Many long ages ago, before I was a full time science fiction author (in other words, in 2015), I was a senior scientist at Dynetics in Huntsville, Alabama. As a medium-sized technology company, it mainly does defense contracting, but recently it's been winning quite a few NASA contracts (including one last year that I wrote!) and moving aggressively into the space industry.
Several decades ago, a bunch of NASA scientists and engineers got together to tackle the problem of atmospheric turbulance affecting the images taken by ground-based telescopes. We built giant telescopes at ever higher elevations, trying to get above that pesky, shimmering layer of oxygen that both sustained life, and completely ruined our beautiful deep-space astrophotography (lousy air!), but the problem of that swirling, turbulent layer of air still plagued all of our space images.
But those scientists didn't limit themselves to the now, they envisioned the future. And as a result, the Hubble Space Telescope was born, a modestly-sized telescope that was visionary not for its size, but for the fact that it was the first telescope able to rise above the atmospheric noise. It launched, and the new images opened up our eyes to the beautiful universe around us with pristine, sharp pictures that almost looked like works of art by the masters rather than cutting-edge scientific data.
Well, it eventually sent back clear pictures. The first set of optics sent up into orbit were misaligned, and needed to be fixed on a later shuttle mission. As a side note, during the same mission, the astronauts replaced the digital cameras onboard the Hubble along with their corresponding optics. Those old optics found their way to deep storage in some forgotten Nasa storage shed down at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, and years later, were sold at auction for a few bucks. They were then traded around amongst a few Nasa paraphernalia collectors, until one of them ended up in the hands of a friend at Dynetics. He brought it to work one day and let me hold it:
There I was, holding a piece of astronomically expensive equipment that had flown around the earth tens of thousands of times, traveling literally millions of miles. I imagined a little bit of the space dust came off on my fingers. Yeah, it was pretty awesome. Some people crave selfies with celebrities, or footballs signed by super bowl winners. But I geek out with this kind of stuff: a piece of aluminum that took the first high-resolution pictures of space, in space.
Today, I and nine other bestselling science fiction authors are starting a new project. With the hopes of forging a more engaging relationship with you, science fiction readers and lovers, we're banding together to give you unique content you won't find anywhere else. Between the ten of us, we've:
And many other milestones. As a result, we've come to know on a personal basis, thousands of you, the readers. The fans. The folks who love science fiction. The people who would similarly geek out holding a piece of science history just like I did with that camera.
So we decided to bring you something that no one else can. You've probably seen the slew of book promotion websites and mailing lists out there. We are not a book promotion website. We are not just a mailing list. We are authors, connecting with you, the reader. We're going to bring you not only the best deals when our books launch, not only price promotions you won't find anywhere else, but sneak peeks and inside looks, and direct access to the inner thoughts of some of today’s bestselling science fiction authors. Not to mention amazing monthly contests for stuff you won’t find on any other site.
Just like with the Hubble, we want to rise above the clutter and the noise, and bring you the best deals first, with other insider content you won't find anywhere else. Like with this blog post, you might get to read about an author's history working with Nasa. Or how another author's experience starting a tech company prepared them to write post apocalyptic science fiction. Or how another author's experience in the cutthroat New York City real estate developer market prepared him for the competitive but rewarding world of science fiction writing and publishing.
In closing, we want to get to know you, the science fiction reader. We want to hear your thoughts. We want to hear what's important to you, what you're interested in. And, not least, we want to shower you with free and discounted books, as well as let you be the first to know when our new releases are published.
We’d like to extend a very personal thank you for taking the time to join us today, from all our author-partners including Matthew Mather, Nick Webb, Samuel Peralta, Nicholas Sansbury Smith, Michael Grumley, Evan Currie, Autumn Kalquist, Jay Allan, Darren Wearmouth, Joshua Dalzelle, and more.