A note about the author

I was born in Lone Pine, California, in 1947. Shortly thereafter, my father (who had served in the Army Air Corps during World War II) enlisted in the newly-formed United States Air Force. During his twenty three-year career as a non-commissioned officer, he participated in the Korean conflict and the Viet Nam War. He took his family with him on tours of Bermuda, Japan, and Taiwan, and later (after I graduated from high school) to Hawaii. This exposure to different cultures and landscapes fostered in his eldest child a lifelong affection for "alternative worlds" and especially for Asian philosophy and aesthetics.

My educational background is already included in my introductory essay. My complete curriculum vitae is also available online at my course website, and a brief "profile" is included in my blog, Owl's Farm. Suffice it to say here that I have a B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania, where I concocted an independent major in ancient history (with an undeclared minor in geology) and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1975 (nearly nine years after graduating from high school, and initially matriculating at the University of California at Riverside). I also studied ancient history, geology, and philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook before finally settling down into the intellectual history program at the University of Texas at Dallas. I earned my M.A. in the History of Ideas in 1989, and passed my Ph.D. exams in 1992. At some point after that, I abandoned the quest for a doctorate because it was more fun to teach, create websites, and pursue whatever interests arose out of a continuous process of teaching and learning than it was to slog away at a dissertation.

My choice to publish the results of my research as a novel, and to do so online, came about as I worked through the ideas William Morris had articulated over a century ago. It seemed only appropriate that because I mined his ideas so liberally in my effort to create a twenty first-century utopia, I should gain nothing from doing so other than to participate in an ongoing conversation, one he initiated in the first place.

"Owlfarmer," by the way, is simply a translation of a German homonym of the family name. My father suggested using it when I first began to mess about on the web, and I've been playing with it ever since.