Monday, September 29, 2008

Recent Short Fiction: “The Eventful Career of Dr. Kevin Pearson, Astronomer” by Edward A. Laag

At first reading, Edward A. Laag’s “The Eventful Career of Dr. Kevin Pearson, Astronomer” (2008), which won the First Annual Student Science Fiction Short Story Contest at the 2008 J. Lloyd Eaton Science Fiction Conference, wobbles like an unleveled tripod. One leg of the story rests on Kevin Pearson as an ambitious astronomy student, who believes he has discovered a distant Earth-like planet but cannot confirm its existence. The story then shifts to Pearson as a top young scientist on a two-week mission to Mars, in which a colleague fabricates her discovery of Martian cyanobacteria. The third piece of the story leans backward and extends the reader to an astronomical outpost in the Andes Mountains, where Dr. Pearson re-discovers his “lonely planet.” However, after reading “The Eventful Career of Dr. Kevin Pearson, Astronomer” a few times, we conclude that Laag manages to steady his story and provide a clear and meaningful view.

Upon winning the contest, Laag said he enjoys science fiction because
“it shows that a devotion to the rational thought process of science is the key to creating the technologies that will fulfill our desire for adventures in space and on other planets.”

Edward A. Laag, who is from Riverside, California, expects to earn a Ph.D. in Earth Science in 2009.

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