Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction


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TV Stardom: Arise News TV

Last week I had the privilege of a visit to  New Zealand House here in London for an interview by Arise News TV about the astronauts returning from International Space Station. Arise is trying to be the al-Jazira of Africa and seem to be doing a great job so far. Their operation in London is rather smaller scale compared to some of the other places I’ve been interviewed, like the BBC, so I got to see a bit more of the bustling action behind the scenes of a 24 hour news channel. I’m not sure I could take the stress myself, so all credit to those that do!

They were kind enough to send me a copy of the interview. Once I’ve sorted out how to upload it (WordPress doesn’t like mp4s for some reason) I’ll provide a link so you can judge for yourselves how I did.


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Science for Fiction 2015

We are doing it again!

The Imperial College & Science Fiction Foundation workshop for writers to meet and talk to scientists is back for another year.

The dates are 1-2 July, starting after lunch on the 1st and running all day on the 2nd.

Costs are not yet finalised, but likely to be about £30 to cover catering. Some financial support is available via the Science Fiction Foundation. Overnight accommodation, if you need it, would be extra.

Details of subjects to be covered are still being sorted out – and will in part be determined by what writers are after – but it will certainly include astronomy, physics and some biology.

If you are interested drop me an email at d dot clements at imperial dot ac dot uk. Please include any specific requests for subjects to be covered, and if you have any dietary restrictions that would affect what we order for lunch and tea.


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Infrared Astronomy: Book Review

Just been sent a copy of a nice review of my Infrared Astronomy book from The MidWest Book Review Bookwatch website.

Infrared Astronomy – Seeing the Heat
David L. Clements
CRC Press
6000 NW Broken Sound Parkway NW, #300, Boca Raton, FL 33487
9781482237276, $49.95, http://www.crcpress.com

Most books covering infrared astronomy assume a prior background in advanced math and astronomy, so it’s a surprise to find a physics book that assumes neither, but provides a comprehensive (and comprehendible) overview to infrared and its applications. It considers what this process reveals about heavenly bodies both within and outside the solar system, it develops and provides astronomical techniques and discoveries with the relative lay reader in mind, and Infrared Astronomy – Seeing the Heat from William Herschel to the Herschel Space Observatory pairs history with scientific advancements to provide a fine reference for any who would understand the latest findings on infrared. The fact that it’s accessible by a much wider audience than graduate astronomy readers sets this coverage well apart from competitors, making it a recommendation for students, grads, and even the general reading public with an interest in astronomy.

Thanks for the review!

Click on the cover image to the right and you can buy a copy for yourself.


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Twice a winner: Ships of the Aleph Review

Unusually, I won something!

Tower of Chaos Press ran a twitter competition for their first publication, Ships of the Aleph by Jaine Fenn, and I won!

And then I won again because it’s a rather good novella (novellette? not sure of the formal classification as I don’t have a word count).

Lachin lives in a small fishing village on the coast, but he yearns for greater things. He reads, studies and dreams of eventually travelling to the city of Omphalos and the University there. But it is not to be.

Instead, the Duke comes to Lachin’s village with plans to build a great ship that can sail out of the bay, crossing the Current and exploring what lies beyond. Lachin seizes his chance to see more of the world and joins the Duke, only to find that their expedition is doomed as, beyond the Current, they sail off the edge of the world.

But it doesn’t end there. In fact, this is only the beginning, as Lachin wakes to a village that is both the same and oddly different from his home. What he then gradually learns gives him an entirely new perspective on his world and all that has come before.

This story is in the classic mode of learning the world, and a very interesting world it is. Lachin’s learning and explorations gradually expands what he, and the reader, know. His expectations and ambitions also change and grow as he works against the confines of the limited world he finds himself in, until, having grown in knowledge, curiosity and understanding, he leaps beyond what he is comfortable with and finds that he is part of something far, far bigger.

I’m not going to give any of the bigger picture away, as discovering that is one of the joys of this story. Suffice it to say that it is very different from what the young Lachin expected when he joined the Duke’s voyage.

Ships of the Aleph is available as an ebook from Tower of Chaos Press.


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I am a Mancunicon Guest of Honour!

This has been a possibility that has been bubbling under the surface since a bit before Christmas, but is something that can now be revealed…

I will be one of the Guests of Honour at the UK National SF Convention next year (2016). This is called Mancunicon and, unsurprisingly with a name like that, it is being held in Manchester.

Things are just coming together for the Con, as it only won the bidding session at this year’s Eastercon yesterday, but they already have a twitter account @Mancunicon and web pages etc. will be following shortly – the con team were too busy taking memberships in person at this year’s Eastercon (Dysprosium, at the Park Inn just outside Heathrow) to get the web presence up and running.

The rest of the guests are great as well: Ian MacDonald, Aliette de Bodard and Sarah Pinborough (that’s @iannmcdonald @SarahPinborough and @aliettedb if you’re on twitter).

Easter is early next year so there is only 50 weeks to prepare, but I already have some interesting schemes in mind for science and other aspects of programming, since that is one of the things I do. And the great thing about being a GoH is that I can suggest things and don’t have to do too much myself :-)

I’ll try to keep things updated here as they develop, and especially if one special super secret project comes off.

See you in Manchester!

ETA: Some terminological clarifications

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