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Goddard Reads – In Partnership with Tor Books

The “Goddard Reads” virtual event series celebrates 9 years of partnership between NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Tom Doherty Associates, LLC (Tor-Forge or Tor Books), a leading publisher of science fiction works. Using a Space Act Agreement to promote the science and minimize the fiction in “science fiction,” Goddard has connected subject matter experts in science and engineering with Tor Books authors. Through this collaboration, not only will the NASA-inspired works of fiction promote public awareness of NASA’s programs and missions, but they will also inspire young minds to embrace careers in science and technology as exciting and fulfilling opportunities.

The “Goddard Reads” virtual event series helps to explore how Tor Books authors and their reader base can benefit from subject matter expertise from NASA and other sources, while also featuring Goddard internal science communicators, who will share their experience working at the intersection of writing and STEM.

A Conversation on Science Fiction Writing with Tor Books Authors Martha Wells and Mary Robinette Kowal

Tuesday, August 25th at 1:30 p.m.

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The authors will discuss and read excerpts from their work. Strategic Partnerships Office (SPO) representatives Valeriya Nakshun and Amy Klarup will then host a Q&A session with the authors about their sources of inspiration and how research and interviews with subject matter experts can influence their work.

MARTHA WELLS is the author of New York Times and USA Today-bestselling series The Murderbot Diaries, which have won Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. Martha Wells has also written many fantasy novels, including The Wizard Hunters, Wheel of the Infinite, the books of the Raksura series, and the Nebula-nominated The Death of the Necromancer, as well as YA fantasy novels, short stories, and non-fiction.

MARY ROBINETTE KOWAL is the author of The Glamourist Histories series, Ghost Talkers, and The Lady Astronaut novels. She’s a member of the award-winning podcast Writing Excuses and has received the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, four Hugo awards, the Nebula and Locus awards. Her stories appear in Asimov’s, Uncanny, and several Year’s Best anthologies. Mary Robinette, a professional puppeteer, also performs as a voice actor (SAG/AFTRA), recording fiction for authors including Seanan McGuire, Cory Doctorow, and Neal Stephenson. She lives in Nashville with her husband Rob and over a dozen manual typewriters. Visit her online at

Bringing Comedy into Science: A Presentation by Kasha Patel

Tuesday, September 1st at 1:30 p.m.

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How do you make science funny? That’s exactly what Kasha Patel obsesses over, outside of her day job at NASA. In her seven years of performing science-themed stand-up comedy, Kasha has had many successes and failures—from performing for the Director of the NIH to getting heckled by a high school student at a STEM festival. In this presentation, she will highlight different projects that use humor to make science more accessible and give tips on how to think about writing a joke, whether you’re a scientist, engineer, or science communicator. And, who knows, you may leave the session with a newly written science joke of your own.

Named one of the “Best Undiscovered Comedians” in the U.S. by Thrillist magazine, KASHA PATEL has a unique voice that couples life as an Indian-American and her love for science. Founder of “DC Science Comedy,” she produces science-themed comedy shows in the nation’s capital featuring funny jokes, stories, and songs. She recently gave a TEDx talk called “Sneaking Science into Stand-Up” where she shares a series of surprising revelations pulled from her analysis of more than 500 of her stand-up jokes. She has been featured in The Washington Post, BBC World News, the Travel Channel, the Science Channel, and hosted a mini-series on NASA TV. She also works as a science writer for NASA Earth Observatory, the agency’s online Earth magazine. Follow her on Twitter (@KashaPatel) and subscribe to her YouTube (@kashablanca) for her latest videos.

What Makes a Good Science Story? A Talk by Goddard Science Writer Ellen Gray

Tuesday, September 8th at 1:30 p.m. International Literacy Day

NASA has the best science communications teams in government, and we do much more than put out press releases. Join us for a discussion of how NASA’s storytellers approach sharing NASA’s science with the world. We’ll talk about what makes a good science story and the many creative outlets NASA uses to share the incredible work done here with written stories, data visualizations, conceptual animation, video, and social media.

ELLEN GRAY is the managing editor and senior science writer for NASA’s Earth Science News Team. She’s been with NASA since 2011, supporting communications and outreach for Goddard missions and Earth Science research across the agency. She has a Masters in science writing from Johns Hopkins University and a Masters in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University.

Architects of Memory: Karen Osborne on Her Debut Novel and Science Fiction Writing

Tuesday, September 15th at 1:30 p.m.

Karen will read an excerpt from her debut novel and discuss her approach to science fiction writing. SPO representatives Valeriya Nakshun and Amy Klarup will then lead a conversation with Karen and ask her about the research that went into planning for her novel, what resources she used, and how she may use NASA’s expertise as she continues her writing career.

KAREN OSBORNE is a speculative fiction writer and visual storyteller living in Baltimore. She is a graduate of Viable Paradise and the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and won awards for her news & opinion writing in New York, Florida, and Maryland. Her short fiction appears in Uncanny, Fireside, Escape Pod, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and more. Architects of Memory is her science fiction debut.

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