Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Frontiers of Space, Time, and Thought -- an odyssey

Practically the first thing I did after declaring an end to day jobs -- apart from the occasional shout of joy -- was write "The Day of the RFIDs." That was in 2004.

An RFID chip
The next year, when I sold my first short-fiction collection, TDotR was its opening story. Most stories in Creative Destruction -- though not TDotR -- had first appeared in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, so I asked Stanley Schmidt, the editor, if he'd consider writing a guest introduction. He graciously agreed -- and then, to my surprise (and delight), also based an editorial on TDotR. Story and editorial alike addressed the threat to privacy implicit in the radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips more and more often finding their way into garments, shoes, and tires. (You did know -- didn't you? -- that your Nikes could be ratting you out.)

That editorial brought in readers' letters, on some of which Stan invited me to comment. I did, but a letters-to-the-editor column can hardly accommodate in-depth discussion. And so I offered Stan a science fact article. My first. "Beyond this Point Be RFIDs" ran in Analog in 2007.

(I'd researched RFIDs for TDotR, of course, but writing the article led me to do more digging. As a bonus, the musings stirred up by that the second round of research led to a second story, "The Night of the RFIDs.")

And by such circuitous means, I took my first step down the slippery slope of also writing science and technology nonfiction. Bringing me at last -- while segueing to a commercial announcement -- to this post's subject ... 

Frontiers of Space, Time, and Thought collects six essays that first appeared in Analog. The essays deal with:
  • RFIDs and the associated threats to privacy
  • Asteroid deflection
  • Language, communications, and science fiction
  • The why, where, and (perhaps the) how of faster-than-light technology
  • Nanotech, and the next thirty or so years
  • The coming post-shuttle era of commercialized spaceflight
Random topics, you may think. Not so (though I'll grant you eclectic). Rather, the essays capture the research and thought processes underpinning many of my novels and much of my shorter fiction. A look beneath the authorial hood(ie), as it were ...

But science marches on, so these are more than the original Analog essays. I've updated and expanded them all. Even the article that first ran in Analog's January 2012 issue.

The book also includes more than a dozen short stories  -- first published in Analog, Artemis, Asimov's, Jim Baen's Universe, and Darker Matter -- on related themes.

Curious? Then check out Frontiers of Space, Time, and Thought on my website or at Amazon (print and Kindle).

3 comments:

Bob Mudford said...

Hi Edward.

I'm sure this is a fine book but I must confess that when your mail sprung twicely into my inbox that I thought I was going to hear about the next Fleet of Worlds.

So I'm sorry to hijack the thread - but any word on its publish date?

Edward M. Lerner said...

Hi Bob,

Sorry to have falsely raised your hopes ...

Re your question, Fate of Worlds, the next -- and final -- Fleet of Worlds series novel has been scheduled by the publisher for August 21st (and is available for preorder at online bookstores). When the time comes, I'll send a newsletter about its release.

But lest I again disappoint you ;-) ...

You can expect another newsletter via Google Groups before that announcement. Energized, my next solo novel comes out first, in July.)

- Ed

Bob Mudford said...

August 21st! I was expecting it in the spring!

Well, it'll make for some good reading over the August holidays.

Thanks.

Bob