Mission over

In its year-long mission to explore– On second thoughts, let’s not go there. Rocket Science, an original anthology of hard science fiction and non-fiction, was launched on 9 April 2012 and now, one year later, it’s time to say goodbye to this blog. The book still exists and continues to sell – and yes, an ebook edition will be made available sometime during 2013.

Source: NASA

Source: NASA

Rocket Science has done well. It published some excellent fiction and non-fiction – even if I say so myself. One of the non-fiction articles, Karen Burnham’s ‘The Complexity of the Humble Spacesuit’ was even shortlisted for the BSFA Award in the non-fiction category. Sadly, it didn’t win, and the award went to the World SF Blog (a worthy winner, nonetheless). Given that one of the stories in Mutation Press’s first anthology, Music for Another World, was also shortlisted for a BSFA Award, that’s quite an achievement for a small press.

I had fun, and I learnt a lot, editing Rocket Science. I tried to make the selection process as transparent as possible and, from the comments I received, many people found that useful. I also had fun writing posts on relevant topics for this blog. But Rocket Science News has served its purpose and now it’s time to roll it up. It’ll stay up for the time-being, but I won’t be adding to it or posting anything new.


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New Rocket Science review

The latest copy of Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association, landed on my doormat at the end of last week. No. 217, Winter 2012, includes a review of Rocket Science by Alastair Reynolds. He writes:

There are no bad stories here – even the clunkiest … has the saving grace of being likeable, which is no mean achievement. But perhaps the best story in the book, and the one that closes the volume, is the piece most clearly fixated on the past, Sean Martin’s ‘Dreaming at Baikonur’.


source: Torque Control

Alastair also describes ‘Dancing on the Red Planet’ as “surreal but note-perfect”, ‘Tell Me A Story’ as “charming”, ‘Pathfinders’ as “bleakly clever” and highlights ‘The Complexity of the Humble Spacesuit’ as the best of “a generally excellent bunch” of non-fiction pieces.

I can live with that…


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BSFA Award Shortlist

Excellent news! Karen Burnham’s ‘The Complexity of the Humble Spacesuit’ has been shortlisted for the BSFA Non-fiction Award.  The shortlists were announced today, and the winners will be announced at EightSquared, the 2013 Eastercon, Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford on 30 March 2013.

Congratulations to Karen. And fingers crossed for the night.

Source: Mirriam-Webster Visual Dictionary Online

Source: Mirriam-Webster Visual Dictionary Online

Novels, short stories, artwork and non-fiction are nominated by the members of the British Science Fiction Association. The shortlists will also be voted on by BSFA members, and by attendees at EightSquared.


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New review of Rocket Science

Strange Horizons has published a review of Rocket Science, written by Dan Hartland. As is usually the case for Strange Horizons, it’s a long and in-depth review, and it says, among other things that “there are, it must be re-emphasised, good stories here”, and that Rocket Science is “a diverting attempt not so much to reimagine silly old science fiction and its continuing attachment to a Jetsons paradigm, but to consider what spaceflight means to us today, in our changing and challenging world”.

I can’t quote every comment made on every story or piece of non-fiction, but…

Karen Burnham’s gloriously detailed – and thoroughly awe-inspiring – ‘The Complexity of the Humble Spacesuit’

… and …

David L Clements’s account of his real-life involvement in the launch of a satellite is as gripping as any fiction

Source: NASA

Source: NASA

… and …

Sam S Kepfield’s entertaining and convincing alternative Soviet history, ‘Not Because They are Easy’

… and ….

One of the collection’s most inventive stories is Stephen Palmer’s ‘A Biosphere Ends’

The full review can be found here.

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The Best Hard SF Anthology of the Year?

Which hard sf anthology did the Guardian newspaper describe as “superb”? Was it Edge of Infinity, the “sequel” anthology to 2010’s Engineering Infinity, both of which were edited by Jonathan Strahan? I think not.

It was Rocket Science.


Rocket Science cover art

If you’re going to throw around a term like “the best hard sf anthology of the year”, and you think it’s a toss-up between Edge of Infinity and Baen’s Going Interstellar, well, you’d be wrong. It’s not about the marquee names on the cover or in the TOC. It’s about the stories.

So if you’re a fan of hard sf short fiction, and you don’t own a copy of Rocket Science, then you need to rectify that immediately. Because you can’t make any claims to “best of the year” if you’ve never bothered to read the first hard sf original fiction anthology to be published in 2012.


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Life after Rocket Science

If you want to read more by some of Rocket Science‘s contributors, this November is a good month for it. First up, Berit Ellingsen has a new collection out, Beneath the Liquid Skin, from firthFORTH Books. You can find it here.

Beneath the Liquid Skin cover art

Also out this month is issue 38 of Jupiter magazine. This one is subtitled Pasithee. It contains a story by CJ Paget, and a poem by Yours Truly. You can order a copy from here.

Cover art by David Conyers

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Rocket Science in America

Rocket Science contributor Eric Choi was at Capclave, the Washington Science Fiction Association’s annual convention, during the weekend 12 – 14 October. He had copies of Rocket Science with him, and was signing them for buyers. He’s sent me a photograph:

credit: Eric Choi

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