My new gig. This summer, as part of the International Polar Year, the Arctic Institute of North America is embedding a journalist/communications specialist at the Kluane Lake Research Station to report on the tons of research being done this summer in the Yukon and beyond. That’s me.
I feel privileged to have this opportunity. I came up in 2001 specifically to interview and talk to biologists, learn about the arctic from a firsthand point of view, in order to write a novel about a young college student trapped with arctic researchers on the tundra. While I am not on the tundra, and there are no talking polar bears around, this fulfills a dream and gives me an opportunity to research and understand the science behind the science fiction, and to write about real scientists hard at work in the Yukon. It puts me in the middle of it too–which no amount of reading can quite convey. Still, I’ll do my best to convey it to you.
It may seem unusual to pick a science fiction author to be a science reporter, but in fact science fiction authors endeavor to make science ready for popular media, and we’re interested in the people involved in science research. I think there are times when some take the easy road of creating the “mad” scientist who will take the science to it’s nth degree–thereby accidentally villainizing science, instead of showing the complexity and adventure inside of real science. But the more fiction writers handle the science both physically and communicationally, the better the writing and understanding for everyone.
Scientists do brave the wild to collect information that helps people understand our world. They are adventuresome, smart, crafty folks–and I hope to capture some of that in the blogs, podcasts, radio series, etc that comes out of this project. And perhaps, on the side, it will make my own writing about scientists more accurate.
Watch here for more information on the new WordPress blog that will accompany this job. For now, just think of all the science going on in the Yukon and what you would like to know about it, or how you would like to interact with it….