As a child of the post-Sputnik boomer generation, and as someone captivated by the sixties “Race to the Moon,” I suppose I was destined to be a math and science dude. Since the moment I realized computers could solve math problems at the “speed of light,” I’ve been hooked.
My career passion for software engineering began during the seventies energy crisis when I was researching alternative energy technology at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. After Reagan pulled the plug on that project, I had a smashing good time devising improved designs and tuning strategies for the ion beam lines attached to the lab’s HILAC “atom smasher.” However, it wasn’t until I’d joined a startup company specializing in digital voice products that I discovered my true calling.
My writing is informed by a twenty-five-year Silicon Valley software engineering career that’s led to five patents in wireless voice technology. In the adaptation of voice and modem algorithms for communication devices, I became fascinated by the theoretical and physical foundations of speech. I was amazed to recognize the connection between the natural process that created spoken language and the design of cell phone technology—they had both found the solution predicted by a fundamental law of communications. The realization of this convergence is the inspiration for my fictional trilogy-in-progress, The Torch of Prometheus. The Whale Song Translation is the first installment of the trilogy.
The idea for the book’s “Speakeasy” speech-therapy system is based on a speech-modulated, shape-writing prototype I developed and demonstrated at the Fremont campus of the California School for the Deaf in 1985. My understanding that human speech evolved into a process of shape-writing and shape-matching generated the interspecies communication experiment at the core of the novel. To learn more about the underlying principles common to speech, language, and whale songs and, if my time permits, maybe even a demo of the shape-writing app featured in the book, visit www.HowardStevenPines.com.
Born in Los Angeles and a lifelong Californian, I have a love affair with the Pacific Ocean that is steeped in childhood summers playing in the waves. Entranced by Northern California’s coastline, beaches, and migrating whales, I currently shuttle between the scenic bay and coastal communities of El Cerrito and Mendocino. Maui is a favorite vacation getaway destination, and the inspirational setting of my debut novel and its forthcoming sequel.