Bill DeSmedt

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Bill DeSmedt
Occupation Knowledge Engineer, Novelist
Genre Action/Thriller/Science fiction

William H. DeSmedt is an American author of science fiction. His debut novel, Singularity (2004), explores the 1908 Tunguska event and the speculative hypothesis that it was caused by a submicroscopic, primordial black hole. Although Singularity is a work of science fiction, in the tradition of Michael Crichton its premise is anchored in realworld science.

In penning Singularity, Bill also drew on a deep knowledge of the Russian language, politics and culture, first acquired during eighteen months at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, and added to while a US–USSR exchange student at Moscow State University. He also holds a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Soviet Area Studies, and a Master of Science (M.S.) in Computer Science.

Bill has worked in the capacity of programmer, system designer, and consultant to both startups and Fortune 50 companies, specializing in natural language processing, artificial intelligence, and knowledge engineering.[1]


Year Cover Title Notes
2004 Singularity 512 pages; Hardcover, Per Aspera Press (ISBN 0-9745734-4-2)
2005 Singularity Podcast version read by author,
2010 Dualism Sequel to Singularity


  • Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards: Winner – Gold Medal for Science Fiction, 2005 (Singularity)
  • Independent Publishers Association: Winner – Ippy prize for Best Fantasy/Science Fiction novel, 2004 (Singularity)
  • Publishers Marketing Association: Finalist – Ben Franklin “Best New Voice” Award, 2005 (Singularity)

Literary influences[edit]

As regards his writing style, Bill cites two authors, Larry Niven and Roger Zelazny as key influences:

To me, they stake out the opposing poles of the science fiction I grew up with: Larry, with the extremely hard science fiction focus and an extraordinary economy of prose - it never ceases to amaze me how tersely he can craft a sentence and still have it really sing. And Roger, just the opposite - discursive, with elements of the fantastic, yet he can instantly bring you down to earth with just a turn of phrase that grounds the whole thing.

— Bill DeSmedt, speaking of his literary influences on "" [2]

Other literary influences include Jorge Luis Borges and, especially, Vernor Vinge.

… I am a huge fan of Vernor Vinge’s work, he of any of us has as clear a view of the future, and also - and I guess this is something science fiction is supposed to do - has an ability to present the present through the mirror of the future. For example, if you go back and read his 1992 novel A Fire upon the Deep, you’ll get a sense projected onto a universal scale of what the Internet culture and economy was going to become, five or seven years before it happened.

— Bill DeSmedt, speaking of his favorite authors on "" [2]

Scientific concepts[edit]

In his debut novel, Singularity (2004), Bill deploys a lifelong layman's fascination with quantum physics and cosmology in the service of bringing believability to the long-disparaged hypothesis that the devastation of the Tunguska basin in 1908 was caused by a submicroscopic, primordial black hole. Kip Thorne, physicist and best-selling author of Black Holes and Time Warps: Einstein's Outrageous Legacy, has said of the resulting work that "Bill got the vast majority of the physics right -- which is highly unusual, especially in a book that is such a good read."


The Jackson–Ryan Hypothesis[edit]

In November 2004, Bill DeSmedt spoke at a meeting of the Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society in Houston, TX, along with Drs. Albert A. Jackson IV and Michael P. Ryan Jr. who first put forward the Tunguska-black hole hypothesis in 1973. The lecture centered around the "Jackson – Ryan hypothesis" on which Singularity is based.

At this lecture, Bill had the unique opportunity to defend the Jackson-Ryan hypothesis—against its own creators. In Bill’s words, Al Jackson and Mike Ryan had over the years “come around to the conviction that it was probably a meteor or a comet”.[2]


  1. ^ "A Conversation With Bill DeSmedt by Claire E. White"; see the complete interview at
  2. ^ a b c " Interview: Bill DeSmedt (Author, Singularity) by Carlos Aranaga" Archived October 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.; see the complete interview at Archived 2006-10-19 at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]