Twitter Facebook Email
New England Science Fiction Association
January 20, 2021

B58 Mini Interviews with Sarah Smith, Steve Miller, and Les Johnson

Welcome back to the Boskone 58 Mini Interview Series! Get to know some of the top authors, scientists, artists, and creators in the science fiction, fantasy and horror industry, why they’re looking forward to Boskone, and perhaps a sneak peek at what they’re working on next.

In honor of Boskone going virtual this year, we had a great idea about our mini interview series… video responses! Find out which one of our participants decided to give the video response a go on this week’s Boskone 58 Mini Interview Series with Sarah Smith, Steve Miller, and Les Johnson!

Sarah Smith

Remember that book about Titanic? It’s done! It’s published! Crimes and Survivors, the newest in her Edwardian mystery series, came out April 15, 2020. If you’re thinking about survival or multiculturalism now, you may want to read it; available on bookshop.org or wherever fine books are sold. Sarah Smith’s books have won the Agatha for best teenage mystery, the Massachusetts Book Award for best teenage novel, and numerous other honors, including NY Times Notables and various Best Book of the Year lists. They are published in 14 languages and have reached bestseller status here and abroad. She’s working on a 19C Brazilian fantasy, with pirates, talking eagles, and colonialism, and is delighted by the number of major characters she’s killed in the last couple of months. FB and Twitter sarahwriter; on Pinterest, swrs; www.sarahsmith.com

Visit Sarah Smith on their Facebook, Twitter, Website, Pinterest, and Instagram!

VIDEO RESPONSE!

What you most looking forward to at virtual Boskone 58?

Because Boskone?s virtual this year, people who NEVER COME are coming. CONNIE WILLIS. She wrote the most original book about Titanic ever, Passage. Which inspired me to write my newest mystery, Crimes and Survivors, about Titanic and Jim Crow. In both books, finding truth, like magic, has a huge cost, and like magic,finding truth is magic. Thank you, Connie Willis! Connie Willis, Max Gladstone, Allen Steele and I are talking on Friday about Michael Crichton, technothrillers, and clumsy but effective ways of writing stories.

If you were planning a holiday or vacation and could visit any location, whether in the real world or fictional worlds, where would you go? Why? 

My new story toy is about a polyamorous man who?s in love with a straight man, two women, a country, and a giant eagle. I?m researching a 19C steampunk Venice, governed by a madman and on the verge of revolution. It?s kind of great I can?t go to actual Venice now, because it?s forcing me to think outside the Venice box?to Google Earth and DeviantArt and old Scientific American illustrations. I put together a Pinterest board. You know that thing at the bottom that says ?More like this?? So useful. But I am going to Venice when I can, because as Connie Willis says, you learn things when you go there.

Authors, artists, and creators often listen to music while they work. If you have a playlist you’d like to share or an album to recommend, please add it here. We’ll be compiling a list of lists to help Boskone attendees get their creative juices flowing. 

 Music for Criminals and Survivors

What are you currently working on? Any new releases that fans should know about?

By Boskone my dining-table publishing house expects to have new editions of all the FUTURE BOSTON books, including a new novel, Jon Burrowes’ VUBRE THE GREAT.

*

Steve Miller

Steve Miller is a former journalist, publisher, con-runner, and librarian who writes SF, mostly in the bestselling Liaden Universe® shared with Sharon Lee. He survived Clarion West in 1973, is a life member of SFWA, and has participated in SF conventions as a fan, librarian, art agent, and author. Steve’s first pro work appeared in Ted White’s Amazing in the 1970s. Later Steve and partner Sharon Lee started Bookcastle & Dreamsgarth, Inc., a bookstore and SF art agency. In 1988 Lee & Miller’s Agent of Change was published and they moved to Maine, where they became ebook and online publishing pioneers. Steve is author or co-author of 30 plus SF and fantasy novels as well as dozens of shorter works, garnering a number of awards and numerous invitations as Guest of Honor, Special Guest, and panelist at SF conventions across North America. Steve and Sharon are currently working on a multi-book contract for Baen. Their most recent novel is Trader’s Leap, (December 2020) in hardback, audio, and ebook formats. Ambient Condition: Adventures in the Liaden Universe® No. 31 is a recent Pinbeam Books chapbook.

Visit Steve Miller on their Facebook, TwitterWebsite, and Patreon!

What you most looking forward to at virtual Boskone 58?

Just getting a chance to catch up with the people I haven’t seen for over a year even vicariously or virtually — is pretty exciting. … we missed last Boskone for multiple medical reasons and have been extra-isolated so getting a look at old faces and new is looking good.

If you were planning a holiday or vacation and could visit any location, whether in the real world or fictional worlds, where would you go? Why? 

For a grand holiday I’d love to take a train trip across Canada and then circumnavigate the US, all via rail, starting and ending the trip at the AMTRAK station in Brunswick, Maine. We’ve got thousands — closing in on a hundred thousand if I calculate right — of rail miles under our belts and love the experience. In general we enjoy the relatively low key travel, the chance to have a certain amount of pampering, and meeting other train travelers. We might even see some AMTRAK folks we’ve met on multiple trips and get to eat at some neat near-trackside restaurants.

In case you can’t tell, I’d be looking for relaxation rather than excitement here, and train trips seem to recharge my batteries pretty well.

Authors, artists, and creators often listen to music while they work. If you have a playlist you’d like to share or an album to recommend, please add it here. We’ll be compiling a list of lists to help Boskone attendees get their creative juices flowing. 

To get revved up to write? Vanilla Fudge Near the Beginning, or any three Grateful Dead albums.

What are you currently working on? Any new releases that fans should know about?

New? December from Baen: the hardcover Trader’s Leap, 23rd novel in the Liaden Universe®. In November, Ambient Conditions, a Pinbeam Books chapbook. Accepting The Lance in mass market in October. During 2020 we released two other books through Pinbeam, Splinter Universe Presents, a compilation of items previously available on our Splinter Universe site, and then The Wrong Lance, a look at how Accepting the Lance almost went off the metaphorical rails.

Meanwhile, the next Liaden books due to be turned are two “Jethri books” according to our fans, since he’s central to both. They take place several hundred years prior to the original seven. They are still Works in Progress, due RSN, alas — yes, overdue, but we’re working on them.

*

Les Johnson

Les Johnson is a physicist, author, and NASA technologist. He is an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics, a Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, and a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the National Space Society, and MENSA. Publisher’s Weekly noted that “The spirit of Arthur C. Clarke and his contemporaries is alive and well…” when describing Les’s 2018 novel, Mission to Methone. His 2018 non-fiction book, with co-author Joe Meany, Graphene: The Superstrong, Superthin, and Superversatile Material That Will Revolutionize the World was reviewed in the journal Nature and excerpted in American Scientist. His latest anthology, Stellaris: People of the Stars, was published by Baen Books in September 2019. In his day job, Les is a Principal Investigator of two interplanetary solar sail space missions at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The first, Near Earth Asteroid Scout, scheduled for spaceflight in 2021, will use a 925 square foot solar sail to propel a small spacecraft to rendezvous with an asteroid. The second, Solar Cruiser, will demonstrate the ability of an 18,000 square foot solar sail-propelled spacecraft to perform scientific observations of the sun if it selected for flight in 2024.

Visit Les Johnson on their Facebook, Twitter, and Website!

What you most looking forward to at virtual Boskone 58?

Being among my fellow fans. As many of us, attending a few cons throughout the year is like getting a battery recharge. 2020?s wholesale cancellation of in-person cons, with only a few having the resources to attempt virtual, left me with a nearly-depleted battery. Being a southerner, who mainly attends southern conventions, being invited to participate in Boskone will give me a chance to meet and interact with new people ? with whom I hope to establish new friendships that can be later fulfilled when in-person events return.

If you were planning a holiday or vacation and could visit any location, whether in the real world or fictional worlds, where would you go? Why? 

In the tradition of the venerable Voyager spacecraft, whose original mission was to conduct a ?Grand Tour? of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, I would board love to take a 6-month long cruise of the outer solar system. The trip would begin with a stop-over at the main belt asteroids Ceres and Vesta, followed by a lengthy visit to Jupiter, with excursions to Europa, Io, Ganymede, and Callisto. Next on the itinerary would be an in- and out-of-plane flyby of Saturn and its rings, with a special event touring the (perhaps) hollow Saturnian moon, Methone. The trip would conclude with a flyby of Uranus and a visit to the Neptune meteorological station studying the Great Blue Spot. The trip of a lifetime!

Authors, artists, and creators often listen to music while they work. If you have a playlist you’d like to share or an album to recommend, please add it here. We’ll be compiling a list of lists to help Boskone attendees get their creative juices flowing. 

Alas, I am too easily distracted and cannot listen to music while I write!

What are you currently working on? Any new releases that fans should know about?

I have had a busy year, both with my day job at NASA and with my strictly personal (not connected to my employer/work) book writing.

On the author front, my next novel with co-author Travis Taylor, Saving Proxima, is the first book in a 3-book fiction series about first contact and learning our place in the universe (to be published in hardcover on August 3, 2021). My next solo novel, Displaced!, is almost complete ? no publication date is yet set. Finally, I am working on a non-fiction book about interstellar travel for Princeton University Press that will be published sometime in late 2021.

At NASA, I am the Principal Investigator on two deep-space solar sail missions. The first, Near Earth Asteroid Scout, will be launched in September 2021 for a 2-year mission to flyby and study an asteroid. The second, Solar Cruiser, will demonstrate a 17,000 square foot solar sail when it launches in early 2025.

*

Curious about who else is coming to Boskone 58? With 3 days of over 100 top-notch items paired with top authors, scientists, artists, and creators in the science fiction, fantasy and horror industry, you won’t want to miss out. Join your fellow fans and writers by registering today!

Register for Boskone 57!
Don’t miss out! Register for Boskone 58 today!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *