(from his website)
So who is this guy, anyway?
Charles Stross is the full-time writer who is the subject of this FAQ.
Tell me more!
Writers are often boring people. They stay home and they, like, write for hours and hours every day. Watching them write is really boring, because believe it or not it takes much longer to write a book than it takes to read it. So let's not go there. They also develop weird neurotic habits like talking about themselves in the third person past tense, like this. Take Stross's advice -- leave him alone, he's boring.
Born in Leeds, England, Stross knew he wanted to be a science fiction writer from the age of six, and astonishingly, nobody ever considered therapy until it was too late. He didn't really get started until his early teens (when his sister loaned him a manual typewriter around the time he was getting heavily into Dungeons and Dragons); the results were unexpected, and he's been trying to bury them ever since. He made his first commercial for-money sale to Interzone in 1986, and sold about a dozen stories elsewhere throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s before a dip in his writing career. He began writing fiction in earnest again in 1998, and that's probably why you're reading this FAQ.
Along the way to his current occupation, he went to university in London and qualified as a Pharmacist. (This is what you get for listening to people who tell you "but you can't earn a living as a writer -- get a career first!") He figured out it was a bad idea the second time the local police staked his shop out for an armed robbery -- he's a slow learner. Sick at heart from drugging people and dodging SWAT teams and gangsters -- it's hard to do that when you're wearing a lab coat -- he went back to university in Bradford and did a postgraduate degree in computer science. After several tech sector jobs in the hinterlands around London, initially in graphics supercomputing and then in the UNIX industry, he emigrated to Edinburgh, Scotland, and switched track into web consultancy and a subsequent dot com death march.
All good things come to an end, and Stross made the critical career error of trying to change jobs early in 2000, just in time for the bottom to drop out of the first dot-com boom. However, he had a parachute: he was writing a monthly Linux column for Computer Shopper, and by a hop, a skip and a jump that would be denounced as implausible by any self-respecting editor, he managed to turn this unemployment into an exciting full time career opportunity as a freelance journalist specialising in Linux and free software. (The adjective "exciting" applies as much to the freelance journalist's relationship with their bank manager as to their career structure.) Even more implausibly, after fifteen years of abject obscurity, his fiction became an overnight success in the US, with five novel sales and several Hugo nominations in the space of two years.
He now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, with his wife Feorag, a couple of cats, several thousand books, and an ever-changing herd of obsolescent computers.