NASA Partners with Science Fiction Publisher

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) may no longer have the resources to send astronauts to space or the vehicles to do so now that the Shuttle program has been retired.  It may have had to postpone its ambitious plans to return to the moon or to send Americans safely to Mars now that those programs have been shelved.  Nevertheless, it still wants to inspire the next generation of dreamers, the future space explorers, engineers, astronomers, and other scientists, so NASA is partnering with the publishing house Tor to create a series of branded science fiction books

If fact is no longer feasible, at least for the time being and the forseeable future, then maybe fiction will keep the dream of human space exploration alive. Many notable figures in the space program proudly confess that science fiction stories inspired them to pursue their careers in the hope of turning make-believe into reality, so NASA's logic in jumping into the speculative fiction business is understandable -- if real life American missions to space are becoming a rarity, then maybe it will take some fictional scenarios (however far-fetched) to grab the public's imagination and stir up some support for funding of future projects.

Tor Books is a suitable partner since its specialty is fantasy and science fiction.  It has published books by best-selling and award-winning authors, such as Larry Niven, Cory Doctorow, Orson Scott Card, Brandon Sanderson, Richard Matheson, Robert Reed, and many others.  Will it be able to deliver quality novels bearing the NASA brand or will it just be fluff?

The best science fiction tackles big questions and does not shy away from occasional controversial topics, whether politics, religion, race, sexuality, or countless other ideas and issues.  Can NASA-sponsored fiction be anything more than "play-it-safe" tales?

Will the stories be bold and imaginative as the classics of yesteryear were?  If they end up being boring, afraid to take chances, or force-feeding its readers only institutional agendas, they will likely inspire few people and fail in their goal.

Yet, if they succeed and manage to deliver their message in exciting, thought-provoking new ways, people will use those fictional stories as motivation to make NASA relevant again, if not now, then at least in the future.

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