An American writer of science fiction, he is best known for The Sand Pebbles, a novel that takes place on a gunboat on the Yangtze River. For his short story, "The Secret Place," he received a Nebula Award.
He served in the U.S. Navy for twenty-two years and fought in both World War II and the Korean War.
His novel, The Sand Pebbles, won the $10,000 Harper Prize in 1963.
He was born and raised in Idaho. He met his wife, Eva, while he was studying at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He and Gene Wolfe both received the prestigious Nebula Award.