As regular readers of my blog may know, I have a special interest in science fiction, and often recommend stories in my astronomy and physics classes. I even keep a webpage of science fiction stories that use accurate astronomy, at:http://www.astrosociety.org/scifi
Recently, I joined a writing group, and started writing science fiction myself. After receiving many eloquent rejection notes from some of the finest science fiction magazines, one of my stories was published in a small-press anthology about colonizing Mars, called "Building Red," edited by Janet Cannon.
This coming weekend, I will be a guest speaker at BayCon 2016, a science fiction convention in the San Francisco Bay Area (in San Mateo, to be precise.) I have spoken at such conventions before, but this will be my first time speaking not only as an astronomer, but as a science fiction author. The full program and information is on the website:http://baycon.org. Please say hello if you stop by.
For those of you not in the area, I discussed my story (and scientists who write science fiction) on the syndicated radio show “Big Picture Science” with host Seth Shostak this week. Here is the page:http://bigpicturescience.org/episodes/science-fiction . Note the things in red are links on this page. If you click on the red “Science Fiction” under download, you will be taken to the audio for the show. The interview that mentions my story starts at about 19 minutes into the show and ends at about 30 minutes into the show.
Seth will also be a speaker at BayCon, as will several NASA scientists. I will even be on a panel on scientific science fiction with two of my favorite science fiction authors, Paul Preuss and G. D. Nordley.
For a person whose life has been mostly about teaching the facts of science, it's a lot of fun to be able to speculate in the realm of fiction. So many of my students tell me they were drawn to astronomy by a science fiction story, TV show, or movie they saw; so I know fiction can help draw new audiences toward astronomy. And with the political news the way it is these days, we all need to find ways to take our minds off our home planet and think about the "bigger picture" of the universe.