Dec 062016
 

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How do you learn to write Science Fiction & Fantasy? In some ways you don’t. You let the experience of SF&F embrace you with its breadth of imagination, and in rare, precious instances reach inside you to touch your soul. Then again, you do have to learn to keep pounding away at your keyboard, no matter how far past midnight it is nor how burnt the coffee, until something comes out of your mind and through your fingers that you think you won’t throw away – and you hope someone else wants to read.

The Clarion Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers’ Workshop is all of that and more, and the application period for the 2017 workshop is now open until March 1. The workshop runs for six weeks in summer at the University of California, San Diego. The oldest writer’s workshop of its kind, Clarion began  in 1968 at Clarion State College in Pennsylvania. After four years, it moved to Michigan State University, where I attended the workshop in the ‘80s. I admit, I was sorry to see it leave the banks of the Red Cedar in 2007 when it continued its western migration to UCSD. Being located, however, on the Pacific shoreline and operating under the auspices of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination give it much greater panache. Continue reading »

Apr 212016
 
Dream Big, Build Small to Reach the Stars

Well, that didn’t take as long we thought. A concept I first heard introduced at the 100-Year Starship symposium last fall proposed a stream of postage stamp-sized probes with light sails propelled by a 10-minute burst of laser beams that accelerates the probes to 20 percent light speed. At that speed, the probes could reach more »

Dec 292015
 
Science Fiction Trends Back to Hard Science

NPR broadcast a report Dec. 13 on the recent rise in “hard” science fiction stories, taking special note of the book and film The Martian “that taps into an intriguing trend toward realism.” It’s a trend that many readers and viewers of science fiction have noticed since Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy in the 1990s, more »

Nov 192015
 
Finding Creative Paths to the Stars

From Epic World-Ship Journeys to Spamming Our Galactic Neighbors In Science Fiction, there are three ways to reach the stars: fly fast, fly slow, or fly tricky, or so an old saying goes. In science, mostly there are the same three ways, but none of the options can be reached through a creative, technobabble paragraph. Some more »

Oct 072015
 
Who’s in that Martian Water?

NASA’s announcement last week of clinching evidence that liquid water exists on Mars may doom any chance of building a colony on the Red Planet. It’s not the liquid water that hides in Martian sublayers and at times  escapes to the surface or near surface of the planet that’s the problem. It’s what may be in more »

Feb 272015
 
Living in California, Working on Mars

It’s not everyday I get to talk with someone who works on Mars. So when I scored an assignment for The Atlantic magazine’s website (Jet Lag is Worse on Mars) on how Martian explorers will adjust to a longer Martian day, my first call was to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I was able to get more »

Jul 272014
 
Why Build a Scientifically Accurate World with a Soulless Society?

Why are there a number of how-to books on building worlds in Science Fiction, but none, at least that I know of, about shaping the societies that inhabit them? Thankfully, there are authors who include the societal element of the story they’re writing, be the societies alien or human. But there were a couple of more »

Jun 152014
 
A long road to dual release of sci-fi drama, novel

Just finished recording and editing the science fiction audio drama Shalbatana Solstice, a prequel I wrote for my novel Lunar Dust, Martian Sands. I plan to release both in July. Both stories deal with people trying to make a life on a lonely planet, and make the world their own. No zombies, no aliens – more »

Casting Call for Sci-Fi Audio Drama

 Posted by at 9:58 am on September 25, 2013  Writing sci-fi  No Responses »
Sep 252013
 
Casting Call for Sci-Fi Audio Drama

I have faced many delays with this project, but now that I have the funding, I’m moving ahead with the production of a short sci-fi audio drama, Shalbatana Solstice. I hope to record before the end of the year. If scheduling works out, sometime in October. Shalbatana is a short story prequel to my novel, Lunar more »

Hiring Asteroid Miners

 Posted by at 12:17 pm on May 5, 2013  Moon exploration  No Responses »
May 052013
 
Hiring Asteroid Miners

Astrogeologists still have to wait to leave Earth Recently, I received an email from Planetary Resources with the subject line, “Now hiring asteroid miners.” About time, it seemed to me. The e-mail said the company was looking for college students for co-op positions, and I thought of forwarding it to my niece studying geology at more »