Ep. 347: Live from Balticon!

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This episode is sponsored by: Swinburne Astronomy Online, 8th Light

Show Notes

UPDATE: Due to the untimely death of P.G. Holyfield, the contest has been delayed, but will go on. We’ll provide more details as to the timing/deadlines.

  • BaltiCon
    P.G. Holyfield
  • P.G.’s website
  • “Murder at Avedon Hill”
  • NaNoWriMo
  • “Hanny and the Mystery of the Vorverp”
  • Free Wifi On Mars
  • OSIRIS-REx
  • Dawn Mission
  • CosmoQuest Citizen Science
  • Lava Tubes on the Moon — NASA
  • Google Lunar XPRIZE
  • 365 Days of Astronomy podcast
  • 365 Days of Astronomy, Space Stories
  • Astronomy in Lord of the Rings — i09
  • Info about Pamela’s challenge to write a short story about asteroids
  • Transcript

    Transcription services provided by: GMR Transcription

    Announcer: This episode of Astronomy Cast is brought to you by Swinburne Astronomy Online, the world’s longest-running online astronomy degree program. Visit Astronomy.swin.edu.au for more information.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: Hello, and welcome to Astronomy Cast Live from BaltiCon. I am Dr. Pamela Gay, and with me this week, not as always, I have a special guest. I have author P.G. Holyfield, who has done a whole variety of different projects exploring all the different parts of new media and talking literature and space and science and driving other people to write. And can you tell our audience a little bit about some of your different projects?

    P.G. Holyfield: Sure. Thank you. I’m mainly known for a podcast novel that I did, Murder at Avadon Hill, that was later picked up by a publisher. I’ve done short-story anthology through that website.

    Over the last three or four years, I’ve been working on SpecFicMedia.com. We have a couple podcasts there currently, one being Beyond the Wall, which is a Game of Thrones podcast. We have a live show here tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. if you’re interested in that.

    I’ve also done a couple of different NaNoWriMo-inspired podcasts. The last one, Pamela helped out with, which was called, Living NaNoWriMo, where we did Google Hangouts and ? I don’t even know if we were doing hangouts or just something ? yeah, I guess we were doing ?

    Dr. Pamela Gay: Yeah, we were hanging out from there.

    P.G. Holyfield: ? we were doing Google Hangouts, which you end up being a YouTube show where we were attempting to succeed at NaNoWriMo, which is National Novel Writing Month for those that may not know that, and just sort of following our progress and talking about writing and the real-life things that come and get in our way when we attempt to write.

    Announcer: This episode of Astronomy Cast is brought to you by 8th Light, Inc. 8th Light is an agile software development company. They craft beautiful applications that are durable and reliable. 8th Light provides discipline software leadership on demand and shares its expertise to make your project better. For more information, visit them online at www.8thlight.com. Just remember, that’s W-W-W, dot, the digit 8, T-H-L-I-G-H-T, dot com. Drop them a note. 8th Light: Software is their craft.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And I know, P.G., from the early days of podcasting when we were all figuring out this strange new technology, and he was part of Podiobooks back then, which came from Evo Terra and Chris Miller, and as all of us have grown up in this community, coming to cons, getting to know each other, transitioning to Google Hangouts, one of the things that I’ve loved as a scientist is I occasionally get invited to attempt to write fiction.

    But much more often, I get asked all sorts of, “Is this legit? How can I do this? Can you help me figure this out? I need an idea to do foo.” And I know you periodically come to me and to Noisy Astronomer Nicole Gugliucci. And as an author, what’s the process like to realize writing, writing, writing, need plot device that is sciency, find scientist. What goes through your head in a more complicated form than that?

    P.G. Holyfield: That pretty much [inaudible] [00:03:35]. I don’t get much more complicated than that. I like writing ? sort of mixing genres, so my first novel was basically a murder mystery but set in a fantasy world, so it had all the trappings of just a medieval murder mystery but had magic and monsters and gods and that sort of thing, as well.

    So I had an idea ? or the main example of working with you is, a couple years ago, I had an idea of doing sort of a murder mystery but on a spaceship. And so, while the science wasn’t the primary ? you know, it wasn’t hard sci-fi in the respect of the center of this is about space travel, I needed to have the mechanisms, or I wanted to have the mechanisms be valid of the things that are going on in the story, why they’re traveling, how they’re traveling.

    And so I contacted Pamela, and I said, “Can we work on this? Can I ask you questions?” Always receptive on that, and we worked together on that. That was one of my NaNoWriMo projects, and though I haven’t finished the book yet, it was always successful as far as trying to figure things out and work with you.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: As an author, how do you decide, “It’s time for me to ask questions,” versus, “It’s time for me to read Wikipedia”?

    P.G. Holyfield: Actually, it’s the other way around. I find that I dive down this hole of Wikipedia or whatever, trying to find the science, and I spend ten times as much time doing research than actually writing.

    And so you take sort of the two-pronged approach of, “Insert placeholder here to explain the propulsion engine that’s gonna get the spaceships going,” rather than doing research of what might happen in the next 50 years when it comes to this sort of thing, and then the other prong of that being, okay, stop just looking at these pages and call Pamela and ask for options and go from there.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And one of the reasons that I wanted to have P.G. on is one of the great things that we’ve got to do with all of our projects is work with all of these diverse talents. And, sometimes, we find really neat side things to do. So, a couple of years ago, we did a CrowdSource comic book, Hanny & the Mystery of the Voorwerp.

    A few years ago, right here at BaltiCon, we did an Iron Writers Challenge where we had Scott Sigler and Mur Lafferty and Christiana Ellis and Nathan Lowell subjected to a science lecture via Skype. And the connection sucked, so we tortured them for one hour, teaching them new concepts in science, teaching them about how material falling into a black hole emits vast amounts of light and really interesting ways that then can get reflected off of otherwise completely invisible clouds of gas between galaxies.

    So we subjected them to this science, new science at the time, and then said, “Now, write a story,” and not only did we say that, we handed them the print that could go on the back of the storybook. So we tortured them with abstracts in science and told them to then write in front of a live audience and read at the end. It was kind of cool because they actually came up with some really amazing stories.

    They went home, they finished them, and we produced Free Wi-Fi on Mars, which is available online at FreeWiFionMars.org, or for those of you who are here live, we have a bunch of them out at our table in the fan table section, so you can go pick this up. And we took their stories, and we turned it into a graphical anthology.

    Well, the reason we have that table here and the reason we’ll have a table at Dragon Con and at Convergence and GeekGirlCon and at the Kansas City Makers Fair is because we’re trying to engage all of you in doing science and mapping out our solar system. We are building maps of the moon, of Mars, of Vesta.

    We’re looking in the future to work with this amazingly named mission called OSIRIS-Rex that’s gonna go and bring back part of the asteroid Bennu. We are currently waiting hungrily for the mission Dawn to get to the asteroid Ceres, a formerly named planet. It got demoted the same way Pluto did, but it did it first. So, next year, in 2015, Dawn gets to Ceres, and we’re gonna map out that asteroid. And, as we’re looking to the future and as we’re doing all of this science, we’re always finding new ways to get you interested.

    And I know I got sucked into astronomy because of Battlestar Galactica because I was that kind of a little kid. I was watching this, in retrospect, not amazingly intellectually stimulating science-fiction show, but I was five. It was cool. And all the characters had these names that were like gods, Apollo, Athena, all of these different names, Cassiopeia, and then there was Starbuck.

    And I wasn’t willing to read Moby Dick as an elementary school child, but I could read all of the Greek myths. And then I realized, “Wait, all of the constellations are named after the ?” and I went down the rabbit hole of the library, following the word Apollo until I landed in the Apollo asteroids. And I followed Cassiopeia until I landed in the stars.

    And it was science fiction that brought me to science. And so I’m always looking for ways to use science fiction to bring more people to science.

    And so we’ve done a project with galaxies. We’ve done another project with galaxies. And the next thing we really wanna do is take on rocks falling from space, rocks traveling through space, giant rocks you can hollow out and turn into spacecraft, rocks you can mine for metals.

    P.G. Holyfield: Which is what you gave me for my novel was, “This is how they can travel, mined-out asteroids.”

    Dr. Pamela Gay: Yeah. And we have the opportunity to produce all sorts of different things. So we actually want to write our own challenge, and our challenge is to you, our audience in the room and out in the real world, to create a short story focused on asteroid science of some sort. And this is something I know I’m challenging P.G. with, as well, in hopes that we can work our way towards doing a planetarium show. And do you want to say anything about this? He’s nodding his head, which no one can hear on the internet.

    P.G. Holyfield: Yeah, this sounds great. So describe the science first of what we will be writing about.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: So asteroids are basically the leftover stuff that didn’t quite make it into making planets. The small ones are literally just these fairly homogenous masses of minerals, gas and dust that froze together, stuck together, chemically bonded.

    And over the billions of years that our solar system has been here, in a few cases, some really slow chemical reactions have taken place, creating these minerals. In a few cases, some really fast ones have happened, solar flares, radiation incidents, and just the cooling of the molten stuff that made our solar system into the frozen stuff that currently builds it.

    These rocks in space, some of them are the size of pebbles, and when they shoot through our atmosphere, they create, well; they create what we call falling stars, meteor showers. Sometimes, they’re a little bit bigger, and they do things like break all the windows in a city, as has happened in Chelyabinsk last year.

    And, sometimes, when they’re really big, they do things like kill dinosaurs, and they kill dinosaurs in ways that I think most people in this room haven’t thought about. Most of us, when we think about asteroid hitting planet, we imagine everything in the vicinity dying due to blast radius and shock of tsunami, if you watched Deep Impact a few years ago. And then we’ve all seen the sad pictures in textbooks and in museums of dinosaurs lying in the dirt, dead because cloud cover, falling temperatures.

    But there is this brilliant caption to an image in Scientific America a few years ago about the asteroid that struck the earth and formed the Chicxulub crater and basically the Yucatán Peninsula and how the impact waved from that event flung dirt, rocks, trees, and dinosaurs into outer space. So the first large life forms to enter space in our solar system were dinosaurs on a really bad ride.

    And so there’s all of this amazing stuff, from the future mining efforts that are going to happen, to the destruction of planets that can all be written about with asteroid science.

    P.G. Holyfield: I know we were talking just yesterday about your mapping program that you’re doing with [inaudible] [00:13:23], the idea that, you know, what if, while mapping, you discover something or something is discovered because of the focus on one of these craters that leads to a good story? And that sort of prompted the idea of doing this. And so you have all these craters; you have all the asteroids out there in space, so what can we do to create stories out of that?

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And this is where you have to start thinking in the crazy box. So there’s that science fiction show, Defiance, where they’ve terraformed the planet in a rather failed manner, and the city of St. Louis actually got somewhat preserved over a flipped-over part of whatever happened during the terraforming. Hopefully, we’ll learn in Season 2.

    And we can vaguely imagine if we ever start exploring worlds where there were life forms in the past, so you can imagine going to another solar system, and over time, cities get buried. City of Troy has multiple layers, as city got built upon city. When you dig down, you can find old villages. We recently found an entire riverfront basically gambling den, salon and things in the city of St. Louis while digging up basements.

    Well, a crater’s really a kind of high-impact way, high-energy way to excavate. And you can imagine excavating out and discovering an old underground shopping mall. But you can also imagine finding just that underground lake that supports life. You can imagine uncovering the lava tubes.

    And this is one of the awesome things is, as we explore the moon right now, one of the things you can find today, as you explore CosmoQuest, is what we call sunlights into these underground caverns and where there was melted material under the crater. As that material floated away, it left caverns, and the roofs occasionally cave in.

    And next year, in 2015, some of the people planning to go to the moon to take on the Google Lunar XPRIZE with their little robotic explorers are planning for the first time ever to enter into some of these lava tubes and see what exists under the surface of the moon. This is going to happen, not in some distant future, but in some distant four or five financial quarters away. So, in the next tax cycle, we’ll have robots exploring caves on the moon.

    P.G. Holyfield: Wow.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: So, as an author, what sorts of things does this make your brain start going to?

    P.G. Holyfield: Yeah, you’ve added multiple ideas and ways to go with this because, when we were talking about it yesterday, we were talking about, well, in one of these craters in the moon, it exposes some things. I immediately think, well, what was there however many million years ago? What if, on Mars, there was some sort of pre ? like a ?

    Dr. Pamela Gay: Pre-Ice Age.

    P.G. Holyfield: Yeah, no, I was thinking more of an alien presence comes and sort of their forward guard, and they have mined out these places on Mars or on the moon, and then thousands of years later, we notice them and what happens from there, so just, yeah, possibilities are endless.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And Mars is another one of these worlds that has these underground lava tubes and caverns that we’re seeing in satellite images, and with CosmoQuest, we will be opening up a Mars mappers program in the coming months.

    And so, essentially, what we’re doing is saying, hey, we’re gonna do the science. Can we please inspire you? And we’re not asking you to just send things in that will go into my bottom drawer or some folder on my hard drive and never exist again.

    We have, and then we’ll be recording a little bit later today, the 365 Days of Astronomy podcast, which is literally a new podcast every single day on some topic in astronomy. And one of the topics that we have is space stories where we read creative comments and public domain science fiction and science-inspired fiction ? because it’s not always quite the same thing ? and hope that we can inspire our audience.

    And we want to take the best of these stories, unlimited number, and read them in hopes that people can sit at their computers, helping them map out asteroids while listening to asteroid fiction.

    P.G. Holyfield: Yeah, I already have the idea of a robotic janitor left on Mars for millions of years, just waiting for ?

    Dr. Pamela Gay: Wasn’t that a Pixar movie?

    P.G. Holyfield: Was it? [Inaudible] [00:18:46] being a janitor. Yeah, so we’ll see. So what is your ? have you worked through a submission process, a timing of this?

    Dr. Pamela Gay: So this audio will go live next Monday, and when it goes live, I’m going to go live with it a link that will allow people to upload their files, and we will collect everything online, preferably in just plain text or rich text format, so I don’t have to deal with any crazy software issues.

    And another reason is I know Scrivener’s awesome; I know Word is norm. Everyone writes in a different piece of software, and I know when you’re starting to write science fiction, you need to take a lot of notes, and this means finding something that allows you to keep your notes and output something other people can read.

    As we encourage people to learn and write, what advice would you have for them on how to keep themselves sane while taking on a project like this?

    P.G. Holyfield: Let’s see. Mainly figure out what your support system is, as far as what you have available to you to help with the science that goes along with your story. So, if you’re a student, talk to people at your school. If you’re like me and you hang out at these conventions where there’s a science track, get to know the people in the science track.

    And that’s the main ? you know, build your friends and your relationships, and then you can leverage that and feel pretty good about not just going and saying, “Hey, can you help me?” and you’ve never seen or spoken to that person before. That’s the main thing.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And I know a lot of people who are listening to this, and maybe some of you are in the room right now, you are consumers of content who have these internal, “I’d love to try writing it,” but as consumers, maybe you don’t have that network. We’re kind of lucky because, as speakers, we end up moderating things and meeting people and getting pulled onto all sorts of things that aren’t related to what we do. So this creates our network for us. How would you recommend that someone who’s only consumed content till now starts building that network?

    P.G. Holyfield: Well, attending a convention like this is certainly a good way to start because most people that are doing the consumption of this type of media, the easiest way to get involved is to become part of that community, whether it’s joining a forum for your favorite podcaster or attending a convention like this where you have writers.

    And, in most cases, you have, again, the writing track and the science track at places like this and Dragon Con and other conventions. And just, as part of the community, once you start getting integrated into the community, it’s very easy to develop those relationships and be able to ask for help and get advice.

    And most of us are always open, whether, you know, if you’ve been doing it for a while or a scientist that’s looking to write or a writer that is looking for help with the science, both of these groups of people I’ve found have been very open to helping each other because I know, for both of us, when we met, one of the things that we sort of glommed on is the idea that I’m a creative person, but I love science. I just never followed that path. And you’ve always talked about loving creative ?

    Dr. Pamela Gay: I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

    P.G. Holyfield: ? loving creative people and always wanting to write. So we latched onto that, and it helps with our relationship and all of that. One thing I did wanna say is that I will help you with any looking at the stories and helping out with that on your end, as well.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: A slush pile is something ?

    P.G. Holyfield: Yes, the slush pile.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: ? I’ve never encountered before.

    P.G. Holyfield: So, if this takes off and you get a lot of stories, we’ll have some fun with this.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And I have to admit, I love narrating, which is something you know. And I’m currently the voice that reads our space stories over on 356 Days of Astronomy. So any of you out there listening who only listen to Astronomy Cast and have never checked out 365 Days of Astronomy, I like using my voice to bring really old science fiction to a new life, which occasionally leads to a lot of gender-bending because it turns out there’s very few women in old science fiction, but that’s okay now and then.

    And I’m hoping that we’ll get some really amazing things that come in where we can both ask new voices to read their stories, and we can take something amazing and lend our voices to it, as well.

    Now, trying to go from, “I think this is cool,” to actually writing with science involves first immersing yourself in a lot of the science or starting with a really good story idea, and I’m not sure which works better. Do you find yourself getting stories by going through the science, or getting the story and then having to find the science?

    P.G. Holyfield: For me, it’s usually been the latter, and let me preface this by saying that one of the reasons I write fantasy is so that I don’t have to worry about the science so much. But when I have come up with ideas for a science fiction short story, it’s usually tied to the idea because the story is the story. A lot of times, the science is just the ?

    Dr. Pamela Gay: Mechanism.

    P.G. Holyfield: It’s the mechanism to either make something work or it’s just a setting that allows you to tell a story in a different way. So, usually, for me, I have the idea, and I want to figure out the science to make it believable and not just be some sort of Star Trek thing that people will sort of laugh at, and they’re, like, “Well, it’s Star Trek. We love it.” I’d like to at least have the science right enough to not turn people away because the science gets in the way of the story.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And while I’m gonna be working closely with P.G. in hopes of getting to something that we can use to perhaps create a planetarium show and get people involved, because he’s a professional writer, I’m going to be playing along with the audience and working on my own story about the potential consequences of asteroid mining going terribly, terribly wrong because one of the things I love about science is there’s a whole lot of people that say, “I ?” and the often insert expletives at this point, “I ?” expletive ? “love science.”

    And what they actually are doing ? and this isn’t a novel idea; I saw an essay on this on the internet that really got me thinking ? what they’re really doing is having a massive crush on all the sexy parts of science. They like the pretty pictures, they like the extremophiles, they like the explosions, and they don’t pay attention to the baggage. And when you’re forming a relationship, even with science, you have to accept all the baggage that comes with it.

    And when we write science fiction, a lot of times, the science fiction is either dystopian, or it embraces the shiny parts of science, the cool medical technology, the ability to turn people into super soldiers in their geriatric years.

    There’s so many different things that are getting done that are the socially perhaps negative but the positive things that can be done with science, and in the process, ignore the ramifications of science, the accidents that can occur, the, well, if we ever get to the point where commercial space is allowing suborbital trips from Sydney to London, first of all, that’s kind of awesome, but the environmental impact to it is something that makes it unsustainable.

    We can never ? unless we find a different way ? have sustainable suborbital intercontinental flight, just because the whole greenhouse gas thing. Can we at least keep the glaciers till we have grandkids maybe? Suborbital space flight in large amounts doesn’t allow that.

    And so, in writing fiction, I think there’s a lot of space to take the ideas and encounter worlds that aren’t our own from which we can learn the horrible lessons, sort of like Star Trek Next Generation many moons ago tried to do an episode on global warming and the consequences and how society can be completely lost. And they gave all of the memories to Picard, who then learned how to play pennywhistle. But I think a lot of people missed the parable that was being spoken in that episode, and I’d like to see more parables of science.

    P.G. Holyfield: Yeah, definitely. I like the idea and what you’re bringing up about the idea of stories that aren’t the fantastical, the bells and whistles that people sort of, “I love science,” type thing, but just the work involved in building a story off of whether it’s things going wrong, but just the work involved in making science successful and fashioning a story that might fit into that, rather than some of the other things.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: What is the unsexiest thing that is scientific that you’ve had to bring into your fiction so far?

    P.G. Holyfield: Oh, boy. It’s not unsexy, I guess, but just, well, I guess this would be unsexy. I have the ideas that the world ? the knowledge is there that we know the world is going to be destroyed by something that’s coming towards the earth. And so they know they have 3,000 years or so to find another planet to go to. And so the first part of this was the idea of using the asteroids as spaceships to sort of send out in direction to find a suitable home.

    And then the next step was, okay, the years that it takes to travel, so you have to figure out the idea of having them sleep for long periods of time. And then, from that, the unsexy part is, okay, when they’re sleeping, what happens to all of the bodily functions and things of that nature? So, yeah, that pretty much is the unsexy pieces of this.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: You really don’t wanna think about what goes on, on the inside of a spacesuit. And I think the most disturbing lecture I ever heard, because I understood more than what was said, was attending a commercial space flight conference. One of the spacesuit vendors was discussing a spacesuit design they had that was basically the Lego spacesuit. So you have arms of different lengths that attach to torsos of different sizes, so that you can have people of all genders and proportions able to fly to outer space.

    And they were talking about how they anticipated a three-day turnaround between using a suit and getting it back out. And I had this realization that this is the bowling shoe of space flight, except instead of just sticking your potentially not entirely well foot into a public shoe, you’re peeing in a rental craft. And I decided I don’t ever wanna be a commercial space flight anything unless I can own my own suit, thank you very much.

    P.G. Holyfield: Yeah, I think that, yeah, I came up with, of course, the answer, which is the general answer for some of this, is, okay, nanobots can keep things clean while you are frozen or sleeping or what have you for thousands or hundreds of years, so, yeah, whether it works or not.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: No catheters?

    P.G. Holyfield: I don’t wanna think about it. I don’t have to get into that description, do I?

    Dr. Pamela Gay: I love that there are fiction writers who will invoke nanobots to avoid talking about the grosser parts of biology. That just made me stupidly happy. Nanobots are the way to avoid the gross parts of science.

    P.G. Holyfield: Exactly.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: Do you have anything else you’d like to say to encourage our audience?

    P.G. Holyfield: Simply that I’ve had just a lot of success in my relationship with Pamela and with other people that I’ve worked with.

    And, as said earlier, if you are a writer or are trying to get into writing and you want to get the science right, please do that or take the steps to get that information because that is so much better than just saying, “Okay, I’m just gonna write the story. The story is what matters.” And then the bulk of your audience reads two or three pages, and the story can be as good as anything out there, but if the science is wrong and the audience is coming from that perspective, then they’re not going to read past the first couple pages.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: What’s your favorite example of science being done right?

    P.G. Holyfield: I don’t know if science was done right. I don’t know enough science. But the movie, Moon ?

    Dr. Pamela Gay: I don’t know that one.

    P.G. Holyfield: ? if you haven’t seen that ? has anybody seen Moon? So I can’t remember what planet it is. Is it Mars that they’re on? I can’t remember. They’re on some planet in the solar system, and I don’t want to spoil the movie, but there is a technology and a science that is in that that explains what ? it’s about mining, and this one person is there by himself, and he knows he’s about to go home, and things happen, accident happens and things go on. But the science in it about one of the main plot points, I thought, was handled very well, and it’s a great movie.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And my favorite random getting the science right when no one necessarily would ever have noticed is in The Lord of the Rings books, including The Silmarillion. They get the phases of the moon. They get the constellations. All of it is accurate.

    And so, when you go through and you look at how long did it take them to get from place to place, as the phases of the moon change, it’s correct. They describe the constellation Orion. And there was no reason that that had to be correct, but Tolkien went to that extra step to add authenticity to Middle Earth.

    P.G. Holyfield: Yes. That just reminds me of the CosmoQuest-athon where we did the hour-long talk on the science of Game of Thrones.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And there is none.

    P.G. Holyfield: There is not anything right, as far as the weather or the seasons or, “How could we make this work?”

    Dr. Pamela Gay: I can’t make up anything that fits, and it deeply annoys me. Yeah, reading those books led to a whole lot. And I read them all on airplanes, so getting angry at a book on an airplane is ? it just freaks out the person sitting next to you. There’s a lot of dissatisfaction that there’s no mechanism to explain with science the things going on in that book.

    P.G. Holyfield: Not to say that it’s not awesome because it is.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: It is awesome, but the science is wrong. So I’m gonna clue in the audience who may never, ever watch us on Google Hangouts on Air for Astronomy Cast. We’ve been getting a lot of email asking us, “Where are the question shows? You used to do question shows.” And it’s true. Back in the days prior to Google Hangouts, which is now how I divide my life ? I had the era before podcasts, the era of only podcasts, and now, we are in the post-pure-podcasting age of Google Hangouts, and in this new era, we record our shows. Fraser’s usually pretty good at keeping our recordings to between 23 and 27 minutes. I’m not so good; we’re at 35.

    And we then go off air to take questions from the audience that can be on anything from the world of astronomy and space science. And sometimes, this does lead to frantic Googling on my part when people start getting into historic stuff.

    But I’m now going to encourage everyone who’s simply a listener of Astronomy Cast to, if you can, tune in Mondays at 2:00 Central, noon Pacific, and watch us live sometime and get us your questions through the Q&A app. And I’m now gonna pause this recording, and thank you so much for joining us, P.G. Holyfield.

    P.G. Holyfield: Thank you.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: Where can people find you online?

    P.G. Holyfield: You can find my book and short stories that have been published on Amazon.com is where I usually send people. I do have a website, PGHolyfield.com where you can get all of my audio fiction, podcast-related material.

    And then the main website where I do things right now is SpecFicMedia.com where we have two main podcasts, which are Beyond the Wall, and we also have one called Consumption, which is more geek-related, just movies, TV, etc. I also do a Tintin podcast if you’re fans of the Tintin comic books that is very sporadic at the moment, but we’ll get back into that soon. That’s it.

    Dr. Pamela Gay: And so thank you for being on, and I’m now gonna take questions from the audience.

    Announcer: Thanks for listening to Astronomy Cast, a non-profit resource provided by Astrosphere New Media Association, Fraser Cain, and Dr. Pamela Gay.

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3 Responses to Ep. 347: Live from Balticon!

  1. Jeff June 14, 2014 at 3:52 am #

    Hey! Where is the info for the writing challenge that Pamela was talking about in the recent Balticon episode? Thanks!

  2. Frank June 15, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    I have to say this: Pamela Gay’s voice is unbelievably similar to the voice of actress Tricia Helfer – almost identical.

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