Allen M. Steele On Arkwright, Science Fiction’s History And Space Travel

We really dug Allen M. Steele’s Arkwright, a novel that spans centuries, and talks exactly how science fiction can inspire scientists to change the world.

After reading it, we spoke with Steele about just went into the novel.



Allen M. Steele's "Arkwright"

Nathan Arkwright is a seminal author of the twentieth century. At the end of his life he becomes reclusive and cantankerous, refusing to appear before or interact with his legion of fans. Little did anyone know, Nathan was putting into motion his true, timeless legacy. Convinced that humanity cannot survive on Earth, his Arkwright Foundation dedicates itself to creating a colony on an Earth-like planet several light years distant. Fueled by Nathan's legacy, generations of Arkwrights are drawn together, and pulled apart, by the enormity of the task and weight of their name


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Arkwright is a sweeping story that spans centuries: tell us a little about what inspired it.

 I’d been kicking around the essential idea for the first part of the novel, “The Legion of Tomorrow”, for quite a few years, doing research between whatever else I was writing at the time. But no editor was interested in a novel about the history of the science fiction genre , and after awhile it occurred to me that the only way I’d ever get to publish this story was if I wrote it in the context of a science fiction novel … that is, a novel about science fiction that becomes a SF novel itself.

Then a few years ago, I was invited to the Starship Century Symposium at the University of California-San Diego’s Arthur C. Clarke Center. This was the follow up to the 100 Year Starship conference in Florida a couple of years earlier, and once again the organizers, Greg and Jim Benford, brought in a broad range of scientists and writers to discuss the prospects for interstellar travel in this century.

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