Chaucer’s ‘Launches’ New Online Author Series

By Steven Libowitz   |   August 6, 2020

Does humanity have a destiny “in the stars”? What motivates figures such as billionaires Elon Musk and Yuri Milner? How important have science fiction authors and filmmakers been in stirring enthusiasm for actual space exploration and settlement? Is there a coherent motivating philosophy and ethic behind the spacefaring dream?

Science journalist Fred Nadis will discuss his new book Star Settlers online on August 19, hosted by Chaucer’s Books

These are among the questions addressed by Santa Barbara science journalist Fred Nadis in his new book Star Settlers: The Billionaires, Geniuses, and Crazed Visionaries Out to Conquer the Universe, which the author will discuss online for Chaucer’s Books.

While millions of people have long been fascinated by space exploration and astronomical discoveries, many elite scientists, technologists, science fiction enthusiasts, and billionaires take the subject much more seriously, espousing and acting on a belief that humanity’s ultimate purpose is to populate the stars. Star Settlers traces the waxing and waning of interest in space settlement through the decades, and offers a journalistic tour through the influential subculture attempting to shape a multiplanetary future.

Publishers Weekly has called Star Settlers “a grounded but far-reaching treatise (that) introduces readers to some fascinating dreams of the future,” while Kirkus Reviews said the book is a “futuristic, optimistic, and intellectually stimulating report for space enthusiasts or readers with celestial wanderlust.”

Nadis, a historian and essayist with a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in the “Public Understanding of Science and Technology” program to complete his new book, which follows 2013’s Man from Mars: Ray Palmer’s Amazing Pulp Journey. The biography of the Golden Age science fiction editor Ray Palmer was a Locus Nonfiction Award Finalist for Nadis, who has lived in Santa Barbara since 2005. He’ll talk about Star Settlers with Dr. Jatila Van Der Veen, Project Scientist and Lecturer in the Physics Department at UCSB and Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at SBCC, on Wednesday, August 19. Visit for details.


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