Biography

 
Though born in Chicago, Lawrence M. Schoen grew up in the endless sunshine of southern California. From age five until his eighteenth birthday, he worked every weekend with his father at various swap meets, selling everything from black Santa Claus dolls to melon ballers to women’s underwear. This provided him the opportunity to watch the full range of humanity pass by (and sell the occasional melon baller), and probably marks the start of his interest in human behavior. His writing career also began at those swap meets, and when business was slow, as it often was, he filled spiral notebooks with endless tales for his own amusement.

Eventually he left the swap meet behind and went off to college where the fascination with people won out and he put fiction aside. He first studied psychology, then linguistics, and then psycholinguistics, before ending up doing graduate work in Kansas on the nature of semantic representation and human memory. Many conference presentations and a few journal publications later, and with doctoral degree in hand, he moved on to the teaching and research side of academia, working at colleges and universities in Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania.

In 1992, Lawrence’s interests in science fiction and language found common ground and he established the Klingon Language Institute, an organization dedicated to the study of the world’s most popular fictional language. This included an ongoing career of lectures at conventions and museums across three continents, and the development of a loose affiliation of language scholars and amateurs throughout fifty countries.

After ten years as a professor of psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology, Lawrence left academia. He spent the next seventeen years in the private sector as a Research Director for a series of mental health and substance abuse recovery facilities providing treatment for the poor and indigent in Philadelphia.

He also found time to return to his first love, crafting fiction. His stories have appeared in variety of print and electronic magazines and anthologies, in English, Chinese, Dutch, Finnish, German, Greek, Hebrew, Portuguese, Spanish, and of course Klingon.

Not content merely to write, in November of 2006 he created his own speculative fiction small press, Paper Golem, charged with the mission to “pay it forward” by showcasing up-and-coming new writers, and to create a home for the oft-neglected novella-length works of fiction through a series of anthologies he named Alembical.

In 2007, he was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. He received a Hugo Award nomination for Best Short Story in 2010 and Nebula Award nominations for Best Novella in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2018, and Best Novel in 2016, and Best Novelette in 2019. Most notable of his fiction are the short stories and books about a space-faring stage hypnotist, the Amazing Conroy, and his alien animal traveling companion, a buffalito named Reggie who can eat anything and converts all he eats into oxygen flatulence. In 2013, Lawrence took a page from his fictional creation and became certified as a hypnotherapist, focusing his efforts on using trance as a tool to assist other writers.

In 2015, he stretched his writing skills and produced the first book in the critically acclaimed Barsk series, literary science fantasy that explored prophecy, intolerance, political betrayal, speaking to the dead, predestination, and free will.

Lawrence and his wife, Valerie, live just outside Philadelphia in scenic Blue Bell, PA, along with their dog and rooms dedicated to books.

He is represented by John Silbersack of the Bent Agency