QA writers bring science to their fiction

In a subterranean room on top of Queen Anne Hill, the tension was boiling.
"... His eyes widened in sudden shock. 'Renata! You -- no!'
" 'Yes,' Renata said, drew her plastoid gun, and fired. 'Nice to know the tech works,' she told the corpse as it fell."
The audience sat in anticipation as Nancy Kress paused in reading her short story, "Deadly Sins," to take a sip of coffee.
The reading was part of an event at the Queen Anne Library on Saturday afternoon, July 17, attended by a small group of sci-fi and fantasy diehards. Science fiction writers Kress and Jack Skillingstead, who both live in Queen Anne, treated guests to readings from some of their latest work.
"I write a lot about genetic engineering because I think that this is going to be our future," Kress said as she introduced her first reading. The story, "Patent Infringement," humorously explores the issue of gene patents and who has the right to them. Kress followed this with "Deadly Sins." Beneath her amiable voice, a sinister plot lurked as an artificial-intelligence interrogator struggled to ascertain the motive behind a murder.
Skillingstead read from his short story, "Alone With An Inconvenient Companion." The piece, which featured possibly the first talking urinal in literary history, evoked questions such as, What is reality? How disjointed from our true nature are we becoming in this modern age? And how much control do the powers-that-be really have?
"They come at you," Skillingstead read, "with the deliberate attempt to dehumanize you, turn you into a thing, a responsive object, a slave consumer."
After reading, the authors welcomed questions. Genetically modified food, Big Brother and writing methods were among topics brought up.
Kress, a full-time writer, has authored 26 books including 16 science-fiction novels, three fantasy novels, four short-story collections and three books on writing. She has also won four Nebula Awards and two Hugos. She said that consistency is the key to producing such a large body of work. "You have to regard it as a steady job. It's not something where you wait for inspiration."
To stay productive, Skillingstead said he also must write every day. He has published two books and many suspense-filled short stories. "If I miss a day it has some kind of vast psychological ramification," Skillingstead said, only half joking.
Tom Richards, adult services librarian at the Queen Anne Library, said he enjoys being able to host author readings. "It's great when authors can come out. It's interesting to see how they write and also how they read," he said.
At the session's end the authors signed copies of their newest works. Autographed copies are available at Queen Anne Books.[[In-content Ad]]