Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Edward M. Lerner

Edward M. Lerner worked in high tech and aerospace for thirty years, as everything from engineer to senior vice president, for much of that time writing science fiction as his hobby. Since 2004, he has written full-time.

His novels range from near-future techno-thrillers, like Small Miracles and Energized, to traditional SF, like Déjà Doomed and his InterstellarNet series, to (collaborating with Larry Niven) the space-opera epic Fleet of Worlds series. Lerner’s 2015 novel, InterstellarNet: Enigma, won the inaugural Canopus Award “honoring excellence in interstellar writing.” His fiction has also been nominated for Locus, Prometheus, and Hugo awards.

Lerner’s short fiction has appeared in anthologies, collections, and many of the usual SF magazines and websites. He also writes about science and technology, notably including Tropeing the Light Fantastic: The Science Behind the Fiction.

Lerner's latest novel is Life and Death on Mars.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I write science fiction for a living. It’ll surprise no one that I read a lot of science and SF: for enjoyment, as research, and to stay current on trends in my genre.

I also enjoy reading that has nothing to do with science, fictional or otherwise. Consider this (anyway, I do) a mental palate cleanser. Two such books from my recent reading particularly stand out.

I’ll begin with The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America, by Walter R. Borneman. Having lived for almost thirty years on the East Coast, I can’t help but be interested in events that shaped this region—and so, the continent. More than informative, this history is grippingly well written. Well aware how the war turned out (how many of us in North America don’t speak French?), I still often found the book difficult to put down. If you ever wondered what qualified George Washington to later lead the Continental Army, this is your book—and he’s only one of the many consequential figures whom Borneman presents.

The other book I’ll mention, Tim Mason’s The Nightingale Affair, is historical fiction. It’s a clever mystery set mainly in Istanbul during the Crimean War. The nightingale of the title is Florence Nightingale. While not the main character, she is prominent throughout the novel. Intriguing mystery aside, the book’s aura of time and place are remarkable, just as the portrayal of the rebellious Ms. Nightingale was absorbing.

Hmm. I’ve committed time-travel and alternate-history fiction before. Maybe my subconscious is telling me something.
Learn more about the author and his work at his website.

Q&A with Edward M. Lerner.

My Book, The Movie: Life and Death on Mars.

The Page 69 Test: Life and Death on Mars.

--Marshal Zeringue