|Following his graduation from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971, Dan Simmons moved to Colorado and taught elementary school for many years, while trying and failing to get his fiction published. In 1981 he attended a course for beginning writers taught by the writer and critic Harlan Ellison. At Ellison's urging, Simmons submitted a story to an unpublished writers competition. The story, "The River Styx Runs Upstream", won the contest and, on the same day it was published in Twilight Zone magazine--February 15, 1982--his first child was born. In 1985, his debut novel, SONG OF KALI, a grim horror novel set in the backstreets of Calcutta, won the prestigious World Fantasy Award. Since then, Simmons has racked up an impressive collection of other awards, including the Hugo Award, Locus Reader's Poll Awards, the British Fantasy & Science Fiction Award, and four Bram Stoker Awards. His masterpiece, THE HYPERION CANTOS, a massive work inspired by the works of John Keats and structurally based on Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES, is credited in many quarters with single-handedly rescuing the sf sub-genre of "space opera" from the disrepute into which it had fallen. THE HYPERION CANTOS is a classic work of science fiction that many fans speak of in favorable comparison to works like Frank Herbert's DUNE series, and, along with its sequel ENDYMION, it is one of the most important works of science fiction written since 1970. Splitting his writing between epic science fiction and spectacularly dense, complex horror novels, Simmons is a genre-straddling author who will undoubtedly remain a powerful force in both fields, even when his work comes to be accepted outside of the constraints of genre fiction.