Science Fiction and NASA have gone hand in hand for years now. Many NASA employees over the years have cited Science Fiction as what got them interested in space and science with most notably Arthur C. Clarke being at the fore who has influenced generations with his stories and technological wonders. Gregory Benford is a former NASA adviser and authors Edward M. Lerner, Dr. Geoffrey A. Landis, David Brin, and Eric Kotani have all had jobs working for NASA or programs associated with NASA over the years.
Now, a new venture with NASA and Tor will further cement their connections to Science Fiction. NASA and Tor have signed an agreement to develop a series of books that will hopefully inspire future generations to work and improve NASA, space travel, and science in general. A couple authors that may take part are Douglas Preston and Vernor Vinge, but nothing is firm at this point as it will depend on schedules and in the end what stories these visits inspire. Tor Executive Editor Robert Gleason will be the series will be editor. This is an idea that should have happened decades ago and only now in the waning days of NASA are they taking a more proactive approach to getting people interested in the program. Here is the press release:
NEW YORK, NY (August 22, 2011) – In an effort to educate and encourage math and science education Tor/Forge Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, and NASA have embarked on a collaboration to publish a series of science based, commercial fiction books, referred to as "NASA inspired Works of Fiction" around concepts pertinent to the current and future work of NASA. NASA will allow existing and new Tor/Forge authors to team up with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Subject Matter Experts (SME) to create scientifically accurate and entertaining novels in a distinctly unique way.
Tor/Forge and NASA hope that pairing scientists and engineers with the imprints’ award-winning roster of writers will raise awareness and inspire the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), in line with the President’s Technology Agenda. They also hope to contribute towards the goal of attracting and retaining students in the above fields, thereby strengthening NASA and the nation's future workforce in a compelling manner.
“When I was a boy, books by Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and their colleagues excited me, inspiring a lifelong fascination with space and the science and technology that would get us there,” said Tom Doherty. “From Fulton and his steamboat, through Alexander Graham Bell and Edison, to Silicon Valley and the advent of the internet, innovative Americans have built a future in which we lead the world.”
GSFC’s Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP) Office will host a select group of Tor/Forge authors – some of whom already write science based fiction – to learn more about science and space exploration. Authors will visit GSFC for a two day workshop in November consisting of presentations, facility tours and one-on-one sessions with SMEs. NASA contributions to the project will also provide access to their data, facilities, and educational design and evaluation experts.
“It is my hope that in working with NASA in the creation of new stories of science and discovery we will inspire the next generation of explorers and inventors, because it all starts with the imagination – with stories and dreams of better things to come,” said Doherty.
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