I was swamped back in February, so I forgot to post about the application deadline for Clarion West, which was a couple of weeks ago, but for those who are working in a creative capacity–not just as a writer, mind you–the Launch Pad workshop is open for applications.Basically, it’s a crash course in astronomy designed for people who could use some training in the area to better handle related subjects in their creative work. In my class, we had mostly fiction authors (and not all of them exclusively writers of SF), but also a science comedy team. Screenwriters, film directors… if you’re a creative person using science in your creations, and you can afford the tuition, you should definitely apply.
My experience in Laramie (I attended in 2009) was outstanding: we had great lectures on a huge range of subjects, a few outings that were spectacular, we visited a nearby observatory, I saw attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion… not, seriously, I learned a ton and am still sorting through some of the concepts I encountered there, and figuring out how to work them into stories. Likewise, though I was surprised by the amount of emphasis on consciously thinking through how to communicate science to a nonspecialist audience, that has actually come in really handy for me, directly affecting a textbook I helped write as well as several of my own fiction pieces.
Great people, great program, and a great place. (You will never see bluer skies anywhere.) If you’re up for a crash course in astronomy… well, you know what to do.