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"I'm not sure I ever thought of myself as a child. I was born in New York City and early on was transplanted to Tucson, Arizona. My mother was an invalid and I more or less ran the household. I vividly recall reading Dante's Inferno under a flashlight aged ten or so. I wrote humorous pieces for the high school paper. Thank God Cows Can't Fly was one. I also contributed pieces for the local paper. For instance, I waged a one-man campaign to stop people from killing the so-called Gila Monster, a harmless, though ugly, lizard. At a tender age

I wrote my first sci-fi story, The Inclined Plane, which was inspired by the Sisyphus story. My father actually composed songs. One of these, God Bless the Child was sung by Billie Holliday. At one time I may have wanted to be like him, but I think I always dreamed of being a writer."

I then wondered if there was something in his genes that had propelled him towards the sort of science fiction he had made his own. The answer was surprising. Herzog's background was certainly out of the ordinary.

"My grandparents were rich, conservative, non-religious Jews and my grandmother was the first Freudian female psychoanalyst in the U.S. She and her husband moved to Europe but the Nazi threat forced them to return home. I suppose that's one of the reasons why I've always hated Fascism - a truly stupid ideology.

"Anyway, it has been said that we were probably the most extensively psycho-analysed family in New York City. I certainly recall taking a lot of tests as a child -Rorschach and aptitude tests mainly - to determine what sort of career I might follow. That's how I discovered my IQ. It was measured at 168 at the age of six. Since then I've been fascinated by IQ and IQ testing.

"I was discouraged from becoming a writer because my grandparents disapproved. They had bourgeois values and felt that I wouldn't have made a living as an author."


I then asked Herzog what subjects had interested him at school and college. From his replies he appears to have had a foot in both the Arts and sciences — a true Renaissance man.

"While still in high school I took university courses in psychology. I was fascinated. I suppose I got this interest from my famous grandmother. As an undergraduate my field was social science, which encompassed economics, sociology and history. I was particularly intrigued by theoretical science and wanted to understand society from a factual point of view. "After graduating I did an M.A. in English Literature. I saw this as a step towards becoming a writer. I have always had a futuristic slant and so the writers that most impressed me then were people like H. G. Wells.


"What I loved in, for instance, The Time Machine and The Shape of Things to Come, was their imaginative quality. My thesis was entitled Revolt in Utopia and explored the change in tone in his work from optimism to pessimism."


Before long we had got into the subject of IQ83. I certainly discovered a Wellsian quality to this particular novel. Some of the moral issues explored in it were those that the great man would have recognised a hundred years ago. The difference between Herzog and his hero, however, lay in their backgrounds. Wells had trained as a biologist, whereas Herzog's scientific expertise lay in other areas. So where did the idea for the rogue virus come from and who did he turn tofor research assistance ?

"In the Sixties I was a journalist for the New York Times and the magazine Think. I specialised in interviewing leading intellectuals, many of whom were scientists.

"That's how, for instance, I met Edward Teller, one of the brains behind the atomic bomb programme, because of a book I wrote called the War Peace Establishment. "Later I was to bump into the other -Robert Oppenheimer - while on vacation. Both men I found arrogant.

"Back then I also interviewed the Nobel laureate Linus Pauling, and Aldous Huxley, who were very modest, despite their intellect. So I was interested in the work of such men and later on, when I was thinking about IQ83 my friends were mainly academics and I used to bounce ideas off them.

"I suppose these friends must have served as models for Healey.

"My imagination worked on this raw material, but as always I did survey the field and consult an expert in it. I visited institutions for the mentally deficient. I also recall that Mensa was very helpful and I credit the organisation in my book."

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Arthur's Bio