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Around Distant Suns

Nine Stories Inspired by Research from the St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science

Edited by Emma Johanna Puranen

Around Distant Suns cover

What happens when scientists and writers collaborate in the creative process?

Unique stories of distant planets, alien encounters, emergent life, and talking clouds, that’s what.

Writers were paired with researchers from the University of St Andrews Centre for Exoplanet Science — experts in astrobiology, gravitational microlensing, Miller-Urey experiments, and exoplanet atmospheres. Each pair met several times: to get to know each other, discuss the researcher’s work, and let ideas spark.

From these conversations emerged short stories, poems, and radio plays. Some are closely tied to the research work, others are flights of the imagination alighting from that point. All are fascinating results of the mixing of ideas.

In the last two decades science has discovered an abundance of planetary systems. But science fiction writers have been writing about exoplanets for a good deal longer than scientists. Thus, science fiction is a crucial tool for learning about how humans might interact with these far-off planets. Both groups are addressing deeper questions — what is life, where did we come from, are we alone, what does it all mean — from different angles. See how both fields benefit from collaborations such as found here.

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