Leo Frankowski : biography
Leo Frankowski (February 13, 1943 – December 25, 2008) was an American writer of science fiction novels.
Frankowski was born in Detroit, Michigan to parents of Polish descent. Prior to his writing career, he was a successful engineer. He owned and operated Sterling Manufacturing and Design, located in Utica, Michigan, which (among other things) designed pneumatic and hydraulic systems for Chrysler. Leo held multiple patents, including his most popular item, Formital, a stamped aluminum product for use as a base for plastic auto body filler. Formital was carried exclusively for many years by the Pep Boys chain of auto parts stores.
Frankowski lived in Russia for four years with his wife and adopted teenage daughter, but at the time of his death, he had separated from them and had moved back to the United States. He died in Lake Elsinore, California. LeoFrankowski.com, December 26, 2008.
According to the author, most of his fans consist of "males with military and technical backgrounds," while he likewise claimed his detractors consist of "feminists, liberals, and homosexuals." Frankowski admitted that anyone who self-identifies with the latter categories would be unlikely to enjoy his fiction.
In the preface to the 1990 Lord Conrad’s Lady, Frankowski included a facetious remark: "Any overt sexism and male chauvinism noticed in this work is totally the fault of Bill Gillmore, and all complaints should be addressed to him at the Dawn Treader Bookshop of Ann Arbor, Mich."
Though he had tinkered with short science fiction for several years, Leo’s writing career began in earnest in the early 1980s when he was invited to join what became the National Science Fiction Writer’s Exchange, a now-defunct Detroit-area group founded by Guy Snyder, and whose membership included Lloyd Biggle, Ted Reynolds and future published author Ann Tonsor Zeddies. Members read manuscripts aloud, which were then critiqued; from the beginning, Leo’s stories related to time travel were well received by the membership. Most of these meetings were audio-taped, and those tapes were retained by Snyder.
Encouraged by the positive responses, Leo quickly wrote his first novel, initially titled The Polish Engineer. The book landed at Del Rey Books, and the publisher offered him a multi-book contract. Retitled The Cross Time Engineer, it became the first book in his Conrad Stargard series, in which his Polish background is particularly evident.
Two other series were written partially in collaboration with Dave Grossman; alone, he also wrote the stand-alone novels Fata Morgana and Copernick’s Rebellion.
Frankowski’s most recent work again featured Conrad Stargard. He wrote Lord Conrad’s Crusade in collaboration with Rodger Olsen, which his then-publisher Baen rejected ‘for "bad writing" (an explanation Frankowski doubted). Baen also terminated its contracts for other upcoming titles. Frankowski published the novel himself,http://leofrankowski.com/content/?q=2005–a_rough_year and promised another Stargard book which would conclude the series. His death apparently precluded completion of this volume.