as a National Merit Scholar, he married Karla Jane Kube, creating his unusual pen name. They had one child, Matthew, born in 1983. Michael and Karla were divorced in 1987.

Michael is married to woodcraft artist Gwendolyn Lee Zak; they welcomed a daughter, Amanda Kathryn McDowell, in 1995, and a son, Gavin Michael McDowell, in 1996.

Outside of science fiction, Kube-McDowell is the author of more than 500 nonfiction and news articles on subjects ranging from space careers to "scientific creationism." He holds a master's degree in science education from Indiana University and was honored for teaching excellence by the 1985 White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. His essay "Divining the Mind" (School Planning and Management, December 1999) was honored with the Distinguished Achievement Award by the Association of Educational Publishers.

In the musical field, Kube-McDowell has been a sideman (viola, guitar, keyboards) on three small-label recordings by Kathy Mar and the Childs-Heltons. He and Gwen are presently members of The Black Book Band, an electric folk-rock-reggae-filk ensemble formed in 1991 with Mary Ellen Wessels and Drs. Barry and Sally Childs- Helton. Performing a blend of sfnal classics, rehabilitated rock and folk, and original tunes, they've taken the stage at conventions throughout the Great Lakes states, highlighted by a concert at the 1991 Worldcon in Chicago, a 1994 Pegasus "Best Performer" Award, and Guest of Honor billing at OVFF XIII. A live album titled First Contact, featuring the best moments of their "Brain Weasels Tour," was released on cassette by Dodeka Records in 1995. An expanded CD release followed in 1997.

Biographical sources:

Last Revised: March 04, 2014

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