'If Bullets Were Gold': Is This Sci-Fi Novel the Work of a Killer Professor?

In addition to being a college professor, alleged University of Alabama Huntsville shooter Amy Bishop was also an amateur novelist. We may have found one of her books and it's a tale of aliens and ammunition.

In the aftermath of the attack which left three of Bishop's faculty colleagues dead after she was denied tenure, all sorts of media organizations have been digging up what they can to try and pry inside the mind of a murderous molecular biologist. For instance, in 1993 Bishop was suspected of sending a mail bomb to one of her med school professors. And sources told the Boston Globe investigators found "a draft of a novel… about a female scientist who had killed her brother and was hoping to make amends by becoming a great scientist" when they searched her computer. On Sunday, Bishop's husband James Anderson confirmed the existence of the novel as well as two others that Bishop had worked on to the New York Times. Bishop also has a literary pedigree, she's second cousins with the author John Irving.

So, let's add this detail: We did a search of the U.S. Copyright Office's records and found that in 1999, someone named Amy Bishop Anderson registered the copyright for a 260-page book called The Martian Experiment. At the time, Amy Bishop was a 34-year-old molecular biologist and biochemist at the Harvard School of Public Health living in Ipswich. She participated in a workshop called the Hamilton Writer's Group. According to the Boston Globe she wrote "three novels for the group — a suspense thriller about an IRA operative, a tale about a virus that made all women barren that ended mankind, and one called 'Martians in Belfast.'"

The only information available about the book online is a short summary saying "If bullets were gold ; A year in the life of Abigail White ; Abigail's journal." Based on the brief description on the web, it sounds like "The Martian Experiment" has aliens, a female protagonist, and a whole bunch of bullets.

'If Bullets Were Gold': Is This Sci-Fi Novel the Work of a Killer Professor?

Of course, it's entirely possible that this book was written by another Amy Bishop Anderson. The copyright application doesn't contain any identifying info about the author beyond their name. We've made multiple calls to James Anderson to confirm the titles of Bishop's novels, but haven't been able to get him on the phone. That being said, based on Amy Bishop's confirmed history of sci-fi writing and the similarities to her work for the Hamilton Writer's Group, we're pretty confident she wrote The Martian Experiment. Hopefully, now that we've put the details online it will be a lot easier to get some definitive answers.