A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Monday, May 27, 2013


TOF announcing award.
photo by M. Ventrella

It was my happy duty to attend Balticon this weekend to present the Heinlein Award to Allen Steele and Yoji Kondo.  The Heinlein Society inaugurated the Robert A. Heinlein Award for “outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings to inspire the human exploration of space.”  It is not for any one particular work in any one particular year, but for an author’s body of work, or at least for a significant part of it.  The Award Panel consists of science fiction writers and literature professors at Heinlein’s alma mater, the Naval Academy. 

Allen Steele is well-known for his stories of near space, such novels as Orbital Decay, Clarke County, Space, and Lunar Descent, and my personal favorite collection: Sex and Violence in Zero-G.  He has won three Hugos, which is three more than TOF has managed.  He has also flown NASA's space shuttle cockpit simulator, which is Way Cool. 

TOF, Allen Steele, Yoji Kondo, and Ian Strock
photo by M. Ventrella
Yoji Kondo has also written SF, as "Eric Kotani," but received the award as much for his work as an astrophysicist at NASA and as an advocate for SSTO, RLV, and SPS.  That is, Single-Stage to Orbit launch systems, Reusable Launch Vehicles, and Solar Power Satelites in geosynchronous orbit. 

Yoji was also the first chairman of the Heinlein Award panel, but stepped down this year for reasons of health.  Well, it would have been unseemly for him to give the award to himself.  The choice had been made by the rest of the panel without his knowledge.  So the panel gathered behind TOF's back and unanimously chose him to be the new chairman.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.  

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