Check them out here. No spoilers. Not many, anyway.
I noticed this blog entry by Dr. Robin Anne Reid:
On a creative procrastination note, behind the cut is my list of books for my fall online graduate science fiction course (which is tied to a university initiative where sf will be the focus of two sections of 201 which will be ‘tied’ to an astronomy class–which has 60-65 students, so the same students will be in lit and astronomy–that’s a complicated situation I’ll have to explain later). The list is a bit long, but there are some books it may not be possible to get ahold of, and if it is, not everybody will be reading all the books. Because of the complicated relationship to the core cluster, the books are primarily astronomically oriented hard sf.
Diamonds in the Sky
Funded by a National Science Foundation Grant
Teaching astronomy through SF!
You can find it here, with this to say among other things:
The view from inside the HVF dataset was awesome! Not only was it fun reading about it, but it helps provide people with an interesting way to comprehend the magnitudes of distance in our universe – and that is very cool.
I think the anthology is working…
We’ve started getting hits from professors using the stories in their astronomy classes. Cool! That’s one of our goals, and we hope that continues. Sometimes a story can ground a concept better in the mind than a very clear but abstract passage in a textbook.
“Jaiden’s Weaver” falls in that category, and it is as good an example of YA science fiction as has seen print since Robert Heinlein was still with us. Set on a habitable ringed planet, “Jaiden’s Weaver” illustrates the concept of planetary rings. The rings come into play, but the story is mainly about a young woman, Jaiden, desperate to acquire her own teddy bear spider. Her earnestness will put veteran SF readers in mind of Kip from Have Space Suit–Will Travel, yet the tale feels fresh, particularly when Jaiden starts giving parental advice, and should appeal to contemporary young readers.
I enjoyed “Jaiden’s Weaver” from start to finish, and now I can’t wait to read it to my daughter.
Thank you for helping to spread the word and please continue to do so.
Etc. A whole bunch more. Again, thanks for spreading the word.
I presented a poster paper about this idea at the January 2005 American Astronomical Society meeting in San Diego, California. The AAS held a special session on using the Humanities to Teach Science. David Brin also attended and gave a memorable talk to a standing-room-only crowd. My abstract is still online, and here it is, spelling corrected, if you don’t feel like clicking a link:
[112.04] Diamonds in the Sky
M. Brotherton (Wyoming)
My first science fiction novel, Star Dragon, just recently available in paperback from Tor, features a voyage to the cataclysmic variable star system SS Cygni. My second novel, Spider Star, to appear early in 2006, takes place in and around a dark matter “planet” orbiting a neutron star. Both novels are “hard” science fiction, relying on accurate physics to inform the tales. It’s possible to bring to life abstract concepts like special relativity, and alien environments like accretion disks, by using science fiction. Novels are difficult to use in a science class, but short stories offer intriguing possibilities. I’m planning to edit an anthology of hard science fiction stories that contain accurate science and emphasize fundamental ideas in modern astronomy. The working title is Diamonds in the Sky. The collection will be a mix of original stories and reprints, highlighting challenging concepts covered in a typical introductory astronomy course. Larry Niven’s classic story, “Neutron Star,” is an excellent demonstration of extreme tidal forces in an astronomical context. Diamonds in the Sky will include forwards and afterwards to the stories, including discussion questions and mathematical formulas/examples as appropriate. I envision this project will be published electronically or through a print-on-demand publisher, providing long-term availability and keeping low cost. I encourage interested parties to suggest previously published stories, or to suggest which topics must be included.