Solar Express 

23848420Author: L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre(s): Science Fiction
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A few years ago NASA and Tor/Forge book publishers announced a joint initiative to promote the development of NASA-Inspired Works of Fiction. The idea was simple – bring together authors and scientists to create scientifically plausible science fiction. Pop culture has such a profound effect on so many people even if we don’t care to admit it.

By banding together, NASA and Tor/Forge have embraced the chance to inspire future generations of scientists while also giving some overdue credit to NASA and it’s ongoing missions.

Today is a big day for the partnership because today marks the release of their second book, L.E.Modesitt, Jr.’s  Solar Express. A well established and celebrated author of science fiction and fantasy, he’s the perfect author to bring in on this sort of initiative.

Solar Express already sounds like a fascinating book.

You cannot militarize space.

This one rule has led to decades of peaceful development of space programs worldwide. However, increasing resource scarcity and a changing climate on Earth’s surface is causing some interested parties to militarize, namely India, the North American Union, and the Sinese Federation. 

The discovery of a strange artifact by Dr. Alayna Wong precipitates a crisis. What appears to be a hitherto undiscovered comet is soon revealed to be an alien structure on a cometary trajectory toward the sun. Now there is a race between countries to see who can study and control the artifact dubbed the “Solar Express” before it perhaps destroys itself. 

Leading the way for the North American Union on what may be a one-way mission is Alayna’s friend, Captain Christopher Tavoian, one of the first shuttle pilots to be trained for combat in space. But, as the alien craft gets closer to its destination, it begins to alter the surface of the sun in wondrous new ways; ways that could lead Alayna to revolutionary discoveries—provided Chris can prevent war from breaking out as he navigates among the escalating tensions between nations. 

The idea of building off the ever-growing threats of climate change, dwindling resources, and other issues like overpopulation isn’t new. But how many other authors got the chance to collaborate with the scientific minds who are actually out there trying to solve these problems?

I think that’s the coolest thing about this book and the NASA-Inspired Works of Fiction series.

In the end, we’re getting some pretty awesome science fiction books that are actually based – to some degree – in science fact.


About the Author

New York Times bestselling Science Fiction author L. E. Modesitt, Jr. believes that robust exploration of space and our solar system is imperative. Because of the enormous popularity of Science Fiction (many of those who work in the fields of science and technology credit science fiction as an important inspiration for their career choice) and the growing need for educational programs for the public, Tor/Forge Books and NASA created NASA-Inspired Works of Fiction (NIWoF), a series of books centered around the concepts pertinent to the current and future work of NASA.

E. Modesitt, Jr. is the bestselling author of more than sixty novels encompassing two science fiction series and three fantasy series, including the Saga of Recluce and the Imager Portfolio. He lives in Cedar City, Utah. For more information, visit

About NASA-Inspired Works of Fiction

The “NASA-INSPIRED WORKS OF FICTION” (NIWoF) series was created by Tor/Forge Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, and NASA in an effort to not only educate, but also encourage young adults to examine the rewarding careers that science and technology have to offer. Through this collaboration, Tor/Forge publishes a series of science-based, commercial fiction books around concepts pertinent to the current and future work of NASA. NASA has allowed existing and new Tor/Forge authors to team up with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s (GSFC) Subject Matter Experts (SME) to create scientifically accurate and entertaining novels in a distinctly unique way. The titles chosen for the series are intended to raise awareness and inspire the study of the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), while educating the general public on the significant role NASA plays in everyday lives.

William Forstchen’s Pillar to the Sky (Tor Books; Feb. 11, 2014) was the first title to be chosen for the new series as it deftly weaves NASA’s nanotechnology research into an exhilarating storyline that not only illustrates mankind’s continuing journey in developing new technology, but also highlights how far individuals are willing to go to bring their dreams to fruition. SOLAR EXPRESS, which goes on sale Nov. 3, 2015, is the thrilling, new, hard-science fiction novel from New York Times bestselling author L. E. Modesitt, Jr., and the next title selected in the NIWoF series.


Images, materials, advanced praise, and promotional material for Solar Express were provided by Tor Books for our consideration. Nerdophiles was in no way compensated for this post. We simply wanted to pass on information about a really cool science fiction initiative.

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