Podcast #30: Catherine Asaro

Podcast #30 is now available for download here.

In her lecture at Odyssey 2004, Catherine Asaro explained how to develop a scientific “What if?” for your story. In this podcast, she covers some of the challenges of getting the science into your science fiction. Too much detail may bore readers, while insufficient detail may leave readers skeptical or confused. Catherine suggests various ways to introduce scientific exposition in your stories while keeping the reader tense and interested. Maintaining scientific accuracy may at times seem limiting to your story, but it may actually force you to be more creative and come up with exciting solutions. Science can also help you to extrapolate and figure out what your futuristic world would really be like. Catherine provides various examples and explains how to develop your novum in a scientifically accurate way, taking into consideration the consequences of that novum.

Catherine Asaro is a writer, scientist, and dancer. Praised for her ability to mix hard science fiction with character-driven stories, she has a Ph.D. in chemical physics from Harvard. Among her many awards, she has received the Nebula for her novel The Quantum Rose and her novella “The Space-time Pool.” Catherine currently has twenty-four novels out. Her most recent fantasy is The Night Bird (Luna 2008). Her latest science fiction book, Diamond Star (Baen 2009), is about a rock star in the future. The paperback of Catherine’s book The Ruby Dice was also released in 2009. Her next book, Carnelians, will be out from Baen in the next year.

In April 2009, Starflight Music released the soundtrack for the book, a CD also titled Diamond Star, by the rock band Point Valid, in collaboration with Catherine. The CD presents songs from the book, with three additional works by Hayim Ani, lead vocalist and guitarist for the band. After Point Valid dispersed to college, Donald Wolcott joined the project as the pianist for Catherine’s vocals in concerts and at science fiction cons.


For more information about Odyssey, its graduates and instructors, please visit our website at http://www.odysseyworkshop.org.

Interview: Jeffrey A. Carver

Jeffrey A. Carver will be a guest lecturer at the Odyssey Writing Workshop this summer. He is the author of sixteen science fiction novels, including Sunborn (Tor Books, November 2008). Prior to that, his most recent books were Battlestar Galactica: the Miniseries (a novelization), and Eternity’s End, a grand-scale epic of conflict and mystery in the far future, which was a finalist for the Nebula Award.

His novels Neptune Crossing, Strange Attractors, and The Infinite Sea began his series known as The Chaos Chronicles, a hard science fiction series which continues with Sunborn. Science Fiction Chronicle named Neptune Crossing one of the best science fiction novels of the year, while Kirkus called Strange Attractors “dazzling, thrilling, innovative…probably Carver’s best effort to date.” Periodically he returns to his Star Rigger universe (Star Rigger’s Way, Dragons in the Stars, and others), a favorite haunt for readers.

Carver’s writing involves elements of both hard science and psychology, and is character-focused while exploring possibilities for science and technology in the future, including nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, and the possibilities for travel (and both contact and conflict) among the stars. His novels and stories explore not just technological but moral, ethical, and spiritual challenges for tomorrow.

In addition to writing, Carver teaches. In 1995, he developed and hosted an educational TV series, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing–a live, interactive broadcast into middle school classrooms. Reaching into schools across the U.S., the show encouraged student writers to stretch their imaginations and learn the basic skills of storytelling and writing. Much of that teaching is now free online for aspiring writers at writesf.com. He also teaches regularly at the New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf, Vermont, and at the Ultimate Science Fiction Writing Workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A native of Huron, Ohio, Carver is a graduate of Brown University, with graduate work in marine resources management at the University of Rhode Island. He has been a high school wrestler, a scuba diving instructor, a quahog diver, a UPS sorter, a technical writer and developmental editor, a private pilot, and a stay-at-home dad. He lives with his family in Arlington, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and The Authors Guild. For more information, visit his website at starrigger.net.

Several of Carver’s novels (and some short stories) are available for free download as ebooks at http://www.starrigger.net/Downloads.htm.

Once you started writing seriously, how long did it take you to sell your first piece? What were you doing wrong in your writing in those early days?

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