Science fiction writers inspired as asteroid miners make fiction fact
Science & Technology

Science fiction writers inspired as asteroid miners make fiction fact

It was the final query on the information convention announcing Planetary Sources’ plans to seek out mineral-rich asteroids, pull them into near-Earth orbit, and mine them. Did science fiction play a job?

The response was an correct, however unsatisfyingly imprecise, “Science fiction is fiction proper as much as the purpose that it’s science fact.”

The Seattle space, which hosted the official Planetary Sources unveiling and is residence to the brand new enterprise, is not any stranger to science fiction with its wholesome fan neighborhood and important focus of New York Occasions-bestselling, award-winning writers in Seattle and the broader Washington State.

So why not ask the writers themselves what function they assume science fiction performed?

As a one-time minor short-story author and former secretary of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), I accessed my reminiscence dice and despatched messages by the aether to a half-dozen established writers. What did you assume while you heard the announcement? Did you assume it was well-past-time, proper on time, or sooner than you anticipated? What instant science-fiction precursors come to thoughts, in literature or media?

On the final, the response was near-universal. Brenda Cooper, novelist, futurist and CIO for the Metropolis of Kirkland, summed it up: “Asteroid mining is a typical science-fiction trope.”

Author Greg Bear, whose 1985 novel Eon is definitely about makes an attempt to say an asteroid that strikes into near-Earth orbit, recommended precursors such as Poul Anderson’s earlier “Tales of the Flying Mountains and the varied asteroid mining tales from people like Larry Niven.”

Not all of the top-of-mind precursors have been essentially constructive. “The very first thing (ominously) I considered was the spaceship Nostromo from Alien,” acknowledges Kay Kenyon, creator of ten novels together with the science fiction quartet, The Whole and The Rose.

Different first reactions diverse — and maybe mirrored the early fascination many had with the style. Seattle’s Vonda N. McIntyre, well-known for the Starfarers novels and the traditional Dreamsnake, says hers was merely, “They need to rent me.” And when pressed, “They need to rent me. Actually.”

Novelist Louise Marley was a bit extra philosophical. “I assumed: why is everybody so stunned? All of the information shops have been carrying this story, however in my neighborhood — the SF neighborhood — this has been anticipated for many years.”

However the overwhelming first reactions from the writers of what-if was delight. “I assumed I had fallen into Act 1 of a novel,” says Kenyon. “After all of the NASA cutbacks and governmental dithering, now comes this personal enterprise speaking about mining the assets of house. I simply love these guys.” Cooper’s response was comparable, an “enthusiastic screeched-out Valley-girl ‘candy!’ I’m nonetheless comfortable about it. After which I assumed, ‘how can I assist?’”

A number of, together with William C. Dietz and Kenyon, thought the timing of the announcement was good when it comes to turning science fiction into science fact. However Dietz, creator of greater than 40 novels, was already considering forward. “What if this wild array of house buccaneers succeeds? What’s going to it result in? House oligarchs? Working in a vacuum that’s empty of each oxygen or legal guidelines? Nonetheless, given the selection, I say go for it.”

Just one query remained for all half-dozen fiction luminaries. In the course of the Planetary Sources announcement when requested concerning the derivation of the spacecraft title “Arkyd,” the team said its roots have been in science fiction, and that “actual” sci-fi followers would know.

Maybe illustrating that creating futures isn’t fairly the identical as recalling them, not a single one of many writers did.

Frank Catalano is a guide, creator and veteran analyst of digital training and shopper applied sciences whose GeekWire columns take a sensible nerd’s method to tech. He tweets @FrankCatalano and consults as Intrinsic Strategy. He’s penning this whereas spending per week immersed within the nerd information circulation at GeekWire HQ.

[Dietz photo by Joseph Walsh Photography]

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