JERZY PLATES (The Big Cool Long Hard Hand) was born near Leipzig in 1944, the son of a Lutheran clergyman. He attended the famous Pforta School, went to university at Bonn and at only twenty-four was appointed to the chair of Classical Philology at Basel University. He is currently at work on the tender story of a young girl's coming of age in rural Winnepeg for Miramax Films. RIFF DIXON (Dark Pocket) Dixon's pen became his axe when he realized the limited opportunities open to a bop-inflected swing tenor saxophonist. He writes it the way he'd play it. He earned his nickname imagining himself in the late 50's Ellington reed section. He still thinks for pleasure. Whatever his actual activities, his main influence is Paul Gonsalves. JOHN CHEESE (Elmer) A rational biped, was born on a stepladder in Slip, Montana. After many years as an itinerant handyman and amateur inventor (the runcible scissors, jigger-chaser and electric fork are all his original patents) he began to travel. Decades later, a sadder but wiser man, he encountered the notorious Mu factor in a shantytown, near Porkey's Bar on the planet Mars. Immediately he commenced composition of his CHRONICLE OF THE MADNESS OF SMALL WORLDS, of which ELMER is a part. MITZI GAYNOR (You Always Get What You Want) is not the real name of the writer. Rather it is the name of the person the writer most admires. Mitzi Gaynor stands for peppiness and love. So does the writer. On most days, in fact, the writer can be found working the street near the All American Hamburger on Sunset Boulevard in L.A. When she is not on the street, she is in the All American writing to Mitzi, of Mitzi, or in Mitzi's name. PAOLO DIHN (Behind Enemy Lines) fervently believes the connection between writer and reader is an ethereal one that is only harmed by the intrusion of egotistic details of "personality and profile". For this reason he prefers to remain merely a name. Hiding from the limelight comes naturally to him since the tender age of seven when that horrific train accident left him at the mercy of the townschildren who proclaimed him "King of the Toadstool Faces" and pelted him with pennies kneaded into cow's dung, even up to his own door, which his mother, that vitriolic bastion of lower middle class morality, would not open as a lesson in civics. JACK HAMMER (Festering Backwater) Born in a shallow depression outside Mussel Shoals, Alabama, Jack Hammer was early deprived and soon depraved. A member of the puffin family, his legs are set far back on his body, making him clumsy on land, where he seldom goes except to nest. Previously Hammer was, among less congenial incarnations, khedive of Egypt (1879-92, acceded to office when the Pasha was deposed); and King of Poland (1697-1733). He commanded the Imperial Army against the Turks (1693) but was soundly drubbed. Also breeds oysters. BECCA POGSON-JONES (Mr. Moses Venus Has a Restless Night/From the Same Whirlpool) A legend in the American and British Rock Scenes of the 70's, Ms. Pogson-Jones has been living and writing her novel since the early 80's in virtual retirement on the White Mountain Apache reservation near Tucson in the American Southwest. JOE DON WILLIAMS (Bug City) Joe Don's father, a high schoolteacher, once demanded he throw half of his comic books away. Joe Don carefully separated them into two piles, the good and the bad. When he came home from school the next day, Joe Don's father told him he had already thrown his comics in the trash, saving him the trouble. "Which pile?" Joe Don asked. His father had thrown away what would be today several thousand dollars worth of the greatest comics ever printed -- Weird Science , the first Mad , the original Vault of Horror , etc., -- and left Joe Don with his worthless copies of Archie Annual and Little Lulu . In retaliation, Joe Don became a would-be science-fiction writer; or, in something like the words of Kurt Vonnegut, a kid who spent too much time building plastic model airplanes and beating off. CECIL COURT COPELAND (Metronome Ticking) is not British. He was born in an American town on an American hill. Though his house was level, his view of life seems to be forever on a slant. He has learned to live with it, which is not the case with some of his characters. But they're working on it. Cecil, as a young child,was obsessed with Elvis Presley. The obsession to be like Elvis was so strong that Ce-cil was given the nickname Cil-vis. Cilvis. He is sometimes still referred to by that name. FRANCESCA PIATEK (Possessed By A Demon) grew up in an orgone energy accumulator at the edge of the known world. Soon she moved to Iowa City, Iowa, and then on to the small country of Bhutan where she was reunited with her mother, a Dharma Dancer in the hills of Thimphu. Following a small misunderstanding with government officials over a '66 Ford Mustang, Ms. Piatek was granted an exit visa if she promised never to return. After graduating in medicine from the University of Frankfurt am Main she bartended in Prague for several years, where she completed her much discussed but poorly understood treatise, "On Bio-Psychiatric Theory and the Impossibility of Phenomenological Cul-de-sac". She presently works in a fish cannery in Oregon.