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Inspired writer: BSU honors grad finishes sci-fi trilogy

Author and woodsman Gordon Sirvio made the rounds at the 2012 Bemidji Book Festival meeting the other authors. Sirvio, whose pen name is S. A. Gorden, was pleased to discover that one of his science fiction novels is reading material at the international space station. Patt Rall | Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Sometimes Minnesota author Gordon Sirvio searches the internet for links to his pen name, S. A. Gorden.

One search revealed a link to NASA and, much to Sirvio’s surprise, he found out that the first book in his science fiction trilogy is reading material on the international space station. Sirvio, an honors graduate of Bemidji State University with a degree in physics, mathematics and computer science, has used his education to write science fiction books that are “hard science,” as he likes to put it.

“When I found out that one of the astronauts took my book, “Eyes of an Eagle” to the space station I was both pleased and surprised,” Sirvio said. “I use current physics and astronomy with some mythology when writing.”

The trilogy started about 10 years ago and the third book in the series, “Eyes of a Seeker,” will be published this weekend. The second book in the trilogy is “Eyes of a Cat.” The last two books are available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon for downloading.

Sirvio grew up on a farm in Floodwood and still resides with his wife, Linda, in a town northeast of Deer River. Steeped in Finnish mythology, the area was fertile ground for a young man who was a good writer interested in the physical and mythological world.

However, it was the birth of his daughter, Sheena, that led the amateur writer to seek professional status.

“My daughter was born with multiple disabilities and she required full-time care,” Sirvio said. “My wife had the better health insurance at that time so we decided that I should be Sheena’s caretaker. I was able to spend time researching in my fields as well as begin writing science fiction stories. Although Sheena has since passed away, I am still active in Special Olympics in Itasca County.”

Sirvio’s son, Ben, is studying for his engineering degree from BSU.

Sirvio has been publishing his stories for 25 years and has made two small national bestseller lists and was nominated for the Hammett Thin Man and Minnesota Book Awards. He was a featured writer at the 2004 World Science Fiction Convention. Sirvio’s “As the Worm Turns” was entered in the Isaac Asimov/Arthur Clarke short story contest.

“I like to mesh ancient and cutting edge science in my writing,” Sirvio said. “My last science fiction book draws upon the ancient Finnish Kalevala (a collection of spells, incantations and cosmological lure), some American Indian mythology and contemporary science.”

For those not given to sci-fi, Sirvio also writes short stories in a lighter genre – murder mysteries with the depression era farmer Jim Maki and his side-kick Emily.

We first meet the young adults in “Murder Picnic Mysteries,” a collection of short stories revolving around mayhem and murder on the farm. Sirvio is able to add descriptive clues because of his farm background. This first book, dedicated to his daughter Sheena, was published in 2006 and the sequel “Venison Stew” was released in e-print last week. Jim and Em are married now and continue to solve mysteries at area farms.

When not writing, Sirvio serves as one of the reviewers for Midwest Book Review, an independent book review website used by more than 1,000 libraries and businesses in the U.S. He also writes a monthly column and manages a writing chat room at Delphi forums about writing, market forces and books.

Sirvio writes his short stories in “pulp” length which requires tight writing; a style used in old magazines.

“A good pulp writer will give the same information in two paragraphs that a contemporary writer will put in five pages,” said Sirvio. “The fun thing about the pulp style is that when it is done well, the reader never knows that those five pages have become just two paragraphs. Books are shifting to the older “pulp” style story length because of electronic print. Aspiring writers can check out the website for Taconite Runes for more information on publishing.