My anthology A Kepler’s Dozen: Thirteen Stories About Distant Worlds That Really Exist has just been released from Hadrosaur Productions. I co-edited the anthology with Steve B. Howell, the project scientist of NASA’s Kepler mission. Our goal was to have a set of astronomers and science fiction writers imagine what future explorers might find on the worlds discovered by the Kepler space probe. The tone of the stories range from light to serious, but the planets are always presented as realistically as possible. Fans of The Pirates of Sufiro will be pleased to know the book features an all new adventure with Captain Firebrandt and the crew of the Legacy. The National Optical Observatory wrote up a nice press release about the anthology which is available at http://www.noao.edu/news/2013/pr1305.php. The anthology is available at Amazon.com, BN.com, and Hadrosaur.com.
Unfortunately, the book is released just as news comes out that the Kepler spacecraft has lost the second of four reaction wheels that allow it to point accurately. There’s a good chance this marks the end of the spacecraft’s ability to collect data. It’s important to remember, though, even if the probe stopped working immediately, there are still two years’ worth of data to sort through and many, many planets likely still to be discovered. The Kepler probe has been a phenomenal success and Steve Howell and I are already thinking about a second book that will explore even more of the Kepler planets!
In the meantime, I’m gearing up for Phoenix Comicon which will be held over Memorial Day Weekend at the Phoenix Convention Center. This event is so big, it’s hard to know how to even begin describing it. All of the surviving cast of Babylon 5 will be there to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary. There will be many other actors, comic artists, and writers on hand as well. I’m honored to be on several panels over the course of the weekend. Here’s my schedule.
Friday, May 24
- Noon-1pm – So You Wanna Be a Writer – Room West104A. Learn from the pros about how to get started as an author, how to handle rejection, where to look for guidance, education, and support, and what to do when you’ve started to “make it” but aren’t all the way there yet. On the panel with me are Sharon Skinner, Tom Leveen, Gini Koch, C.J. Hill, and Marcy Rockwell.
- 9-10pm – Create Your Own Steampunk Poem Workshop – Room 227AB. Poetry lives at the heart of Steampunk music and was a vital part of 19th century literary life. Express yourself in poetry. Free!
Saturday, May 25
- Noon-1pm – Arizona’s Astronomical Observatories – Room 127C. Arizona features a number of world-class astronomical observatories thanks to our clear skies and high mountaintops. Learn from a panel of experts about our state’s telescope facilities, including research being done there and visitor information. On the panel with me are Karen Knierman and Gerard van Belle.
- 6-7pm – Strange New Worlds: Extrasolar Planets and the Kepler Mission – Room 126C. Have you ever wondered if there are solar systems other than our own? We now know there are, and with the help of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, we’ve found hundreds of them. Join us to learn about the surprising diversity of solar systems in our galaxy. On the panel with me are Lisa Will, Gerard van Belle, David Lee Summers, Kevin Healy and Steve Desch.
Sunday, May 26
- 10:30-11:30am – Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Poetry – Room West104B. Yes, Virginia, SF poetry does exist. Join some of these poets for a look at the field. On the panel with me are Sharon Skinner, Marcy Rockwell, and Larry Hammer.
- 1:30-2:30pm – Ask the Astronomers – Room 127C. Do you have any astronomy questions? Now is the time to ask! Join a panel of professional astronomers/astrophysicists for a free-flowing Q&A session about the universe. Kids and adults alike are encouraged to attend and ask questions. On the panel with me are David Williams, Patrick Young, Karen Knierman, Kevin Healy, Kenneth Wong, Lisa Will, and Stefan O’Dougherty.
When I’m not on one of these exciting panels, look for me at Booth 2532. I look forward to seeing you there!