Does humanity have a destiny “in the stars?” Should a species triggering massive extinctions on its own planet instead stay put? This new book 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. 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? Star Settlers offers both a historical perspective and a journalistic window into a peculiar subculture packed with members of the scientific, intellectual, and economic elite, and captures the extra-scientific zeal for space travel and settlement, places it in its historical context, and tackles the somewhat surreal conceptions underlying the enterprise and prognoses for its future.
Fred Nadis was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship in the Public Understanding of Science and Technology program for Star Settlers. He has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He has authored two prior books, Wonder Shows: Performing Science, Magic, and Religion in America, and The Man from Mars: Ray Palmer’s Amazing Pulp Journey, a Locus Nonfiction Award Finalist and Hugo Award nominee. He has published essays in the Atlantic and Vanity Fair online and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Science and Popular Culture. Learn more at frednadis.com.