It all comes down to choices
In his eighth grade high school English class, Andrew had a choice: Obey the teacher and read the less-than-compelling assigned story in his regulation textbook, or turn to the back of the book and read “The Gift,” a beautifully wrought tale by Ray Bradbury. He chose Ray.
Much like the essay by Harlan Ellison, “How Science Fiction Saved Me From A Life of Crime,” Andrew was saved from a life of boredom by choosing to submerse himself in the worlds of Bradbury, Clarke, and Asimov in his school years.
His official reviewing began while working on his high school sophomore journalism project, a newspaper called SCIENTIFICTION (in homage to Hugo Gernsback, founder of AMAZING STORIES Magazine). SCIENTIFICTION was published the week of Jan. 3, 1977, where Andrew chose to dip his pen into the SF inkwell and write his first essays, such as “Magazines for the Future” or the “Science in Science Fiction.”
OGRE Magazine, his first fanzine (and the seed of True Review), was published at Temple University in spring 1979. OGRE 1 featured his first editorial, “Feeling NOT At Home Opposite NGC 224, and Wondering Why I’m Not Over There In the First Place, Or How to Read and Write a Fanzine.”
OGRE continued to publish into the mid-1980s, when a choice had to be made -- continue the all-purpose SF and Fantasy magazine or pursue his real love: simply writing reviews.
After a decade of contributing reviews to a variety of other review journals, including the Dick Geis-edited SCIENCE FICTION REVIEW, FANTASY REVIEW, ANTITHESIS (as review editor of ANTITHESIS Magazine, Andrew published the reviews of now-famous author Kevin Anderson), 1985, and other magazines, he decided to create his own review newsletter. The result, TRUE REVIEW, debuted in April 1989 (printed and distributed in December 1988).
Today, after 35 years in the publishing industry, when he isn’t working on the next issue of True Review, Andrew consults with startup publications and occasionally hits the street as a freelance writer/photographer.
Andrew received a bachelor’s degree in magazine journalism from Temple University School of Communications and Theater in 1982. His formal training came from the street. His domestic training comes from his wife Debra, who continues to challenge his choice to beam himself into the SF universe and read endlessly while avoiding earthly chores such as vacuuming. Alas, he continues to choose books!
The word is IMPROVEMENT!
Born in the shadow of the Big Apple, Debra, a former New Jersey girl with maternal ties to the earliest beginnings of Chocolatetown USA, steadfastly lives by the credo that “everything can be improved!” Reading to improve the mind (and for fun!) has always been a passion, beginning at the age of 8 when she read the daily newspaper, the back of the cereal box, and even the wrapper on the toilet tissue! Lightening struck in 2007 when she met her soul mate Andrew and they found they shared a love of books. Debra happily engrosses herself in several genres, with a particular love of biographies, history, personal improvement, Christian fiction, and children’s books.
Her career by choice has been a mix of traditional and creative companies and projects. After several years as a customer service manager for a regional bank, Debra embarked on a broadcasting career as traffic manager for WHIT and WRKZ radio in Harrisburg, Pa. In 1989, she joined Hetrick Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Services in Middletown, Pa., in 1989, overseeing the operations of three corporations, including the early phase of marketing and development for the HydroWorx pool, now used by sports teams around the world.
In 1991, Debra joined Emerson and Egervary Advertising Agency, where she streamlined the company’s internal operations and managed client projects. In 1995, she became marketing and promotions director at Dame Media in Harrisburg, Pa, supporting WRVV 97.3 FM (The River) and WHP580 AM. From 1997-2004, Debra streamlined internal practices and supported communications at the renowned Milton Hershey School for disadvantaged children, built by the chocolate entrepreneur and his wife Catherine. Finally, her love of food and presentation led Debra to manage a Central Pennsylvania Homewood Suites Hotel “Welcome Home” hospitality program. Following in the footsteps of her entrepreneurial father, she started her own company in 2006 where she critiques events, promotions, and customer service practices, offering new and improved branding, programming and outreach ideas.
Passionate about improving the environment, Debra eats organic, cleans green, and supports holistic healing and alternative health practices. To help improve the world, she’s been a Big Sister, helped build homes with Habitat for Humanity, and served on the board of her local food bank. While her attempts to improve her husband (easily the hardest job she’s ever had) sometimes fall on deaf ears, Debra’s suggestions for new and improved promotional ideas for True Review did not. Stay tuned…the best improvements are yet to come!