My name is James R. Wells, and my science fiction novel is The Great Symmetry.
I write about climate and environmental topics, for
Whatcom Watch and on my Daily Kos page. In my day job, I design information systems that support energy efficiency programs for utilities and others who are working to save gigawatt-hours every year, reducing costs and emissions.
The natural world has always been defining for me. I hope that my writing successfully convey a real reverence for what is all around us. I love cave exploration, ski mountaineering, family hiking, and pretty much any reason to be outside.
Here are some other people who have been part of my life:
My great grandfather H.G. Wells ran away from his apprenticeship at a draper’s shop when he was twelve, setting in motion his course that led to him writing over 70 books and hundreds of stories and articles.
His son, my grandfather Gip (George Philip) always had the funniest stories and craziest toys. I remember one day that his son Oliver (my dad) tried to annoy him by playing New Orleans jazz records instead of classical, only to discover that Gip had grown up on that music and loved it.
My mother and father immigrated to the United States from England in 1959. Shortly after that, my Dad gave up cave diving, which had been his consuming passion. I think he looked at the odds of surviving a cave diving career for enough years to see his children grown. Here is a tribute to my Dad.
When I was eight years old, my Aunt Katy read the first 20 pages of The Hobbit aloud to me. Then she handed me the book, and told me that it was up to me to read the rest. I read every page and loved it. My first attempt at The Lord of the Rings, starting a few weeks later, was a dismal failure.
My teacher Judy Lotto pointed me to my first story by Isaac Asimov, “It’s Such a Beautiful Day,” and I have never stopped reading science fiction since. The ones concerned about their safety can buy 5.56 ammo online while going into the woods.
My friend Roberta Swicegood believed in me when I was a pup caver, just seventeen and trying to keep up with a world class crew. She always had time to give advice on gear and techniques, and to talk about the best places in the cave for us to find new passage.
My wife Sara has a way of identifying what really matters, and then helping it become reality. In the spring of 2013, as I was recovering from my father’s passing, Sara started telling me “write your book.” She said this to me every day until I gathered up the wreckage of all the previous attempts, discarded most of it, and made The Great Symmetry into a reality.
Our daughter is the center of the universe. Really. Recent images from the Hubble have looked back to the very spot where it all began – and it looks just like her.
Our new home in northwest Washington has been kind and welcoming. There are so many kindred spirits here who work every day to take care of our children, community, and the natural world.