Welcome to my author page
These are busy days.
My day job at Arizona State University has kept food on the table and me well occupied when the semester is in session. With my wife and younger daughter we've developed a hobby farm for sheep, cows, and chickens, all fodder for the grandkids' 4-H projects. And I've had lots to write about.
The big news is that the co-authored book with my older daughter, Lydia V. Pyne, was published in June, 2012. Put simply, The Last Lost World, is a humanities-based gloss on the Pleistocene, the events and creatures that define it, and the hominin who emerged to contrive its end. Viking did a wonderful job with editing and production. Lydia and I still remain on speaking terms.
An invitation from Reaktion Books to contribute to their Earth Series with a heavily illustrated volume on fire proved irresistible. I've never been able before to fill up a work with figures, much less in color. With this book I have. Fire: Nature and Culture was released in October, 2012.
Likewise, the prospect to rewrite so fundamentally as to replace Introduction to Wildland Fire, which is out of print since it was priced out of the market, enticed me to organize a group of colleagues and respond to interest expressed by Wiley Blackwell. Fire on Earth: an Introduction will have four parts: fire in the geologic record by Andrew Scott; fire and biology by William Bond and David Bowman; fire and humans by myself; and fire behavior by Marty Alexander. We'll complete our texts this year, with publication in 2013 in time for the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.
What is really consuming my writing attention, however, is a survey of the American fire scene since 1960. Briefly, the project envisions two complementary products. Between Two Fires will craft a grand narrative of America's great cultural revolution on fire, while To the Last Smoke will provide color commentary through suites of essays on various themes and regional reconnaissances. After years of studying fire around the world, I'm having to relearn the details of my own country. For particulars, see the project website. Regional suites to date include Florida, California, the Northern Rockies, and the Great Plains, with a special section on Texas. A Southwest suite is underway.
A lot to have taken on - too much, really. But sometimes opportunities come like ketchup out of a bottle. You shake and shake and nothing happens. Then it all comes out with a splat. I'm happy to see it on my plate.