Full Biography

Randall Stewart Perry was born in Michigan in and brought up mostly by his grandparents who fostered in him a love of books, the natural world and travel. However in 1966 more of his time was being spent on cars, sport and moonlighting in the General Motors factory than on school. Finding out he was about to be drafted he decided to enlist and on the advice of a recruiting officer, he attended basic training at Fort Knox, then infantry training at Fort Gordon. He was accepted by Special Forces and was scheduled to transfer to Fort Bragg after attending jump school. While waiting, he acted as the clerk for the Special Forces recruiter and joined their group sky diving in South Carolina on weekends. During this time he was asked to an interview where he was recruited to Officers’ Candidate School. His first question was whether he could then go to special forces as an officer and was told that he could not. Officers in special forces then did not come from inexperienced lieutenants. After much thought, he accepted the invitation to OCS and went back to Fort Knox for armor training. After this he was assigned to Fort Huachuca, first as a radio, cryptographer executive officer and then in charge of the Huachuca Youth Association. After 10 months he received orders to report to Oakland and then to South Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division at Cu Chi. At the end of his tour, like most surviving First Lieutenants, he was offered a promotion to Captain if he wanted to continue in Vietnam. By then he wanted to see what the “world” still looked like and left the army in 1969, taking with him lessons learned about self-discipline, self-reliance,  a respect for efficiency, lateral thinking and also an appreciation gained for those both with and without guns. One of his more fun assignments at Fort Huachuca had been to manage the Fort Huachuca Youth Association, including booking entertainment groups in clubs. On his return from active service he moved to the West coast, setting up as a music promoter. He later moved to Seattle buying and selling commercial real estate and businesses, mostly clubs, on the side. He soon realized that the smoke-filled, nocturnal life of clubs and gigs was not for him but he had discovered that the only way to freedom was a better education.  He went back to school at the University of Washington in the Earth Sciences department and also worked in his mentor’s remote sensing lab.  But the way to financial freedom seemed to be not at the university but as his own boss so he decided to pursue his interest in Art and painting . He developed a chain of art galleries and picture framing stores in and around Seattle and Portland. The stores were successful but although it was exciting and interesting, Randall was already moving on to his next project. In search of seclusion and retreat and with the idea for a novel, he bought a remote ranch near the Pasayten Wilderness in North Washington, close to the Canadian Border. Here, in another change of career, he began a llama breeding business and spent several winter weeks in an old pioneer’s log cabin working on what would become Over The Edge. He says the seclusion and serenity of the snow filled canyon was bliss except for the trips to an old outhouse in the sub-freezing temperatures! He then designed and built his own house and barns, bucked hay, built fences and acted as vet to his increasing variety of animals including horses, cows, llamas and camels. When ranch work allowed he went skiing and hiking in the mountains and then gained his pilot certification in fixed wing, single and twin planes and rotary craft-helicopters. He became well-known as an early llama breeder and wrote articles for Llama Magazine but a chance meeting with one of his graduate mentors, John Adams, now a retired geology professor and living unbeknown to either of them only a few miles away in the Methow Valley, Washington State, set him on another path. A few months later,Randall was back at the University of Washington in the PhD program in the fall of 2000 with his other Masters advisor, James Staley, professor of Microbiology and now head of the Astrobiology Program. Randall was struck by how much science had changed particularly in microbiology. Microscopes had been replaced with molecular biology labs looking at the genetics rather than the physical characteristics of bacteria. Other subjects had not changed as much but the amount of information he had forgotten and needed to relearn was a daunting task. He was described by another of his Professors as “the most inquisitive person I have ever met” and this curiosity led him to want to find out about ‘life’, the universe and everything. In 2004 he received a PhD in Earth Sciences along with a NASA certification in Astrobiology. The variety and possibilities of Science had hooked him and since then he has been attached as a Research Scientist to the Planetary Science Institute, Tucson USA and as a US National Science Fellow at Oxford University and then for three years as a Royal Society Fellow at Imperial College, London in England. He is currently still on academic staff at Imperial College London as a Senior Research Investigator. He has written many papers on topics ranging from The Definition of Life to the possibility of life on Mars, the survival of microbes in extreme environments and the formation of rock coatings. Always interested in the whole picture, some of the favored subjects in his talks or articles are the connections between Science and Technology and Language, Art, Philosophy or Business. Education and learning became an important area of interest and he supports constructivist teaching and math education. Determined to enthuse talented youngster and give them a step up, he began a charity for school students, the UK Space Design Competition. He credits the success of the competition firstly to the students who are motivated to add to their knowledge, (many volunteers and alumni have chosen to stay and help with the competition long after graduation) and second to the willing volunteers who spend so much of their time to make it a success. A charity the Space Science Engineering Foundation However, Randall is definitely not the stereotypical sedentary academic. He has dived to the bottom of the ocean in the US Navy-owned deep submergence Vehicle Alvin, climbed in Nepal, the Andes and to the top of Mount Rainier, sailed across the Atlantic and traveled in many hot and cold deserts and jungles. He is  musician, and painter. As well as pilot’s certifications he is Scuba and Sky Diving certified and is a member of Writers Guild of America West in Los Angeles and on IMDb. Many of these topics find their way into R S Perry’s Jim Johnson novels and his experience gives them realism and accuracy. In 2012, going back to the idea he had in the log cabin, he completed and updated Off The Edge. The novel met with such a positive reaction from its initial readers that Randall decided to self-publish and there is also now a film script in development. Over The Line soon followed and R S Perry is currently finishing the third in the Jim Johnson series, Out Of Time. Currently he is involved with two film companies in Vancouver, British Columbia. Athene Films Inc. produces video advertising, television and documentaries. First Light Media Inc. produces feature length films.