Mike Brotherton grew up in the St. Louis metropolitan area. He earned a Ph. D. in astronomy in 1996 from the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in observational studies of quasars. After research positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Kitt Peak National Observatory, he assumed a faculty position at the University of Wyoming in 2002. He is the author of nearly fifty scientific articles in refereed journals and regularly uses the Hubble Space Telescope, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Wyoming Infrared Observatory, and the Very Large Array in New Mexico in the course of his research. He is a graduate of the Clarion West writing workshop and a finalist in the Writers of the Future contest. His short stories have appeared in anthologies including" In the Shadow of the Wall," and to magazines such as "Tales of the Unanticipated" and "Talebones." He lives in Laramie, Wyoming, with his wife, Leah Cutter, also a novelist, and his fierce cat, Sita.
Readers hungry for the thought-provoking extrapolation and rigorous technical detail of old-fashioned hard SF are sure to enjoy astronomer Brotherton's first novel. The thinly characterized crew of the Karamojo has been hand-picked to travel 250 light years to SS Cygni, a binary star system, to capture a star dragon, an exotic creature seemingly comprised of stellar plasma and magnetic fields. Despite her "striking" good looks, Capt. Lena Fang is all business, only revealing her "feminine" side in the "timelessly girlish" trappings of her private quarters, and in her dealings with the ship's AI, modeled on a decidedly soft-hearted vision of Hemingway. In contrast, exobiologist Dr. Samuel Fisher and biosystems engineer Axelrod Henderson are both uptight and ruthlessly focused on their work. Fisher's manipulative sexual relationship with Fang threatens the crew's ability to work together, while Henderson secretly plots to release a virus that will impregnate every female on Earth with his offspring. When they eventually reach SS Cygni, the star dragons prove surprisingly sneaky. Brotherton's strength is in the technical rigor of his setting, with truly alien creatures and biomods that can alter the human body into the most exotic of life forms. Readers willing to overlook the less-than-convincing characters will find an amazingly detailed world and a story full of scientific wonder. (Oct. 23) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.