Early life and education
Robinson was born in the Bronx, New York City, New York; his father was a salesman. He was avid reader of science fiction; his exposure in early childhood to the juvenile novels of Robert Heinlein later influenced him to become a writer. He attended a Catholic high school, spending his junior year in a seminary, followed by two years in a Catholic college, and five years at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in the 1960s, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English. While at Stony Brook, Spider entertained at campus coffeehouses and gatherings, strumming his guitar and singing in harmony with his female partner. It was at this time that his friends, at his request, stopped calling him "Robbie" and gave him the nickname "Spider", which he adopted as his official first name. Robinson adopted the name out of admiration for blues musician "Spider" John Koerner.