Piers Anthony Dillingham Jacob (born August 6, 1934 in Oxford, England) is a writer in the science fiction and fantasy genres, publishing under the name Piers Anthony.
He has written many novels and short stories, but is most famous for his long-running series set in the fictional realm of Xanth. Many of his books have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list. He is one of the most prolific science fiction/fantasy authors of all time. He has claimed that one of his greatest achievements has been to publish a book for every letter of the alphabet, from Zombie Lover.
Anthony's family emigrated to the United States from Britain while he was a child. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in his twenties. He went to a liberal arts college in Vermont, married his college sweetheart, and then joined the army. After completing a two year stint in military service, he briefly taught public school before becoming a fulltime writer. Anthony currently lives with his wife on a tree farm which he owns in Florida. He is a vegetarian, an agnostic, a proud liberal, a workaholic, and dislikes travel (hence his rarity at conventions). After a series of miscarriages, he and his wife had two daughters. He also has one grandchild.
Anthony believes he was blacklisted at one time, and thus that it is his duty to help aspiring writers circumvent traditional publishing houses and their stranglehold on the industry. On multiple occasions he has moved from one publisher to another (taking a profitable hit series with him), when he felt the editors were unduly tampering with his work. He has even sued publishers for accounting malfeasance and won judgments in his favor.
He also maintains an Internet Publishers Survey, in the interest of helping aspiring writers. For this service, he has won the "Special Recognition for Service to Writers" award from "Preditors and Editors," an author's guide to publishers and writing services.
At one time, he was also a venture capitalist who invested in an internet publishing house which has since been bought out by Random House. Other than his tree farm, he has also been a venture capitalist in vegetarian foodstuffs related technologies.
Many of his popular novels have been optioned for movies at various times, though none have carried through. One has however been made into a video game.
Piers Anthony's novels usually end with a chapter-long Author's Note, in which he talks about himself, his life, and his experiences as they related to the process of writing the novel. He often discusses correspondence with readers and any real-world issues that influenced the novel.
* 6 August 1934- born
* 1956 - married Carol Marble
* 1956- received Bachelor of Arts degree from Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont
* 1957-1959 - served in the United States Army
* 1958- became a United States citizen
Marriage and Early Career
Piers Anthony met his wife while both were attending college. The young couple married immediately after graduation, over the objections of the bride's parents, who considered him too financially destitute for her (he had spent one summer walking around campus barefoot because he couldn't afford shoes). He married her on the condition that she would also become a vegetarian, because he had seen his parents get divorced over disputes and lifestyle friction where one spouse was a vegetarian and the other wasn't.
After graduation and marriage, and the financial burdens of starting a new life together at such a young age, the newly wed couple found it difficult to make ends meet. After a series of odd jobs, Piers Anthony eventually decided to join the U.S. Army for a steady source of income and medical coverage for his pregnant wife. It was during his time in the army that he developed his newfound (and now lifelong) attention to fitness and regimental exercise. Despite being in a very physical environment in the army, he found himself drawn to his interest in writing, and got the job of maintaining an army newsletter.
After leaving the army, he spent a brief stint as a public school teacher before trying his hand at becoming a fulltime writer.
In order for him to be able to leave teaching and spend a year writing fulltime, his wife would have to support them. The two of them made a deal - that if he could sell a piece of writing in that year, then she would continue to work to support him. But if he couldn't sell anything in that year, then he would forever give up his dreams of being a writer and not write any stories ever again.
At the end of the year, he managed to get a shortstory published. If he hadn't, then his writing career would have ended stillborn, instead of becoming the New York Times bestselling author that he is today. He credits his wife as the person who made his whole writing career possible, and advocates aspiring writers that they need to have a source of income or support other than their writing in order to get through the early years of a writing career.
But What of Earth? Controversy
One important event in Anthony's early literary career was the hullabaloo about the original publication of Anthony's 1976 novel But What of Earth?, Anthony developed the idea for two of his science-fiction series, Cluster and Tarot, both of which are in continuity with Earth?; Tarot takes place some years later, and the Cluster series opens roughly 500 years after that. In addition, one of Earth?'s main supporting characters, Brother Paul of the Holy Order of Vision, is the protagonist of the Tarot books.
According to Anthony, he completed But What of Earth?, and Elwood accepted and purchased it. Elwood then told Anthony that he wished to make several minor changes and in order not to waste Anthony's time, he had hired copyeditor (and author) Robert Coulson to retype the manuscript with the changes. Anthony described Coulson as a frined he had met through sci-fi fandom, so he was happy to throw Coulson the work.
Apparently, however, Elwood told Coulson something entirely different about the situation. Coulson understood himself to be a full collaborator, free to make his own significant revisions to Anthony's text, in line with suggestions made by Laser's previous line editors. In exchange, Elwood promised Coulson a 50/50 split with Anthony on all future royalties.
According to Anthony, the published novel is different in many respects from his version: most characters were imagined differently, their motivations revised and often left unclear, much of the dialogue had been reworked, and Coulson had cut many of Anthony's scenes and added several of his own invention. In Anthony's view, Coulson's efforts completely changed the tenor of the work, and (again according to Anthony) not for the better.
In Laser's ultiamte publication of But What of Earth?, it listed Anthony and Coulson together as collaborators. Anthony says Elwood consulted him about none of the revisions. The first time he learned that the novel would see any significant changes was when he got Laser's brochure advertising the Anthony/Coulson "collaboration" as forthcoming.
While Anthony prepared for legal action, the entire Laser line was on the brink of failure. So a settlement was reached, including reversion of publication rights to Anthony. Laser folded the next year, in 1977.
In 1989, Anthony (re)published his original But What of Earth? in an annotated edition through Tor Books. This edition contains an Introduction and Conclusion setting out the story of the novel's permutations and roughly 60 pages of notes by Anthony giving examples of changes to plot and characters and describing some of the comments made by copyeditors to his manuscript