Who is Brad?

Full-time healthcare tech nerd by day, part-time U.S. Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer by weekend, and perpetrator of Speculative Fiction by night.

As of Summer 2015: I’ve sold two novels to Baen Books, and numerous stories, novelettes, and novellas to Analog Science Fiction and Fact magazine — three of which won the Analog ‘AnLab’ Readers’ Choice award:

I was also the 2012 triple-nominee for the Campbell, Hugo, and Nebula awards, won the Association of Mormon Letters (AML) award for best short fiction, a Writers of the Future award, and have published in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Mike Resnick’s Galaxy’s Edge, and elsewhere.

Historically & Personally…
I’m a Dad and a Husband, married to my best friend in the world and the love of my life since 1993. I’m somewhat churchy, being a member of the LDS faith, and I live in Utah. I’m a fairly rabid Utah Jazz pro basketball fan, I’ve been an airplane and aerospace geek almost all of my life, and I am forever fascinated by history — especially military history. Being a Chief Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army Reserve gives me a chance to serve the country I admire, while at the same time keeping my civilian shoes on. I have undying respect for U.S. military servicepeople and veterans, and I suffer severe allergic reactions to criticism of same.

Politics: I’ll give you three hints. I am a huge fan of Bloom County, South Park, and Portlandia.

As noted at the start, I write fiction and sell it, believing that the primary purpose of fiction is to entertain the reader — and to make me a little money. I’m not in it to “educate” you, nor to “confront” you, nor to (God help us!) “raise awareness.” I simply want to let you have some worthwhile fun in the world(s) of my imagination, just as the authors I love and adore have always done. If you’re not having fun in my stories, or aren’t coming away saying, wow, I really enjoyed that, then I’m not doing my job!

Many thanks for visiting — be ye friend or foe — and feel free to leave comments or paste up a note. I’m also on Facebook for that, so drop over and say hi.


44 thoughts on “Who is Brad?

  1. Yo. Brad.
    Howz the romance coming along?
    Good luck! You’ll do fine!

    Lesli Muir Lytle

  2. Congrats, Brad. SFWA, wow, that’s cool, even though I didn’t know they existed until almost two years ago. Yeah, I’m that new at this. (grin).

  3. Awesome. Great writing, nice and tight! (this blog, not just your SF writing 🙂 As someone who’s read and worked with your writing since “The Nemesis” and the IGEME BBS, I’m in a position to say: You’ve spent years honing the craft and it shows.

  4. Thanks a bunch! I am so glad you enjoyed the story. Very glad, in fact. More on the way. One is out right now in the October issue, and another is coming for December — with a Bob Eggleton cover!

  5. Brad,

    I’m new to the whole writing scene, but stumbled onto your blog via Google by literally searching for the terms “how to win the writers of the future contest.”

    I’ve been writing professionally in equity research for several years, but decided to submit a proposal for a non-fiction book I wanted to write and actually found a great agent. That said, my agent wants me to build a “platform” before marketing my book to major publishers.

    So I have my own little political blog, which is building nicely. That said, I’ve always enjoyed science fiction and have a decent background for writing it (I’m an engineer by training, and spent about five years in the US Army in the armored cavalry). I’m glad to see a fellow Army guy doing well in sci-fi.

    Anyway, to make a long story short, I greatly appreciated your advice on the Writers of the Future Contest, and hopefully am able to integrate it into my submission before the December deadline.

  6. Sean, good luck with your submission to WOTF. It is, quite simply, the premiere entry point for science fiction and fantasy writers chasing a professional career. I can’t say enough good about the Contest, and am always pleased to see new people deciding to take the plunge. If anything I’ve written here has proven valuable in any way, I am glad. I am not an expert on winning, but I do think I’ve been able to help a few people who were approaching things scattershot, and have since been able to home in on things a little better than they otherwise would have. And of course, thank *YOU* for your service. Go Army!!

  7. Brad,

    See above, for that’s how I stumbled across your blog as well. It’s been inspiring and helpful and I appreciate your thoughts on the WOTF contest. I entered into WOTF 6(?) years ago and fortunately didn’t win or anything, as it gave me a chance to improve both my story, my story’s world, and my writing.

    I was wondering if I may ask you a question about submissions to WOTF. My biggest project and the one to which I have devoted the most energy over the past nine years has been a book, or moreover a series of books, that I’ve been developing. I want to submit something in that “world,” preferably something out of my planned book itself. In my previous submission, I submitted a fragment of the overall story. For the 3rd Quarter 2012, I was thinking of submitting a piece that would “end” but still leave plenty of unanswered questions about the fate of certain characters- as in the first “act” of overall story. I suppose the short of it is that I’m wondering what you think the judges desire- a story that wraps up all of its elements and storylines neatly, or if one that doesn’t. If an entry does not do that, will it be a hindrance?

    Again, I appreciate your advice and ideas. I’m active duty Air Force currently, so I hope you won’t hold that against me. At least I’m not Navy. Thanks again.

  8. I think it’s a 50-50 proposition. The story must stand on its own, in the end. The Contest sees a lot of novel beginnings and novel fragments. They generally don’t cut the mustard. Only way to find out is to take what you’ve got, edit it enough so that it seems more or less complete, and send it in. You can’t win unless you don’t enter, and while it may be tempting to polish one item relentlessly — in the hope that such polish will make it good enough to win — it toom me multiple tries before I won. So I would advise quantity as much or even more than I would advise quality. In any case, best of luck! And thank you very much for your service! Aim High! I love USAF. Some of my best friends were or are USAF. My dad was USAF Reserve. I’d have been USAF Reserve too, if they’d not blocked me due to medical reasons. It’s all good though. Being a Chief Warrant Officer in the USAR is working out great.

  9. The Chaplain’s Legacy good story and about getting along with others and the reflection of the divine nature of man even if we don’t know it or refuse to believe it.

  10. Thanks a bunch for the kind compliment, Tim! I am so glad you liked the story. I have a novelization of this (and the original, “The Chaplain’s Assistant”) out to my agent right now, so there may be more to come on this particular tale.

  11. I really would love to see more stories about The Chaplain’s Assistant. Each one is a masterpiece! Although I truly enjoyed all your other stories in Analog as well.

  12. Thanks, Claus! I am so pleased you enjoy the Chaplain’s stories. I’ve taken both the original story and its sequel, and bundled them into a book that I am hoping to sell to a major publisher right now. We’ll see what happens. Meanwhile I can always do more stories for Analog, since I’ve got the green light. Also, and if you don’t mind, do please drop Trevor Quachri a note through Analog’s BRASS TACKS section. The better the feedback (for the editor, on my published work) the more my editor will let me explore universes like that in the Chaplain’s tales. Again, thanks for the praise. I am cheered that you found these stories to your taste. That’s music to an author’s ears.

  13. Brad,

    Are you the one whose re-draw of the Paine class frigate can be found on the Internet? If so, then read on.

    I have always liked FASA’s version of the Paine class, and found yours to be even better. In fact, I like it so much, that I re-drew the dorsal view of your re-draw using Corel Draw, my graphics program of choice. It’s a .cdr file, but if you’d like to see it, I will export it in another format of your choosing (.jpg, .bmp, .png, .gif) and send it to you. I just need to know where to send it.
    My only change to your drawing was to remove the old-style phaser banks and install a Next Gen-era phaser strip.

    If you are NOT that Brad Torgersen, please forgive the interruption.

    Mike Morrow

  14. Yup, Mike, I am the guy! I hate to say it but my burgeoning fiction career has pretty much shut down my new work on the Trek FASA web site. Do please send a link (put it in a reply to this message) to your re-do of the Pain. I’d love to see it.

  15. Just wanted to let you know that I found one of your stories in the newest issue of Analog.

    I sat down to soak my back last night, intending to get out of the tub in 10 minutes or so. To occupy myself I picked up Analog and started reading “Life Flight”. I expected to find a good stopping point, as I usually do with novella. The next thing I knew, the water was cold and I was reading the last lines.

    I didn’t notice a name for the character so in my mind I’ve started calling him Moses. They do seem to have a few attributes in common. (trying not to give anything away)

    I will be looking forward to more.

  16. Splendid! I know I’ve done my job when I’ve managed to make the bath water grow cold! Much obliged for taking the time to sleuth out my page and leave me a note. Such messages from readers are a wonderful delight. I am so glad that “Life Flight” suited your tastes so well. Just FYI, I have a novel called The Chaplain’s War that is coming out from Baen Books in October. Meanwhile, a collection of my previous Analog fiction, Lights in the Deep, is available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. In both paper and electronic formats. Feel like having a few more baths grow cold? (smile) Again, Kat, I am thrilled to learn my fiction provided you with a worthwhile experience. Happy New Year!

  17. Brad,
    I’ve been aware of you for a while and have enjoyed your stories, but “Life Flight” was just superb. I stayed up way, way past my bedtime reading it in Analog the other night and was a bit groggy at work in the morning…but it was worth it. Thank you, sir.

  18. Hi there, Brad. Your blog has ruined me. Even now I should be working, but I find myself trying to grab every bit of information about writing. And there is a lot in here. 🙂 I have set a goal for myself to try my best in competing in WOTF, but while dreaming of the heights, I´m still at the very bottom of beginning. So I wanted to ask should I focus on perfecting my English before sending any stories, or does the story matter more? (I am from Finland, so I bet even this text is full of gaps in orthography.)

    Thank you for this blog that both inspires me and let me grow in knowledge. Good luck with every project you have at the moment!

  19. Hi Brad, very, very happy for you. I didn’t think your previous gig gave you much room to grow, but it seems you did it anyway. Given your work it should have happened a long time ago, but we faithful souls persist. Thanks for the advise and hope you don’t need to read a thousand more dubious stories.

  20. Parker: sorry to be late with a response! I am so glad you felt “Life Flight” scored solidly enough to cost you some sleep! As I noted with the cold bath water, when I’ve made you groggy at work the next day, I’ve done my job. (grin)

    Sesokeriton: I am glad you feel the information here is helpful, and no, I would not let your grasp (or the lack thereof) of English stop you from telling your stories. I’m of the belief that a powerful story told in basic words is still powerful. For my own prose, I strive for what might be called a direct or transparent style. I do not want to dazzle a reader with my vocabulary, nor my ability to spin that vocabulary into a verbal web of elegant (or confusing?) imagery and metaphor. I know a lot of writers consider their word artistry to be the whole reason they even write. I must conclude that I love stories far more than the actual words themselves. So please do send your work to Writers of the Future, and good luck to you!

    Mike: I will say that, as long as the road was for me (from unpublished aspirant to published award-winner and award-nominee) in hindsight, it was a necessary road. I had to grow up a lot along the way. I feel that the years I spend struggling and wondering if I’d ever make it, were not spent in vain. I was busy with my life, and being out in the world struggling to succeed in other areas, and being around all kinds of different people (both good and bad) so that when I came back to my writing — and my skills had finally matured enough — I was able to successfully render the human experience on the page. Enough, at least, to earn praise like that of Parker. And many others. Which cheers me enormously. And as with Seso, I wish you luck!

  21. Hmmm . . . I read the how-to on winning The Writers of the Future thing, and I have to say . . . it didn’t work! I didn’t even place.

    Got a form letter saying I essentially got the wrong advice from someone (don’t worry, I didn’t give you up; I held fast).

    Anyway, that was my one try, and it didn’t work.

    . . . now I don’t know what to do . . . got any other ideas?

  22. Disperser: you can’t expect to win with just one entry. Took me five entries. Some people need a dozen or more. You write one story, send it in, then for the next quarter, you write another. And so on and so forth. Give it time. If you are persistent, and have even a smidgen of talent, and are writing things appropriate for the Contest, you can win.

  23. Here’s one thing I am sure of . . . I’ll never win in the humor category. I was trying to be funny, and evidently failing miserably.

    Seriously, I’m pretty sure I don’t write the kind of stories that would win.

    As for the talent thing . . . eh; I like what I write, and I hear that is a prerequisite to getting published, but perhaps my standards are real low.

    My current thinking is to follow in the footsteps of many famous artists . . . first I die, and then my works are ‘discovered’ and lauded as the greatest since the previous great artist that died tragically.

    The only thing that gives me pause is that whole ‘tragic death’ thing. Personally, I was hoping to go in my sleep, sometime after 2060.

    So, right there, I have a long way to go before I win.

  24. Brad, I’m not wild about your work. I’m not saying that I regret reading your stories, or that I avoid reading them, just that they’re not really my cup of tea.

    I’ll say this, though. You’re more than competent. I may disagree with your politics in many respects, but you’re not a jerk. And although I’ve not ranked any of your material #1 on my Hugo ballot… you’re always ranked higher than “No Award”. (And there’s *always* stuff I leave off my ballot in favor of ‘No Award’).

    ‘Exchange Officers’, ‘Ray of Light’, ‘Chaplain’s Legacy’… they’re competently done, there’s nothing that makes me want to throw up my hands in disgust. They’re not my thing, but de gustibus, eh?

  25. Dear Brad,

    I am a reviewer for WORLD magazine (www.worldmag.com), a print, Christian, bi-weekly news magazine. I have read some of your stories before and enjoyed them immensely. I am contacting you because I think WORLD’s 100,000+ readers would find your stories appealing and I was wondering if you had any anthologies or novels forthcoming in the next few months that I could potentially review for WORLD. (I am published twice a year, my next publication is December – but my deadline is Nov. 21). I cannot guarantee a review. Let me know if you are interested.

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  27. Brad,
    What is the best way to buy your book for you to get the most from it?

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  29. Incidentally, I was wondering – more than once (on other people’s blogs), I’ve seen you comment that a major sign of something being wrong with the Hugos was when “Redshirts” won Best Novel. Could I ask what you found to be so wrong with “Redshirts” that wasn’t wrong with, say, “Among Others” or “Blackout / All Clear” ?

    Thank you in advance.

  30. Purchased your short story collections as a thank you for Sad Puppies and all the shite you’ve had to wade through and have had slung at you.

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  32. I met you tonight on the Honey Badger Radio, I was the one who compiled the list of those who should have won the Hugos. It was a great pleasure in chatting with you.

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  34. Dear Mr. Torgersen: I just completed an interview this afternoon on talk radio WISR 680 AM with host Dave Malarkey of “It’s Your Turn.” It concerned my new science fiction release, “The Pilots of Borealis,” energy acquisition of the future, and quite a bit about the current controversy concerning “The Sad Puppies” and the dust-up at the Hugo Awards. For obvious reasons, I think you’d find it interesting–especially since I gave your side of the argument quite a bit of support. Please let me know where I muddled things? Thanks!

    Click on my website, http://www.earthquakepredictors.com , scroll down the home page to “Media Links” and click the MP3 next to “It’s Your Turn.” Cheers! David Nabhan

  35. Opps…my apologies for this second piece of clutter on your page. We all need editors, don’t we?–myself at the top of the list. It’s probably redundant to list my email here, but since I asked you “where I may have muddled things” above, and even though my email is at my web site, it couldn’t hurt to give you a place to send your comments: davidwrites100@aol.com

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