Ian attended the University of Minnesota for both college and graduate school. Eventually the university decided it had seen quite enough of him, so it politely but firmly asked him to leave, grow up, and get a real job. Ian's parting gift was a doctorate in physics for his research on radio galaxies. After finishing his thesis, he moved to New Mexico just as soon as he found a group of people willing to hire him. He's still a bit surprised by this because he has no useful skills.
In 2005, Ian attended the Clarion Writers' Workshop in East Lansing, Michigan. (This was the second-to-last Clarion class in the program's 35 year run at Michigan State University, before the program moved to its new home at UCSD in 2007.) There he spent six weeks living in a sweltering, slightly creepy, soon-to-be-condemned sorority house with twelve other aspiring writers. Scurvy was a problem. However, in spite of many predictions, cannibalism was not.
After Clarion, and thanks to Walter Jon Williams, he was welcomed into New Mexico's disproportionately large community of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. Although he often feels like a minor league batboy inexplicably mistaken for a professional baseball player, he has shared critiques with, and worked alongside, a long list of New Mexico writers including WJW, Daniel Abraham, Melinda Snodgrass, S. M. Stirling, Ty Franck, Victor Milán, Sage Walker, and George R. R. Martin.
Nowadays he lives in northern New Mexico, where he consorts with writers, scientists, and other disreputable types.