John Brizzolara

John Brizzolara
Born in Chicago on December 11, 1950, Brizzolara was a writer since childhood. At age 29, he sold his first two short stories to Weird Tales. His writing appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, Whispers, Weirdbook, and Twilight Zone Magazine. His short fiction has been translated to German, Russian, and Japanese.

In 1987 he published his first novel, Wirecutter, followed by the science-fiction novel Empire's Horizon in 1989. Thunder Moon, a sequel to Wirecutter, soon followed. In 1997 he won the National Conference Media Award for Journalism for a San Diego Magazine story on hate crimes. He reviewed numerous books for the Union-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. He also wrote for the Chicago Reader, Pages, and San Diego Home Garden & Lifestyle. Brizzolara wrote for the Reader from 1989 to 2013, including a weekly column, TGIF.

John died in his sleep at Father Joe’s Villages on October 11, 2016. He was 65. Brizzolara wrote about his struggles with alcoholism and other ailments to which he succumbed.

Samples of his notable essays can be found in our From the Archives series. Other notable stories include:

Sadness and Strange Endings (Judith Moore interviews Brizzolara)

Set a Needle on My Heart and Play Those Songs of Love and Pain (author's record collection)

Flesh of My Flesh (unending romance of fatherhood)

My Belly (author's aging body)

Articles by John Brizzolara

Best Reader stories from 1995

Prince of Peace Abbey, Perry Mason, Crawdaddy's daddy, Pat Welsh, Asian gangs, Eckankar, SEALS spy for Koch, Kate Sessions, Carlsbad flower fields

I've got Perry Mason on board! In early 1960, the man who created Perry Mason was introduced to an Imperial Beach resident named Francisco Muñoz. Erle Stanley Gardner had many friends, and he particularly liked ...

Poway – city in the country

Danielle Van Dam, Ninth Street, Steve Vaus, Poway Unified, district elections, the rodeo, Twin Peaks

I Crawled Inside Brenda van Dam's Head and Tried to Guess What Went on in There Dad’s is probably the most famous barroom in America, at least this week, and what goes on here is ...

Best Reader stories from 1993

Mike Doyle, Tarawa, El Centro, Dahmer's Diner, Baja boom towns, Chinese refugees, Dale Akiki, San Diego tomatoes, Balboa Park violence, Mexican fighting bulls, Mother Teresa's TJ, Zeta

In time for the morning glass For a few years back in the '60s, Mike Doyle was the hottest surfer in the world. With an unusual combination of power on big waves and stylistic grace ...

Best Reader stories from 1992

Underground papers, Clinton McKinnon, Michael Reagan, Windansea, I spied on Tom Metzger, Frontier housing, AIDS up close, La Mesa prison, Walter Keane, Michael Reagan, C.A. Smith, Bataan Death March

Notes from Underground San Diego's Free Press (later renamed the Street Journal) was defunct by the end of 1970; the San Diego Door came and went with the Nixon Presidency, 1968 to August 1974.The O.B. ...

Best Reader stories from 1991

Bicycle deaths, Madame Schumann-Heink, Marshall South, Karen Wilkening, paving of I-15, Helen and David Copley, Luis Urrea's Tijuana

Satan chasers San Diego has many experts in the field of Satanism who say the county is a hotbed of Satanic activity. The hidden canyons of the back country, Ramona, Santee, Escondido, even Oceanside, are ...

Best Reader Christmas stories

The Vietnamese refugee, the serious Jew, the homeless, the disaffected, Charles Dickens, other Christmas books, the poor in Tijuana, Horton Plaza shoppers, Christmas letter writing

Sister Santa’s once-a-year smile I fell in love with America for the first time on a sweaty night in a Bangkok refugee center in March 1991. “In America people have meat with every meal,” my ...

Best Reader stories from 1990

Hale telescope, hunting Chinese pandas for Roosevelts, Richard Henry Dana, MCRD, famous San Diegans recite poetry, TJ torture, Jorge Hank, running drugs for Uncle Sam, Lamb's Players, Brute Krulak

The Hale blinks Twilight has ebbed to a fringe of lapis on the western horizon, and the stars spin slowly as the dome of the 200-inch Hale telescope on Palomar Mountain blinks awake. Bob Thicksten, ...

More than one point of view on Thanksgiving

Reader writers weigh in

The ideal hipster Thanksgiving As I’ve pointed out before, no holiday lacks the potential for a hipster makeover. Thanksgiving is no exception. Not only is it nestled comfortably between epic Halloween costumes and ugly-Christmas-sweater parties, ...

Street neighbor: at God's Extended Hand

Doing better here than in Illinois

A man leaning against the façade of God’s Extended Hand at 1625 Island Ave. — a religious soup kitchen — will talk to me. He will not reveal his name but a mutual familiarity with ...