Baen Memorial Contest Opens

Baen Books has opened the 2015 Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award contest. Co-sponsored by the National Space Society, the contest focuses on stories of near-future space exploration. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2015.

The grand prize includes publication on the Baen website at professional rates, an engraved award, an assortment of Baen books, free admission to the 2015 International Space Development Conference, a year’s membership in the National Space Society, and National Space Society merchandise. The winners will be honored at the 2015 International Space Development Conference in Toronto, Canada, May 20-24, 2015.

Eligibility requirements and more information.

NSS Remembers Long-Time Member Frederik Pohl

Frederik Pohl, a long-time member and supporter of the National Space Society (NSS) and one of the great science fiction authors of the late 20th century, died Monday, September 2, 2013. He was 93.

Karen Mermel, Vice President for Development at NSS stated, “Fred often spoke at NSS chapter events and represented NSS on panels, including one with astronaut Jim Lovell to discuss the benefits of space exploration. Fred was a personal friend and a staunch NSS supporter who wholeheartedly believed in our goals and mission.”

Pohl was known as a dark humorist and satirist in novels such asThe Space Merchants (1953) and Gladiator-at-Law (1955). Both were written with frequent collaborator C. M. Kornbluth.

His long career included writing novels and short stories, editing, and being a literary agent for science fiction writers. He won three Hugo awards, was named a grand master of the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1992, and was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 1998.

Born November 26, 1919, in New York City, Pohl was an early science fiction fan who served as editor of Astonishing Stories and Super Science Stories in 1939-43; in the 1970s, he edited the magazines Galaxy and If.

1977’s Gateway was one of Pohl’s many books that explored human space exploration after overpopulation and the depletion of Earth’s resources; the Times called it an “adventurous, extrapolative, and insightful novel.” As far back as the 1950s, Pohl edited science fiction anthologies, something he continued to do throughout his life to bring attention to other writers’ work. He published a memoir, The Way the Future Was, in the late 1970s, and continued the story in the 21st century online with The Way the Future Blogs.

Elizabeth Ann Hull (Betty), Fred’s wife, says she’ll be planning a memorial for Fred in the next six months or so. That way all friends and fans will be able to attend.

Frederik Pohl, Courtesy Fred Fox Studios, Ltd.
Frederik Pohl, Courtesy Fred Fox Studios, Ltd.

NSS Mourns Passing of Ray Bradbury, Author and NSS Space Pioneer Award Recipient

The National Space Society mourns the loss of legendary author and visionary, Ray D. Bradbury, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 91.

The author of more than 50 books, Bradbury’s works encompassed many genres, including science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. He is most widely known for his novels, The Martian Chronicles (1950), The Illustrated Man (1951), and Fahrenheit 451 (1953).

Through his vivid writing style and great imagination, many readers have been introduced to concepts such as human settlement on Mars. This has inspired great interest in that topic, stirring the imaginations of many NSS members, and has certainly contributed to the start of many careers in the sciences, and in the aerospace field in particular. His writing has helped us to better understand what it is to be human, as well as the pressing need for us to be ever mindful stewards of the future that is yet to unfold.

In appreciation and recognition of his lifetime body of work in fantasy writing, including a significant amount of science fiction, such as The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury was awarded the NSS’s prestigious Space Pioneer Award for Mass Media in 2010.

The entire NSS membership mourns his loss, and extends its condolences to the Bradbury family.

NSS Competitions for 2010 -2011

podcast

For all of you space enthusiasts out there, listen to this podcast by National Space Society member Lynne Zielinski as she discusses contests for students. Lynne teaches at Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook Illinois, and the podcast provides details on competitions sponsored by the National Space Society.

1. NASA/NSS Space Settlement Student Design Contest (for grades 6-12)

NASA Ames Research Center in conjunction with the National Space Society sponsors an annual space settlement design contest for 6-12th grade students. Each spring students send their designs for homes in space for judging by NASA engineers and scientists. The contest has inspired thousands of students and helped hundreds of teachers bring the excitement of space settlement to the youth of America and the world.

2. International Space Settlement Design Competition (for high school)

This contest puts high school students in the shoes of aerospace industry engineers designing a city in space that will be a home for over 10,000 people. Student engineers demonstrate creativity, technical competence, management skills, space environment knowledge, teamwork, and presentation techniques to conquer the problems inherent in siting and designing a Space Settlement (aka Space Colony).

3. Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards (for high school)

The Spirit of Innovation Awards program challenges teams of high school students to create innovative products using science, technology, and entrepreneurship to solve 21st century, real-world problems. Eligible students may compete on teams in any of three Challenge Categories.

4. Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest (any age)

Since its early days, science fiction has played a unique role in human civilization. It removes the limits of what “is” and shows us a boundless vista of what “might be.” Its fearless heroes, spectacular technologies and wondrous futures have inspired many people to make science, technology and space flight a real part of their lives and in doing so, have often transformed these fictions into reality. The National Space Society and Baen Books applaud the role that science fiction plays in advancing real science and have teamed up to sponsor this short fiction contest in memory of Jim Baen.