Steve Ahlquist is a native of witch haunted Providence in the state of Rhode Island. He learned to read before he was five years old and started writing stories before he was six. Possessing a sharp and inquisitive mind he began to recognize clues and subtle connections within and between the stories that he read as a child – clues pointing to a larger world than the adults around him seemed to acknowledge, connections between stories that reflected a deeper history than told in any individual tale. The more he read the more he became convinced that there were secrets in the world that the general population didn’t even realize were being hidden from them.
Peeling back the layers of consensus reality has never been very profitable so Ahlquist has been a comic book dealer, a video store proprietor, an author, a filmmaker and a bookseller. Each of these pursuits allowed him to gather more data about the so-called fictional worlds that are presented to us in our entertainments. In the pre-internet days he haunted the libraries of New England and corresponded by mail with conspiracy theorists, mythographers and self proclaimed visionaries around the world.
In 1987, while shopping at The Old Sleuth’s Dime Novel Trading Post, Ahlquist’s world changed forever. Gale Force caught up to the Clockeater as it attempted to consume all the nostalgia on the Atlantic Coast. Their battle destroyed the shop. Gale Force defeated the Clockeater but, out of the five people at Old Sleuth’s that day, Ahlquist was the only survivor. The battle was not reported by any news outlet. He quickly found that he was also the only person who remembered that the shop had ever existed.
Having discovered that at least some fictional characters had real lives Ahlquist suddenly found himself at peace. At least part of the world now made sense. He found he could walk on the streets that mapmakers invent to ensure their copyrights. He discovered news stories that hadn’t been there the first time he’d read the paper. He was smart enough not to tell anyone else about the changes in his perception.
Unfortunately being able to perceive a world that doesn’t line up with consensus reality was no more profitable in the late 1980s than it is today. Ahlquist seemed to carry on as though nothing had changed. Now, however, he could make the connections that had alluded him previously. He contacted the Oz Embassy in Washington DC. He made friends with the regular staff. He subscribed to the Daily Ozmopolitan, The Poppy Gazette, The Corn’s Ear and other Ozite newspapers. And, in 1991, when the opportunity to record new histories of Oz became available to him, he leapt at the chance.
He is married and has three grown children.