Topic: Asteroid Mining
In honor of the new Planetary Resources venture, Two Dudes is happy to present a reading list of asteroid mining related science fiction, all vetted by our demanding Standards Committee after careful examination of the manuscripts in our undisclosed, hermetically sealed, rare book viewing facility.
Greg Benford – Dark Sanctuary
I found this story on Lightspeed‘s webpage, though it appears to have been published originally in Omni. Asteroid mining isn’t the point of the story, but it takes place in the Belt and is infused with the Belter mentality. I read this right before Leviathan Wakes arrived, so they are a bit tangled up in my head.
C.J. Cherryh – Heavy Time
Also published as part of Devil to the Belt, Heavy Time is typical Cherryh: tense and claustrophobic, with complicated and not always likable characters. It concerns a murder mystery in the asteroids with far reaching political ramifications. This is the first book (chronologically) in the Alliance Union universe.
James S.A. Corey – Leviathan Wakes
Hollywood-esque Solar System based space opera that blew onto the scene in 2011. A sequel is slated for this summer. All of the main characters are denizens of the asteroids in one form or another; the Belt is the backdrop for the action, if not the focus of it.
Larry Niven – Chronologically early Known Space
That’s kind of a broad category, but the pre-Man-Kzin Wars era, seen though books like Protector and a whole pile of short stories, forms a semi-stable basis for most contemporary portrayals of life in the asteroids. Niven coined the term “Belter,” and his conception of the Belt as a vaguely anarchic, high tech frontier is widely appropriated. Per the Incomplete Known Space Concordance, Niven borrowed some of his ideas from even earlier SF, but his has become the de facto standard.
Bruce Sterling – Schismatrix Plus
I had to include this, even though the asteroid civilization is a wee bit different from the others. To be honest, the whole book is a wee bit different from pretty much anything else in existence, but that’s kind of what one has to expect with Sterling involved. Never a dull moment.
Ben Bova – The Precipice
I put this last because I haven’t read it yet, just have a copy at home. It’s Ben Bova though, so I feel fairly confident in assuming that it is a competent, well-crafted novel that fills out his Grand Tour universe well, but is unlikely to rise above “pretty good” in anyone’s estimation. For whatever reason, Bova is the Volvo of science fiction: reliable, sturdy, guaranteed to last, but somehow lacking whatever sparkle it is that makes things really stand out.