Stanley Schmidt was born in Cincinnati and graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1966. He began selling stories while a graduate student at Case Western Reserve University, where he completed his Ph.D. in physics in 1969. He continued freelancing while an assistant professor at Heidelberg College in Ohio, teaching physics, astronomy, science fiction, and other oddities. (He was introduced to his wife, Joyce, by a serpent while teaching field biology in a place vaguely resembling that well-known garden.) He has contributed numerous stories and articles to original anthologies and magazines including Analog, Asimov's, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Rigel, The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, American Journal of Physics, Camping Journal, Writer's Digest, and The Writer. He has edited or coedited about a dozen anthologies.
Since 1978, as editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, he has been nominated 31 times for the Hugo award for Best Professional Editor. He is or has been a member of the Board of Advisers for the National Space Society and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, and has been an invited speaker at national meetings of those organizations, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the American Association of Physics Teachers, as well as numerous museums and universities. In his writing and editing he draws on a varied background including extensive experience as a musician, photographer, traveler, naturalist, outdoorsman, pilot, and linguist. Most of these influences have left traces in his five novels and short fiction. His nonfiction includes the book Aliens and Alien Societies: A Writer's Guide to Creating Extraterrestrial Life-Forms, and The Coming Convergence: The Surprising Ways Diverse Technologies Interact to Shape Our World and Change the Future and hundreds of Analog editorials, some of them collected in Which Way to the Future?. He was Guest of Honor at BucConeer, the 1998 World Science Fiction Convention in Baltimore, and has been a Nebula and Hugo award nominee for his fiction.