Thursday, July 8, 2010


The discussion that followed my first post about “bad” science made me think about all the many scientific and technical ideas that debuted to less-than-universal acclaim. I hesitate to say that most of the best ideas were received with derision rather than acceptance, but it’s certainly not hard to find examples of scientists who suffered for years, if not centuries, before their ideas were proven correct. The name Galileo ring a bell?

We SF and SFR writers tend to make scientists the heroes, but the scientific community historically has had its own conservative bias with regard to new ideas. Lister was laughed out of the surgery when he suggested maternal deaths in hospitals could be prevented if attending physicians would simply wash their filthy hands between childbirths. What? Disease is caused by tiny creatures you can’t even see? Pasteur is an idiot! Rocks emit invisible energy? Why Madame Curie, I believe you must be mad! Radio? Rockets to the moon? Totally the province of those with overactive imaginations and no strict scientific boundaries to their thinking.

Lest you think this kind of scientific conservatism is a thing of the past, let me remind you that only a few years ago reputable scientists were still arguing that the discovery of Earth-like planets in the galaxy would be extremely unlikely; that, in fact, planets of any kind would be rare. Our solar system was not necessarily typical and evidence simply did not exist for any other planets in the galaxy.

Well, surprise. We’re not alone after all. Better astronomical technologies and theoretical constructs have allowed us to detect hundreds of planets out there, some of them of roughly the same size and distance from their suns as Earth. Carl Sagan must be doing the happy dance up in heaven.

So, yes. Distant planets: yesterday’s “bad” science, today’s real science. Rockets to the moon: yesterday’s “bad” science, today’s real science. Rockets to distant planets: today’s “bad” science, tomorrow’s real science. Because as someone once said, if we can dream it, we can live it. If we can envision it, surely we can make it real.

As writers we’re in the envisioning business, and, Lord knows, for us there are no limits. We can only hope there are working scientists, inventors and technicians for whom our dreams (and theirs) provide the catalyst for the future.

Cheers, Donna

Monday, July 5, 2010

Expanding Universe Contest for Free E-Novels

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are the author team behind the classic and ever-popular Liaden Universe®. This series of “adventurous romantic space opera” holds cross-over appeal for both romance and science fiction readers.

To celebrate the release of MOUSE AND DRAGON, Lee and Miller’s thirteenth Liaden novel, the authors are hosting a contest. It’s open to anyone and everyone who has yet to sample a Liaden Universe® novel. Thirty-six electronic copies of The Dragon Variation will be given away as prizes.

The Dragon Variation is an omnibus edition of three Liaden Universe® novels — Conflict of Honors, one of the first modern SFRomances; Local Custom, second place winner of the Prism Award for best Futuristic of 2002; and Scout’s Progress, the first place winner of the Prism Award for best Futuristic of 2002, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice for Best SF Novel of its year, and the prequel to Mouse and Dragon.

And if you’re a blogger who wants to help spread the word about it, you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $36.00 gift card from Barnes and Noble just by linking to your post!

If you’re a blogger new to the Liaden novels, you can enter BOTH tiers of the contest.

Check the contest out here.

No prior knowledge of the Liaden Universe® required. This omnibus is electronic and can be read on your Kindle, your phone, your iPad, your desktop, or other ereader.

To enter the contest, click the link above and follow the instructions you see there (it’s easy). Contest ends at midnight Eastern Daylight Time on July 16, 2010. Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 17, 2010.