Edward W. Robertson likes kung fu, fish tanks and sci-fi fantasy.
He's just OK at the kung fu, he admits, but asserts he kills more fish in his home aquarium than StarKist. But when it comes to sci-fi writing, he excels, and his fan base is growing among fantasy hounds.
Robertson, 29, recently had two of his short stories included in an anthology titled The Aether Age, published by Hadley Rille Books.
The Kennewick High graduate, who is living in California, has been published in several online magazines for his far-reaching fantasy skills. He also had one of them turned into a podcast in the United Kingdom and soon will have a story published in the online magazine Canadian Science Fiction Review.
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Robertson was 12 when he wrote his first short story. "It was a fantasy story about a dragon," he said.
The dragon story disappeared over the years, but he kept writing other stories, mostly focused on fantasy and space.
The Aether Age is written as a collective voice, with each writer contributing to the story line in chapters of the futuristic tale rooted in the ancient lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Eric T. Reynolds, publisher of Hadley Rille Books, says in the book's foreword that The Aether Age is the kind of book that is breaking new ground in the publishing business.
"This is a different kind of anthology, an exciting new way to speculate about how humanity would grow and venture into the universe had our technology developed during much earlier times using very different methods," Reynolds wrote.
"Humanity's cultures and its devices would have elements of ancient mythology mixed in with new science, taking humanity into a radically different direction than the one with which we're familiar."
Sixteen sci-fi writers were chosen for the collective process. Robertson, a New York University graduate, is one of only two among those writers who wrote two chapters.
"This kind of writing is a way for writers to talk about how ancient Egyptians, mythology and space travel can happen without having to go to the moon to experience it," Robertson said.
"I had to do a lot of research on the Spartans and Greeks for The Aether Age. But when I sat down to actually write it, the story came pretty fast."
Robertson had a bundle of rejection notices before he had his first short story published in a magazine. But rejections build character, he said, as well as a tough hide that kept him writing.
"I've had so many rejection letters sent to me I lost count," he said. "But you stay persistent at something long enough, it usually pays off."
The payoff is being invited to write for a magazine that pays 5 cents a word, which is usually what the big publishing houses like Asimov Science Fiction offer.
Though his short stories are making noise in the publishing world, Robertson still hopes to write that great American novel one day.
And when he does, it may well be a story that includes traveling weightless through space on an asteroid without a space suit.
Robertson is the son of Herald executive editor Ken Robertson. He also reviews movies as the "Critic of Pure Reason" for the Herald's AT entertainment section and website.
The Aether Age is available from the publisher or online at Amazon.com.