When I was six, I wanted to be an astronomer or a paleontologist. When I was twelve I wanted to be a science fiction writer. I went to college at Rice University intending to get a degree in electrical engineering and work for JPL or NASA. I ended up double majoring in EE and space physics and went on to the University of Texas at Austin to study astronomy. After getting my PhD in 1996, I worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Kitt Peak National Observatory. I am now an assistant professor in the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Wyoming. My specialty is quasars. I've actually used the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Keck Telescope and the Very Large Array in New Mexico. You can find out more here .
Writing starts with reading. I don't remember learning to read and
don't remember ever having difficulty with reading with one exception
in the form of a nasty school librarian who told me in first grade
that I "didn't read that book." You see, I'd taken a book from the "big stacks" and first graders weren't supposed to be able to read those. Bitch. I started writing my first novel -- something really terrible inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars books -- in sixth grade. For the most part I let the writing bug idle until I was in college. I got to write a short story for a Space Colonies course my freshmen year, then did some writing on my own and also for an advanced fiction writing course my junior year. I didn't sell anything I wrote in college but I did start learning to be professional and submitting my stories. Graduate school slowed me down for a few years but I did join a local SF/F writing group ("The Slugtribe")
and started getting serious about writing. I was fortunate enough to
be able to attend the Clarion West Writer's Workshop in the summer of 1994.
Clarion West was a wonderful experience for me though not everyone fares so well. It's basically boot camp for writers for six weeks, writing 5-6 stories, reading and critiquing over 100 stories, living and learning intensely. I'm still in contact with many of my classmates now nearly a decade later and a rather large percentage of us have become successful writers. We've produced over a dozen books and had dozens of short stories published in professional anthologies and magazines. At least half of us are still in there slugging. While the craft acquired at something like Clarion is not to be underestimated, the most important legacy to me has been the friends and professional contacts I made there. Beth Meacham, my editor at Tor, was one of my Clarion instructors and gave me a thumbs-up on the novel synopsis I wrote there. It took me another six or seven years to finish my PhD, hone my craft, and get the actual novel, STAR DRAGON, on her desk.
Mike's Favorite SF/F Novels in no particular order:
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner
The Forever War by Joe Haldeman
Gateway by Frederick Pohl
Replay by Ken Grimwood
Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny
Startide Rising by David Brin
The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
Mike's favorite movies in no particular order:
Southpark: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
Silence of the Lambs
Links of Special interest:
My page on Amazon.com, featuring reviews and my wish list.
The cover artist for my first novel.
The interior illustrator for my first novel.
Praise for Mike Brotherton's Star
"Seldom does a storytelling talent come along as potent and fully mature
as Mike Brotherton. His complex characters take you on a voyage that is
both fiercely credible and astonishingly imaginative. This is Science
-- David Brin
"Star Dragon is terrific fare, offering readers a fusion of hard science
and grand adventure."
-- Locus Magazine
"Star Dragon is steeped in cosmology, the physics of interstellar travel,
exobiology, artificial intelligence, bioscience. Brotherton, author of
many scientific articles in refereed journals, has written a dramatic,
provocative, utterly convincing hard science sf novel that includes an
ironic twist that fans will love."
-- Booklist starred review
"Readers hungry for the thought-provoking extrapolation and rigorous technical
detail of old-fashioned hard SF are sure to enjoy astronomer Brotherton's
-- Publishers Weekly
"Mike Brotherton, himself a trained astrophysicist, combines the technical
acuity and ingenuity of Robert Forward with the ironic, postmodern stance
and style of M. John Harrison. In this, his debut novel, those twin talents
unite to produce a work that is involving on any number of levels. It's
just about all you could ask for in a hardcore SF adventure."
-- Paul di Fillippo,