The European Astrobiology Institute and the European Science Foundation are creating Life Beyond Us: An Original Anthology Of Sf Stories And Science Essays with many well-known SF writers to promote the understanding of science through summer schools, workshops, and outreach projects. Each story is accompanied by an essay (by scientists working on the origins of life, habitability, and life detection) to outline the actual science explored in that story. More than just another anthology, it’s a tool for science education.
To fund publication of the anthology, a Kickstarter is running currently and will end on May 12, 2021. The Kickstarter link is here.
When the Kickstarter funds, it will include stories by Eugen Bacon, Stephen Baxter, Gregory Benford, Tobias S. Buckell, Eric Choi, Julie E. Czerneda, Tessa Fisher, Simone Heller, Valentin Ivanov, Mary Robinette Kowal, Geoffrey A. Landis, Rich Larson, Premee Mohamed, G. David Nordley, Malka Older, Deji Bryce Olukotun, Tomáš Petrásek, Arula Ratnakar, DA Xiaolin Spires, Bogi Takács, and Peter Watts. The anthology will be edited by Julie Nováková, Lucas K. Law, and Susan Forest.
Rewards available for project backers include experiences not available elsewhere:
- A virtual tour of the Very Large Telescope (Atacama Desert, Chile)
- A virtual tour of an astrobiology lab doing microbe research (Extraterrestrial Oceans Habitability Lab)
- A music and astrobiology show
- Helping to design Julie Czerneda’s alien for her next SF novel
- A fun astrobiology talk for your classroom or club
- Conversations with some of the big name authors
- Tuckerizations, swag, Zoom AMAs, and story critiques
European Astrobiology Institute plans to release the book in September 2022: fitting, given that European Space Agency’s rover Rosalind Franklin will be launched to travel to Mars that month.
There are special editions such as the Limited Hardcover (illustrated case-laminated cover, dust jacket, and signed) and Patron Editions (illustrated case-laminated cover, dust jacket, and signed). The Limited Edition and Patron Editions are adorned by interior artwork consisting of 19th century naturalist Ernst Haeckel’s beautiful and mesmerizing illustrations of life on Earth, often stranger than most aliens we can imagine. (Click for larger images.)
For further information, plus a bonus interview with SF author Dr. Gregory Benford, see this update .
What comes to your mind first when you say “astrobiology”?
Benford: Exoplanets in SF, plus cosmology…
Can you hint at what’s your story going to be about?
Benford: Life in the outer solar system.
Is there any place in the universe you’d love to see – where and why?
Benford: Galactic center! I’ve written papers about the vast magnetic structures there and the black hole vicinity.
The Life Beyond Us Kickstarter will last until May 12, 2021. The pledges have already passed the 62% level.
[Based on a press release.]