A native of Chicago, Resnick attended the University of Chicago from 1959 to 1961 where he met his future wife, Carol. The couple were married 1961. In the 1960s and early 1970s, Resnick wrote more than 200 "adult" novels under pseudonyms, edited seven tabloid newspapers, and edited a trio of men's magazines. He also produced a weekly column on horse racing for more than a decade, and for eleven years wrote a monthly column on purebred collies, which he and his wife bred and exhibited. His wife Carol is also a writer, as is his daughter, Laura Resnick, who is an award-winning science fiction and fantasy author. Resnick's papers, consisting of at least 125 boxes, are in the Special Collections Library of the University of South Florida in Tampa. He will be the Guest of Honor at Chicon 7, the 2012 Worldcon to be held in Chicago.
Two notable trends run through the majority of Resnick's science fiction work. The first is his love of fable and legend. Many of his stories chronicle larger-than-life characters with colorful names like "The Widowmaker", "Lucifer Jones", "The Forever Kid", and "Catastrophe Baker" and the legendary adventures they pursue. Resnick is also interested in the formation of history and legend, and sometimes includes bards as characters. The book The Outpost deals most with these themes, as it includes a story told from multiple perspectives and a bard who openly intends to exaggerate and edit his accounts to make them more interesting. Resnick's books in this vein bear some resemblance to Westerns, but are clearly science fiction.The other main subject of Resnick's work is Africa - African history, African culture, colonialism and its aftermath, and traditionalism. He has visited Africa often, and draws on this experience. Some of his science fiction stories are allegories of African history and politics. Other stories are actually set in Africa or have African characters.
Resnick's style is known for the inclusion of humor; he has probably sold more humorous stories than any science fiction author except Robert Sheckley, and even his most grim and serious stories have frequent unexpected bursts of humor in them.Resnick enjoys collaborating, especially on short stories. Through 2009 he has collaborated with 41 different writers on short fiction, one on screenplays, and three on novels.He is also a long-time participant in science fiction fandom. Resnick has been the Guest of Honor at some 38 science fiction conventions, and Toastmaster at a dozen others.Since 1988 Resnick has edited over 40 anthologies. He has also sold screenplays based on his novels to Miramax and Capella, and often has multiple properties under option to Hollywood studios.
His work has been translated into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Hebrew, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Czech, Dutch, Swedish, Romanian, Finnish, Castilian, Portugene, Slovakian, Chinese, Catalan, Danish, and Croatian.
Resnick has 5 Hugo Awards and has won numerous other awards from places as diverse as France, Japan, Spain, Croatia and Poland. As of 2009, he is first on the Locus list of all-time award winners, living or dead, for short fiction, and 4th on the Locus list of science fiction's all-time top award winners in all fiction categories.
His 1995 Hugo Award-winning novella "Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge" also scooped the S.F. Chronicle Poll Award for the same, the corresponding 1994 Nebula Award for Best Novella and the 1995 HOMer Award for Best Novella. Between 1991 and 2001, he won a further nine HOMer Awards (bringing his total to 10, from a staggering 24 nominations), placing him at the head of HOMer Award winners, ahead of Robert J. Sawyer on nine wins and just 12 nominations.
His 1998 and 2005 Hugo Award-winning stories - "The 43 Antarean Dynasties" and "Travels with My Cats" also garnered him Asimov's Readers Poll Awards, of which he has won a total of five (from 20 nominations), placing him joint-second with poet Bruce Boston behind artist Bob Eggleton. He has won a total of six (including that mentioned above) S.F. Chronicle Poll Awards, one Locus Award (from 30 nominations, winning in 1996 with "When the Old Gods Die"), a Golden Pagoda Award, two American Dog Writers Awards and an Alexander Award. His 34 Hugo nominations through 2010 are the all-time record for a writer.
In 1995, he was awarded the Skylark (or "Edward E. Smith Memorial Award for Imaginative Fiction") for Lifetime Achievement in Science Fiction.
"Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge" has also won awards in Spain (Ignotus Award), France (Prix Ozone Award) and Croatia (Futura Poll), contributing to a total of three Ignotus Awards and two Prix Ozone Awards. He was awarded the Spanish El Melocoton Mecanico Award for "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and the Xatafi-Cyberdark Award for "For I Have Touched the Sky", in addition to a Tour Eiffel Award in France for The Dark Lady.
In Japan, he won the Seuin-sho Award for Kirinyaga: A Fable of Utopia, and the Hayakawa Award for "For I Have Touched the Sky". In Poland, "Kirinyaga" won the Nowa Fantastyka Poll Award, while "For I Have Touched the Sky" won the Sfinks Award. (Resnick won another Sfinks Award for "When the Old Gods Die".)
Complete List of Hugo Nominations
Resnick has been nominated for 34 Hugo Awards -- a record for writers -- and won five times. Except for 1999 and 2003, he has received at least one nomination every year to date since 1989. A complete list of his nominations (and wins) is:
1989 - "Kirinyaga" (winner)
1990 - "For I Have Touched the Sky"
1991 - "The Manamouki" (winner) & "Bully!"
1992 - "Winter Solstice" & "One Perfect Morning, With Jackals"
1993 - "The Lotus and the Spear"
1994 - "Mwalimu in the Squared Circle" & Best Editor
1995 - "Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge" (winner) & "Barnaby in Exile" & "A Little Knowledge" & Best Editor
1996 - "When the Old Gods Die" & "Bibi" (with Susan Shwartz)
1997 - "The Land of Nod"
1998 - "The 43 Antarean Dynasties" (winner)
2000 - "Hothouse Flowers" & "Hunting the Snark"
2001 - "The Elephants on Neptune" & "Redchapel" & Putting It Together
2002 - "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" & I Have This Nifty Idea...
2004 - "Robots Don't Cry"
2005 - "Travels with My Cats" (winner) & "A Princess of Earth"
2006 - "Down Memory Lane"
2007 - "All the Things You Are" & Worldcon Guest of Honor Speeches
2008 - "Distant Replay"
2009 - "Alastair Baffle's Emporium of Wonders" & "Article of Faith"