Doris Piserchia was born in 1928, in Fairmont, West Virginia, where she grew up as part of a large family. She attended Fairmont State College and worked as a lifeguard while earning a teacher’s degree in Physical Education. Upon graduating in 1950, Piserchia realised that she didn’t want to become a teacher and so instead joined the Navy, where she served for four years. It was during her time studying for a Master’s degree in educational psychology at the University of Utah that she discovered science fiction and began to write, although her works were not published until 1966, beginning with the humorous short story ‘Rocket to Gehenna’ in Fantastic. Despite her military experience, age, and preference for older SF, she is often associated with the New Wave, with her works being described as ‘darkly comic’ by admirers.