Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Patrick Chiles

Patrick Chiles began his writing career with the self-published novels Perigee and Farside, which were acquired by Baen Books in 2016. His subsequent novels, 2020’s Frozen Orbit, 2021’s Frontier, and 2023’s Escape Orbit, have established him as a rising talent in the realm of realistic, near-future science fiction. Having a fascination with practical space travel and a love for Cold War technothrillers, his novels feature plausible technology while leveraging his military and airline experience to create stories with engaging, relatable characters on astonishing adventures: “ordinary people, doing extraordinary things.”

Recently I asked Chiles about what he was reading. His reply:
I’m currently picking my way through a few different books, because I’m ADD like that.

First is Joelle Presby’s The Dabare Snake Launcher, about a project to build the world’s first space elevator in east Africa. Its characters and setting are informed by her childhood in Africa as a child of missionary parents, and her fascination with the local’s talent for building amazing things using rudimentary and/or repurposed materials (which kind of defines “Dabare”). It’s a level of resourcefulness we could learn from. It also includes a healthy dose of African mysticism.

I’m also reading Daniel Suarez’s Critical Mass, the second in a series about a private mining expedition to an asteroid that began with Delta V a few years ago. It hits on a lot of the same subjects I like to write about, namely near-future space exploration and expanding our economic base out into the solar system. It’s always fun to see how other writers treat similar subject matter, and this particular subject is one I don’t see enough of.

Finally, I’ve been picking my way through Terry Virts’s How to Astronaut, a collection of anecdotes about his experiences aboard the space shuttle and the International Space Station. It’s light, fun reading and filled with the kinds of insider details that could be useful novel-fodder in the future. Books like this make background research feel a lot less like actual work.
Visit Patrick Chiles's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Patrick Chiles & Frankie and Beanie.

Q&A with Patrick Chiles.

The Page 69 Test: Escape Orbit.

--Marshal Zeringue