Thursday, June 11, 2009

Astronomy Science Fiction: Now with Biology!

When the subject of science in science fiction comes up, it seems like many people immediately think of physics and astronomy and, of course, astrophysics. That's not particularly surprising - from its early beginnings SF has featured exploration of other planets, stars and the vast spaces between them.

The short story anthology Diamonds in the Sky is an excellent continuation of that tradition. Edited by science fiction writer and astronomer Mike Brotherton, and funded in part by the National Science Foundation, each story in the anthology features a particular aspect of astronomy and includes an afterword about the science. And, being biased towards my own science background, it's nifty that several of the stories have some biology in them too.

So here are links to those stories, with a wee bit about their relevance to bioscience.

The Moon is a Harsh Pig by Gerald M. Weinberg
Astronomy topics: Phases of the Moon, Misconceptions about Astronomy
Biology topic: Effect of the moon on behavior.
Additional reading: Pull of the Moon: Tales of the Moon's effects on animal behaviour are not just moonshine"

Jaiden's Weaver
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Astronomy topic: Planetary Rings
Biology topic: life on a ringed planet

Squish by Daniel M. Hoyt
Astronomy topic: The Solar System
Biology topic: Uploading consciousness into new bodies.
Additional reading: my old post on Charlie Stross's short story "Lobsters" (which also has a bit of astronomy)

Approaching Perimelasma by Geoffrey A. Landis
Astronomy topic: Black Holes
Biology topic: Effect of black holes on the body
Additional information: Neil DeGrasse Tyson on "Death by Black Hole" (YouTube)

To read all the stories, download the Diamonds in the Sky anthology.

Image from Alexander Jamieson: 'A Celestial Atlas Comprising a Systematic Display of the Heavens in a Series of Thirty Maps' (via BibliOdyssey)
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