The magazine for Western Washington University

Viking Union

Greg Cox ('82), Amy Hatvany ('94) and Harley Tat ('91)

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Greg Cox

“Back in the early ‘80s,” remembers Greg Cox (’82, Chemistry), “members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Club hung out for hours at a time, discussing such burning issues as how exactly the Starship Enterprise's transporters worked, the Flash's love life, and whether or not Darth Vader was really Luke's father. We also organized VikingCon, an annual convention that brought acclaimed SF writers to campus. Meeting legendary writers like Poul Anderson and Theodore Sturgeon in the flesh drove home the idea that real people actually do this for a living, so maybe I could, too.”

Cox's books include the official movie novelizations of “Man of Steel,” (Titan Books, 2013) and “The Dark Knight Rises” (Titan Books, 2012) and many books based on popular series such as “The Avengers,” “C.S.I.,” “Iron Man” and “Star Trek.”

Learn more about Cox at

Amy Hatvany

"Somewhere in the middle of my sophomore year," writes Amy Hatvany (’94, Sociology), "I moved off campus from Buchanan Towers to a tiny studio apartment on 21st street. I was 20 years old and alternately thrilled and terrified to be living on my own -- feelings largely dependent on how much Top Ramen I had left in my cupboard. Also? A little wary of how far I would have to walk to get to my 8 o’clock class in Miller Hall.

"Every day, as I trudged past the Fairhaven Stacks (where I had spent my freshman year) toward the main campus, my eyes first wandered to the sculptures along that path, and then, gradually, to the people around me. I took in their postures and their patterns of speech; what they wore and how they carried their backpacks slung over one shoulder instead of two. I noted the mannerisms of the girls in black leggings and tightly-laced Doc Martens, as well the boys whose baggy jeans hung low enough to show off the name brand of their plaid boxers. And as I did this, I made up stories about my fellow students -- what kind of families they had grown up in, what they liked to eat and what kinds of music they listened to. I imagined some of them were dating, and of course, what it might be like for me to date that one exceptionally cute boy with the dark hair and brooding expression who carried a copy of Jack Kerouac’s 'On the Road' tucked against his heart as though it were his Bible.

"I didn’t realize it then, but it was during those walks each day that I first began practicing being a writer. I watched people in Red Square, in the Student Union, in the quiet study rooms of Wilson Library. Observing behavior, physical characteristics, sensing the minute facial tics that give away how a person might be smiling, but actually be on the verge of tears.

"When I think of my years at WWU, this is what I think of most: Capturing glimpses of peoples’ internal worlds in the midst of the external one. How I began to really see and process the world through my own eyes, not clouded by anyone else’s influence or ideas. How my mind began stretching its creative muscles and making up stories. And how lucky I am today that I get to capture those stories on the page and call it my career."

Hatvany's books include "Heart Like Mine" (Washington Square Press, 2013) and "Outside the Lines" (Washington Square Press, 2012). Learn more about Hatvany at

Harley Tat

"The New Boy," a murder mystery novel by Harley Tat ('91, Broadcast Media Studies) takes place in the mid-80’s.

"The public area in between the Viking Union and the bookstore is a flurry of unsanctioned bake sales. It is also a busy place to get a message out. This is where Andy first learns about Western’s rugby team, The Warthogs.

"Notice in the excerpt that I call this area Old Main? When writing this I had really envisioned the bustling Viking Union area packed with students at the start of the school year, but used Old Main since it felt more authentic."

An excerpt:

Only a few days earlier, Andy had arrived at freshman orientation at Western University in Bellingham, Washington. He was in front of Old Main studying a list of electives when a charismatic brown-haired kid in a blue-and-gold striped rugby jersey ambushed him.

“You play sports in high school?” the kid asked.

“Not really,” Andy said.

“You like sports?” said the kid.

“Sure. Of course,” Andy shrugged.

“Scott Sutter, Warthog team captain,” the kid smiled, shaking Andy’s hand.

“I’m Andy—Andy Martin.”

“You can say your name; that’s a plus,” Scott said, his hand still wrapped in Andy’s. “Now that’s what I call a grip. My father always told me, ‘When you meet someone, give them a vise-grip handshake and look them straight in the crosshairs.’”

“You serious?” said Andy. “I was taught the exact same thing.”

“Why don’t you come on the rugby team road trip to Portland this weekend? Ignorance is strength. You know—Orwell’s 1984?” Scott said, handing Andy a flyer. “WORTHY OF KINGS,” the light green Xerox read. “A CHANCE TO BUILD CAMARADERIE WITH ATHLETIC YOUNG LADS.”

Read more about Harley Tat and "The New Boy" at