Kirkus Review of Carbide Tipped Pens

Kirkus has an advance review of Carbide Tipped Pens.  Special kudos to Gregory Benford, Kate Story, Nancy Fulda, Daniel H. Wilson and David DeGraff.  The book will be available starting December 2, 2014.

A science fiction anthology that strikes a balance between radical scientific ideas and grounded human emotion...Hard-core sci-fi fans will gobble this up, and readers newer to the genre should give it a chance, too.”

- Kirkus Reviews

Loncon 3 Programming Schedule

This is my programming schedule for Loncon 3:  The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention in London, England, 14–18 August 2014.  Please note the schedule is subject to change.  I will be posting updates and corrections as required.

The World at Worldcon:  Canadian SF/F

Saturday 11:00 — 12:00, Capital Suite 4 (ExCeL)

From Peter Watts to Margaret Atwood, Robert Charles Wilson to Julie Czerneda:  you know more Canadian SF/F writers than you think you do.  But there’s always more to learn!  Who’s pushing boundaries, and which boundaries are being pushed?  Who are the hot new writers, and where are they being published?  How widely distributed are books from a Canadian small press like ChiZine?

Hayden Trenholm (moderator), Eric Choi, Kate Heartfield, Marjolaine Lafreniere, Ira Nayman, Caitlin Sweet

The World at Worldcon:  Chinese Diaspora SF

Saturday 15:00 — 16:30, Capital Suite 14 (ExCeL)

Chinese immigrants have gone all over the world for 400 years, however, the Chinese diaspora has written science fiction only in the last four decades, with Laurence Yep possibly being the first Chinese-American science fiction writer.  Now they are becoming more prominent, and writers such as Ken Liu and Ted Chiang have become well known.  What do their stories say about the immigrant experience (often a sort of alien experience) and about ethnicity, identity and culture in America, Canada, Europe, the Philippines, Malaysia and other countries?  How have they combined Chinese society with those of other countries?

Emily Jiang (moderator), Eric Choi, John Chu, Derwin Mak

Autographing — Eric Choi

Sunday 13:30 — 15:00, Autographing Space (ExCeL)

Kaffeeklatsch

Monday 13:00 — 14:00, London Suite 5 (ExCeL)

Eric Choi, David L. Clements

Far Orbit Released, and Q&A with World Weaver Press

Far Orbit:  Speculative Space Adventures, a new anthology edited by Bascomb James that includes my story “From a Stone”, is now available in trade paperback (Amazon, Barnes & Noble) and ebook (Amazon, !ndigo, Barnes & Noble, Kobo).  Scroll down for my Q&A with World Weaver Press.

Far Orbit

WWP — What was your inspiration for creating your Far Orbit story?

EC — “From a Stone” was inspired by a number of things. I had read a magazine article about SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, which discussed the challenges of not only trying to understand an alien species that may have no common frame of reference with us, but also what exactly would constitute irrefutable proof of intelligence in the first place. At around that time I was also taking a planetary geology course at the University of Toronto, and a lot of the science portrayed in “From a Stone” came from that. I was also greatly influenced by the book A Man on the Moon, Andrew Chaikin’s superb history of the Apollo program, much of which dealt with the compromises inherent in trying to do science and exploration within the practical and political constraints of a government space program. The fictional ship in “From a Stone” is named for Apollo 17 astronaut-geologist Harrison Schmitt, and I was thrilled to meet Dr. Schmitt a few years ago and actually gave him a copy of the story.

WWP — How do you feel when you finally finish a story and send it off? Relief? Trepidation? Exultation? Something else?

EC — Mostly relief, perhaps with a little bit of exultation. The temptation to keep rewriting is always there, but then I remember Heinlein’s Rules.

WWP — Why do you write science fiction stories? What is it about this genre that appeals to you?

EC — As an aerospace engineer who has worked on a number of real space missions like the Phoenix Mars Lander, I guess you can say some parts of my life are a bit like a science fiction story, so why not write about it? There have always been important linkages between science fiction and the real-life space program. Our knowledge of the Universe, our attitudes towards science, and our understanding of science and technology are some of the key influences to science fiction. In turn, science fiction has helped shape perceptions of the space program, in some cases influencing the politics and funding of space projects and even the design of the missions themselves, as well as inspiring people like me to pursue careers in engineering and science. This is what appeals most to me about the genre.

WWP — Who are your favorite science fiction authors?

EC — Arthur C. Clarke had a huge influence on me. This is why I was so touched when Bascomb James compared “From a Stone” to Rendezvous with Rama in his introduction to my story.

WWP — When reading for enjoyment, some people read a story only once while others reread stories. Which type of reader are you?

EC — Definitely a re-reader. I often discover new things on subsequent readings, certainly with novels but also in many cases even with short stories.

GenreCon 2014 Panels

These are the panels on which I will be participating at the GenreCon literary convention on Saturday, May 10th at the Sarnia Library, 124 Christina Street South, Sarnia, Ontario.  You can download the GenreCon 2014 flyer here.

The Man from Schenectady:  Where Do Great Characters Come From?

Every story needs at least one character.  We know ideas come from a mailbox in Schenectady, New York, but where to great characters come from?  What are ways to come up with good ones?  What are some examples of great characters of fiction?

Suzanne Church, Janet Bolin, Eric Choi

Storytelling or Style in Fiction

Should an author try to dazzle the reader with their command of prose or should they try to tell a good story?  How can they balance both to both dazzle and entertain the reader?

Suzanne Church, Janet Bolin, Eric Choi

The Short Story:  From Pulp Fiction to E-Zines

In the 1950s, pulp magazines began to be replaced by smaller digest-sized periodicals.  This shift revolutionized genre publishing for nearly a decade and paved the way for the paperback boom of the 1960s and 1970s.  How can the changes that happened back then be used to allow us to predict the future of short fiction?  What is the current state of the short fiction market?  Where are some good places, both paper and electronic, to look for outstanding short fiction?

Suzanne Church, Eric Choi

Ad Astra 2014 Schedule

This is my schedule of appearances at the Ad Astra science fiction convention, which will be taking place over the weekend of April 4–6, 2014 at the Sheraton Parkway North, 600 Highway 7 East, Richmond Hill, Ontario.  Please note the schedule is subject to change.  I will be posting updates and corrections as required.

GoH and Author Signings

April 5, 2014, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm (Richmond A)

Are Asteroids Worthy of Manned Space Missions?

David Stephenson, Eric Choi, Paul Roberts

April 5, 2014, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm (Newmarket)

NASA is planning missions to near-Earth asteroids.  Starting with a sample return mission, plans include capturing a small asteroid and bringing it nearer Earth for a fully manned mission.  Share your thoughts on whether this the best use of limited funding, if the knowledge gained will be worth the risk, as well as what we can hope to learn for longer manned missions.

Carbide Tipped Pens and New Frontiers for Hard SF

Eric Choi, Leah Petersen, Kate Story

April 5, 2014, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm (Oakridges)

As science marches ever onward and our knowledge of the Universe expands, astounding new avenues for storytelling present themselves.  Carbide Tipped Pens is an upcoming hard SF anthology, edited by Ben Bova and Eric Choi.  Come meet the co-editors and some of the authors, plus get a sneak preview of this exciting new collection, all in one thrilling panel.

Eric Choi Reading

April 6, 2014, 1:30 pm to 2:00 pm (Oakridges)

Science!

Eric Choi, James Alan Gardner, Julie Czerneda, Eric Briggs

April 6, 2014, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm (Markham A)

Come to this audience-driven panel to have all your burning science questions answered by our panel of experts.  This year, areas of specialty include astronomy, neuroscience, astrophysics and biology.

Where Should Star Trek Boldly Go Next?

David Engkent, Eric Choi, Marah Searle-Kovacevic, Sarah WaterRaven

April 6, 2014, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm (Newmarket)

While Star Trek has experienced a massive surge in popularity following the release of the J.J. Abrams movies, it has yet to make a triumph return to the small screen.  Should it?  And what might this look like?  Should it be the adventures of an all new crew following Voyager or should it exist in the new universe created by Abrams?  This is a chance to brainstorm and let your imagination run wild.

The full programming schedule for Ad Astra 2014 can be found here.

Far Orbit Cover Unveiling and Giveaway

far-orbit-cover-wrap-aroundWorld Weaver Press has unveiled the full cover art for Bascomb James’ upcoming anthology Far Orbit: Speculative Space Adventures in which my short story “From a Stone” will appear.  Thank you so much to Julie Czerneda for the wonderful blurb!

You can win a free advance paperback of Far Orbit by sharing the World Weaver post.  Tweeting the post with the tag @WorldWeaver_wwp will automatically enter you into the draw.  If you repost or share on other social media sites, leave a comment on the World Weaver site that includes the link to your post and a way for them to contact you.  Entry into the giveaway ends February 28, 2014.  Please note that the winner must have a U.S., Canadian or U.K. snail mail address.

For astronomy fans out there, the Far Orbit cover features a composite image of Cepheus B, a star-forming region about 2,400 light years from Earth, based on x-ray and infrared data from NASA’s Chandra Observatory and Spitzer Space Telescope, respectively.

Far Orbit will be officially released in April.

“Daring adventure, protagonists who think on their feet, and out of this world excitement!  Welcome to Far Orbit, a fine collection of stories in the best SF tradition.  Strap in and enjoy!” – Julie E. Czerneda, author of the Species Imperative trilogy