Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Book signing

DHS's (Dept. Homeland Security) technology division is having a conference this week. They've invited a pack of notable science fiction writers to help them figure out how to close the gaps in our security. These aren't hack writers. These are the ones with a string of advanced degrees.
Arlan Andrews you've probably never heard of. He's done some writing, but not much. He put together a group called Sigma. It's pretty much for the express purpose of having people with imagination and advanced degrees available to consult with the government on what technology to pay attention to. All too often the suits laugh when told what's coming. Sigma is there to tell them "No, really." When DHS said they wanted to hold this conference Sigma was there to provide minds. Most of the people there last night have a history of consulting with NASA and the government on how to direct the space program.
Since they were in town already several of them went to Reiter's bookstore last night to talk and sign stuff. Reiter's is a technical bookstore. They don't sell sci-fi. Why they were hosting I'm not sure. They got some of their more recent works but I still had to run back out to Borders for special orders. I had requests from people who couldn't make it.
Attending were Arlan Andrews, Larry Niven, Greg Bear, Jerry Pournelle, Sage Walker, and a friend of theirs who showed up to say "hi" but got pulled up front since she also had a new book out.

It's kinda funny to watch a pack of sci-fi writers get together. Greg Bear is clearly comfortable with crowds and talked freely. Niven was pretty quiet preferring to let Jerry talk for both of them unless he had a particular story to tell. Jerry Pournelle had just walked from the Ronald Reagan Building so he was all red and sweaty. Combined with his polo shirt, he reminded me of the old guys who would come in for a few beer after playing 18 holes. (I used to work at a golf course) Most things that they talked about devolved into friendly bickering.

Reviews of their books will come over the next few months. Tomorrow I'll review Larry Niven's "Ringworld". Most sci-fi readers will put that book in their top ten best books ever.

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