EASLEY — After publishing more than 100 academic texts, local author John A. Parnell has branched into a new realm with the release of his first work of fiction: The Genesis of Quave.
Quave is the first in a planned series of three science fiction books by Parnell, centering around the theme of artificial intelligence and the moral choices surrounding it.
“It was a challenge. I just never had the ‘gumption,’ I guess you would call it, to go out and do it (write fiction),” Parnell said during an interview. “But I thought: ‘Well, I’m 70, so it’s now or never.’”
Parnell holds teaching certification in physics, chemistry, biology, general science, mathematics and business and distributed education. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in zoology from the University of Illinois before picking up an MBA.
Over the course of 40 years of teaching, Parnell has taught students from the sixth grade through graduate school.
“It was kind of funny, I was at Lehigh University to earn my doctorate but the classes I would have to take I was teaching,” he said and laughed. “At one point my Ph.D. ‘advisor’ was actually a student of mine.”
Now retired, Parnell is working on the second book in the Quave trilogy.
“I would say I’m about a third to a half done with it but it’s hard to tell. I just let it flow,” he said.
In addition to writing, Parnell also volunteers as an assistant teacher at the Adult Education classes held at the Easley library.
“I don’t do that as often as I used to because, physically, it’s just hard for me now. I’ve had two heart attacks and have MD (Muscular Dystrophy), so getting around can be tricky,” he said.
For Parnell, although Quave is science fiction, there’s always elements of truth to be found within the text.
“Science fiction has always been my favorite genre to read, but not fantasy,” he said. “I remember when I was young and reading about space ships and I thought, ‘you know, this is something I could really see in my lifetime.’ That’s the kind of stuff that interests me.”
For Parnell, whose first book ever published was the Computer Science Advanced Placement Guidebook in 1985, The Genesis of Quave has brought him full circle.
“(Writing) Academic texts has always come easy to me,” Parnell said. “I certainly have a new appreciation for the blood, sweat and tears that goes into (creating) a work of fiction. The challenge of it really has been something.”
The Genesis of Quave s available now in hard bound, e-book, paperback and large print editions from all major online book sellers.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.