Born 1949 in Nuernberg, West Germany, U.S. Army brat. Mother from Luxembourg. I lived in Luxembourg with my mother & her parents for some years, so my first language was Luxembourgeois, followed by German (1st grade) and French (2nd grade). My given name is Jean Thomas Cullen (after my two grandfathers; the one in Luxembourg won that turf war, or I would be Thomas). I use John in Anglophone world. I use the pseudonym John Argo (explained below) for SFFH and my suspense novel Neon Blue.
I only learned English at age 10 when my parents reunited, my father retired, and we returned home to USA.
Began writing poetry at 7 in German. Wrote a small novel at 11 in English. Was a published poet by age 18. Wrote nearly 500 poems, some published, before hanging up my lyre at about age 28. At least three anthologies published in my sixties (e.g. Calling Earth: Can Anyone Hear Me? as John Cullen).
Teenage novel finished age 19, finally published many years later with a few rough spots buffed out, but same exact story: Summer Planets by John T. Cullen.
Began work age 17 at New Haven Journal-Courier as a summer interne newspaper reporter while attending University of Connecticut where I earned a BA in Liberal Arts (English, History, Languages, Classics).
Starving artist around New Haven after college, then hitch-hiked thousands of miles across the USA including coast to coast and then Oregon to San Diego. Took a large airplane back to CT though... made later journeys by car. Easier on the thumb.
Served active duty U.S. Army two enlistments 25-31 in West Germany. Traveled all over Europe in my orange VW bus when not on duty (HQ of a major logistics command, scribe with AG section to General Staff).
During all this, continued writing novels and short stories. Almost published (much praise, including Joe Haldeman, Terry Carr, Ray Bradbury, Andre Norton, and more) but never quite hooked up with the cigar.
Notable novel: On Saint Ronan Street, a New England college love affair between a young poet and a lonely young faculty wife (another almost). Heavily influenced by my (typical) GI homesickness & memoeries; some inspiration of John Updike's New England stories there. After seeing a favorite old movie (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, 1960s) and falling in love with Catherine deNeuve all over again, I cloned On Saint Ronan Street and created a separate new novel, Paris Affaire by Jean T. Cullen (praised by Kirkus in 2020). What convinced me was that the melancholy tone in On Saint Ronan Street was so similar to that Gallic downbeat in Umbrellas... so I thought why not make it a French novel? I've spent much time in Paris and around France, so it was easy to do globals and change a few details and voila, nous sommes pres de la Seine et la Marne! Lots of fun. Ironically, given that the climax of Paris Affaire takes place (with a kiss) in front of the Notre Dame de Paris as the bells are banging away, a few months later that tragic fire crippled the great cathedral....And yes, ironically, the Anglo in me was compelled to take the downer ending of OSRS and create a totally new knock-your-socks happy ending for the love story.
I returned to CONUS age 31 and settled in San Diego, where I kept writing... worked many years as a technical writer/analyst in the computer systems development and aerospace industries. Still happily married with home & family well into the new century.
In 1996, I launched the world's first true e-book by these standards: (1) proprietary, not public domain, so rule out Gutenberg and 99.99% of long fiction online; (2) publishing in HTML code, online, not portable media like CD ROM or floppies; (3) to be read entirely online at our websites Neon Blue Fiction (suspense) and The Haunted Village (SFFH)... the entire history is pretty well documented at the Clocktower Books Museum site (museum dot fyi). We published in innovative weekly chapter installments, typically posted Sunday afternoons San Diego time, to be read by avid fans around the world (see Caffeine Books review pages, in work as we speak). Many fans could not stand the suspense, and sent breathless emails requesting could we please please please mail them a full TXT file so they could learn how the novels end...
With a group of friends (see Museum) also launched the world's first professional, Web-only SFFH magazine (article at SF Encyclopedia). Had an acclaimed ten-year run first as Deep Outside SFFH (1998-2001) and then Far Sector SFFH (2002-2007). Published many new authors as well as established (several SFWA top officials included). Stories included new work by authors who had received, or went on to receive, every top award in SFFH including Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and top British, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand prizes in the field.
In 2020 (the Vision Year, we'd like to think, although...) Clocktower Books is approaching a quarter century. See Museum. Not open for subs, sorry.
In 1992, I began work on my big political thriller, CON2: The Generals of October, which received praise from then Sen. John McCain and other visionaires. It is still available, actually best called a Constitution Thriller because it is the only novel to actually think through (in an entertaining but edifying way) what would happen if we made the fatal mistake in the USA of invoking Article V and holding a Second Constitutional Convention (CON2). Let's not do it (seriously).
Over the years, I have written more than forty novels, many of them listed at my new site Caffeine Books and available (read half free/buy whole for the price of a cup of coffee if you like what you're reading) at Galley City.
My SFFH series include Empire of Time (first in the series being my teenage novel Summer Planets) and also a half dozen or more stand-alones united by their dark, delicious atmosphere reminiscent of great films like Blade Runner, Dark City, Chrysalis, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and more. I call it DarkSF - not gruesome or juvenile, but so richly atmospheric that we'd best describe DarkSF as "the dark chocolate of speculative fiction."
I'm running out of pixels, so I'll stop there for now. Thanks, and happy reading! JTC
Robinson Crusoe 1,000,000 A.D.
by Jean T. Cullen writing as John Argo. Praised by Library Journal: "...Awakening in a cave, Alex Kirk believes he is the only human being living on an utterly changed Earth - until he discovers a bloody footprint in the sand... [Argo] re-imagines Daniel Defoe's classic tale as a far-future survival adventure...Suitable for large libraries."
Sold thousands of copies in the early days at Fictionwise, with 409 reviews (vast majority equivalent to five and four stars). Today lost in the shuffle like so much else... read half free at Galley City/ buy the whole book for the price of a cup of coffee (The Bookstore Metaphor or Read-a-Latte). More info with the sample chapters at Galley City (dot com).
A million years into a totally unexpected future, we encounter the last man on Earth. Nobody has ever been so alone. Alex Kirk awakens a million years from now, utterly alone and in terrible danger on a brave new Earth. Humankind has been extinct for eons, and Alex Kirk is at best an accident, an afterthought in an uncaring universe filled with dreadful secrets.
He is marooned like no human ever before--not just in space, but in time. There is no point, no purpose, no hope to his brief existence. He has never met another human, because he is a clone borne accidentally in a wrecked, moss-covered breeding tank deep in a sentient cave, with only the original Alex Kirk's memories to sustain him, and those are brittle and fragmented in Alex's newly formed mind. And yet Alex Kirk summons the determination to live, to dream, and to strive against all despair.
Author's Note: To answer many reader questions posed over the years, since I released this DarkSF novel in 2003, I have written a special new Author's Preface to the 2015 Kindle Select edition. In it, I address questions of pacing, point of view, homages, the names of the characters, the history of Daniel Defoe's original 1719 novel (which has never been out of print, much like his other famous novel, Moll Flanders). Speaking of homages, I cannot help but mention the 1964 cult classic film Robinson Crusoe on Mars. Now we have a second SF novel, totally original and fresh, based on the archetype to which Daniel Defoe gave the name Robinson Crusoe three centuries ago.
This is an entirely fresh and original novel, which innovatively evokes and builds upon Defoe's literary masterpiece. Critics, including Library Journal, praised John Argo's novel as a stunning rework in the tradition of Defoe's 1719 classic. Recall also the 1964 SF cult classic Robinson Crusoe on Mars. Here is the next book on that shelf--a must read that will rip your imagination from its foundation and send your mind hurtling into the unknown on a journey filled with terror and wonder.
Earth, one million years in our empty, terrifying future, might as well be an alien planet, rich in life but strange. Alex the the last man on Earth, the final genetic expression of his kind--an afterthought of evolution or fate--and now he must either perish or conquer this world and its many mysteries.
Earth in 1,000,000 A.D. is a planet of surprises, from huge saltwater flowers to the giant butterflies that pollinate them. Sinister and cunning, black-furred, evolved wolverine/bear Rippers with boar tusks lurk hour after hour waiting for Alex to make a single mistake so they can devour him. And there is much more in this scary new world: living caves that swallow people; armed and marauding aftermen; a haunted village of long-dead clone men and women; a valley formed when an ancient university crumbled and its experimental laboratories fissured, with a swift-flowing river between them. It is a valley littered with skulls, picked over by Rippers and other un-things in the long afterglow of old Earth.
One day, solitary, lonely Alex sees a curious smudge in space, beside the moon. He will discover it encapsulates the secret of what happened to humankind, and the key to his own fate. Starting alone, naked, and with nothing except a fierce will to survive, Alex courageously explores, battles, and conquers. He ultimately confronts the enigma of who he is and why ancient humans left him shipwrecked and alone in eternity.
Is there a woman-Friday to relieve what would otherwise be a nightmare existence for Alex Kirk? Read this novel and learn the answer. Hint: "strawberry ice cream."
For more info, visit Caffeine Books at www.caffeinebooks.com. That is the newest of my linked websites anchored by www.clocktowerbooks.com and www.johntcullen.com. Been online a quarter century thus far, and spent thousands of hours having fun...