Catherine Asaro

Catherine Ann Asaro is an American science fiction and fantasy author. She is best known for her books about the Ruby Dynasty, called the Saga of the Skolian Empire.

Catherine Asaro
BornNovember 6, 1955 (age 63)
Oakland, California, United States
EducationChemistry, physics, chemical physics
Alma materUCLA, Harvard University
GenreScience fiction, fantasy
Notable worksSaga of the Skolian Empire
Notable awardsNebula Award
2001, 2008


Catherine Asaro was born on November 6, 1955[1] in Oakland, California and grew up in El Cerrito, California. She attended Kennedy High School in Richmond, California as part of the Richmond Voluntary Integration Plan. She has a B.S. with highest honors in chemistry from UCLA, and both a Masters in physics and a PhD in chemical physics from Harvard University.[2] When not writing and making appearances at conventions and signings, Asaro teaches math, physics, and chemistry.[3] She is the director of the Chesapeake Math Program and has coached various nationally ranked teams with home, private, and public school students, in particular the Howard Area Homeschoolers and the Chesapeake teams for national tournaments such as the Princeton and Harvard-MIT competitions. She also teaches a gifted program in math and science at the Yang Academy in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Her students have placed at the top levels in numerous national competitions, including the United States of America Mathematical Olympiad (USAMO) and the United States of America Mathematical Talent Search (USAMTS).[4][5][6]

Asaro is a member of SIGMA, a think tank of speculative writers that advises the government as to future trends affecting national security.[7] She is also known for her advocacy of bringing girls and women into STEM fields and for challenging gender roles and literary expectations in her fiction.[8][9][10] She has been an invited speaker or visiting professor for various institutions, including the National Academy of Sciences, Harvard, Georgetown University, NASA, The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), The Global Competitiveness Forum in Saudi Arabia, the New Zealand National ConText Writer's program, the University of Maryland, the US Naval Academy, and many other institutions.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17]

A former ballet and jazz dancer, Catherine Asaro has performed with dance companies and in musicals on both coasts and in Ohio. She founded and served as artistic director and a principal dancer for two dance groups at Harvard: The Mainly Jazz Dance Company and the Harvard University Ballet. After she graduated, her undergraduate students took over Mainly Jazz and made it into a club at the college.

She has completed two terms as president of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) (2003–2005) and during her tenure established the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.[7][18]

Her husband was John Kendall Cannizzo, an astrophysicist at NASA.[19]They have one daughter, a ballet dancer who studied maths at the University of Cambridge and UC Berkeley.[20][21]

Catherine Asaro is the daughter of Frank Asaro, the nuclear chemist who discovered the iridium anomaly that led the team of Luis Alvarez, Walter Alvarez, Frank Asaro, and Helen Michel to postulate that an asteroid collided with the Earth 66 million years ago and caused mass extinctions, including the demise of the dinosaurs.

Saga of the Skolian Empire series

The Saga of the Skolian Empire, informally called the Skolian Saga, is a series of science fiction novels, novelettes and novellas revolving around characters from an interstellar empire known as the Skolian Empire and their power struggle with the rival Eubian Concord. The plot of the book unfolds over several generations of characters and revolves around political intrigues, but also contains subplots regarding romance, physics, bio-enhancements, and virtual computer networks.

Mathematical fiction and hard science fiction

Asaro is known as a hard science fiction writer for the scientific depth of her work. The amount of science varies from book to book, with novels such as Primary Inversion, The Radiant Seas, and Spherical Harmonic on the most scientifically dense end of the spectrum, including elements such as equations and diagrams of quantum mechanical wave functions and Klein bottles. Stanley Schmidt, the long time editor of Analog magazine, wrote that Primary Inversion is "an impressive first novel; not just a good story, but the kind of speculation we too seldom see – really new science that just might be possible." Asaro is noted as one of the few female science fiction writers who also has a doctorate in hard science, in Asaro's case a PhD from Harvard in theoretical Chemical Physics.[22]

Asaro is also noted for including sophisticated mathematical concepts in her fiction. The method of space travel used in the Skolian Empire books comes from a paper Asaro wrote on complex variables and special relativity that appeared in the American Journal of Physics.[23][24] The novel Spherical Harmonic involves an imagined universe based on the Hilbert space described by the spherical harmonic eigenfunctions that solve the Laplace Equation, and some prose in the book is written in the shape of the sinusoidal waves found in the spherical harmonics.[25] Her novel The Quantum Rose is an allegory to quantum scattering theory and is dedicated to her doctoral advisors and mentors in the subject, Alex Dalgarno, Kate Kirby, and Eric J. Heller.[26] The novella "Aurora in Four Voices" includes topics ranging from Fourier series to integration problems in calculus. In essays in the back of some of her novels, Asaro explains the mathematical and physics basis of the ideas used in the books, in particular Spherical Harmonic, The Quantum Rose, and The Moon's Shadow. In the anthology Aurora in Four Voices (which includes the novella of the same name), Asaro describes the mathematical basis of several stories in the anthology, including the use of Fourier transforms, Riemann sheets, and complex numbers in "The SpaceTime Pool."[27]

The Diamond Star Project

The Diamond Star Project is a collaboration between Catherine Asaro and the rock musicians Point Valid. The project resulted in a CD, Diamond Star (Starflight Music, April 2009), which is a "soundtrack" for the book, Diamond Star (Baen Books). The novel tells the story of Del-Kurj, a Ruby Dynasty prince who would rather be a rock singer than sit on the throne. The lyrics to the songs appear in the novel Diamond Star and were the inspiration for the CD.[28]

Point Valid with Catherine Asaro (2008)

Point Valid is an alternative band originating in Baltimore, Maryland, with Hayim Ani on vocals and guitar, Adam Leve on drums and Max Vidaver on guitar. Ani wrote most of the music for the CD, and Asaro wrote most of the lyrics, as well as music for three songs. Ani also contributed three original compositions, both music and lyrics. Most of the vocals are by Ani, with a few by Asaro. The CD has twelve songs, eleven originals and a cover of "Sound of Silence." Asaro, who didn't know how to sing, took voice lessons in preparation for the recordings, and continues to train and perform. Asaro has described how the collaboration inspired her work, as exemplified by the song "Emeralds," which she wasn't able to finish until she and Ani were in the studio recording his vocals.[29]

During 2009, the Diamond Star Project expanded to include Donald Wolcott, a jazz pianist who accompanied Asaro in concerts.[29][30] In 2010, Starflight Music released the EP Goodbye Note by Asaro and Wolcott, which includes the song "No Answers with in Paradisum" from the Diamond Star soundtrack, rewritten and sung by Asaro.[31] In 2010, Marty Pell joined the Diamond Star Project as an additional pianist,[32] and in 2011, Greg Adams replaced Wolcott as Asaro's primary accompanist.[33]


  • Primary Inversion, nominee, Locus Award, first novel, 1996
  • Primary Inversion, finalist, Compton Crook Award 1996
  • Catch the Lightning, winner, Sapphire Award, best novel, 1997
  • Catch the Lightning, winner, UTC Readers Choice Award, best novel, 1997
  • Catch the Lightning, finalist, Audies, Science Fiction, 2003
  • The Last Hawk, nominee, Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1999
  • The Radiant Seas, winner, RT Book Club Reviewer's Choice Award, Best Science Fiction Novel 1999
  • The Radiant Seas, nominee, HOMer Award, Best Novel 2000
  • "Aurora in Four Voices", winner, AnLab (Analog Reader's Poll), 1999
  • "Aurora in Four Voices", nominee, Hugo Award, best novella, 1999
  • "Aurora in Four Voices", nominee, Nebula Award, best novella, 1999
  • "Aurora in Four Voices", winner, HOMer Award, best novella, 1999
  • "Aurora in Four Voices", winner Sapphire Award, best novella, 2000
  • "Aurora in Four Voices", nominee, Seiun Awards, overseas short fiction, 2000
  • "Aurora in Four Voices", Sixth Place, Locus Award, novella, 1999
  • The Veiled Web, winner, HOMer Award, best novel, 2000
  • The Veiled Web, winner, Prism Award, best novel, 2000
  • The Veiled Web, winner, National Reader's Choice Award, 2000
  • The Veiled Web, Second Place, Sapphire Award, 2001
  • The Quantum Rose, winner, Nebula Award for Best Novel 2001[34]
  • The Quantum Rose, winner, Affaire de Coeur Award, Best Science Fiction (2001)
  • The Quantum Rose, Third place, Sapphire Award, Best Novel 2000
  • The Quantum Rose, nominee, Audies, Novel 2005
  • "A Roll of the Dice", winner, AnLab (Analog Reader's Poll), 2001
  • "A Roll of the Dice", winner, HOMer Award, 2001
  • "A Roll of the Dice", nominee, Hugo Award, best novella, 2001
  • "A Roll of the Dice", nominee, Nebula Award, best novella, 2001
  • "A Roll of the Dice", Second Place tie, Sapphire Award, best novella, 2001
  • Spherical Harmonic, winner, Affaire de Coeur Reader/Writer Poll for Best Futuristic, 2002
  • "Ave de Paso", Eleventh Place, Locus Award, novella, 2002
  • "Ave de Paso", nominee, Sapphire Award, Short Fiction, 2002
  • Ascendant Sun, winner, RT Book Club Reviewer's Choice Award, Best Science Fiction Novel 2003
  • Skyfall, winner, RT Book Club Reviewer's Choice Award, Best Science Fiction Novel 2003
  • Skyfall, finalist, Rita Award, Futuristic/Fantasy/Paranormal, 2004
  • Skyfall, Third Place, Sapphire Award, Best Novel, 2004
  • "Moonglow," winner, RRA Award, Best Novella, 2004
  • "Moonglow," winner, Sapphire Award, Best Novella, 2004
  • "Walk in Silence", winner, AnLab (Analog Reader's Poll), 2004
  • "Walk in Silence", winner, Prism Award, best novella, 2004
  • "Walk in Silence", nominee, Hugo Award, best novella, 2004
  • "Walk in Silence", nominee, Nebula Award, best novella, 2004
  • Outstanding Achievement Award, WRW, Washington D.C., 2005
  • "Stained Glass Heart", nominee, Sapphire Award, Best Novella, 2005
  • "The City of Cries", winner, Prism Award, Best Novella, 2006
  • "The City of Cries", winner, Prism Award, The Best of the Best, 2006
  • "The City of Cries", winner, Book Buyers Best, novella, 2006
  • "The City of Cries", Second Place, Sapphire Award, Best Novella, 2006
  • "The Misted Cliffs,", finalist, Rita Award, Paranormal, 2006
  • "The Space-Time Pool," winner, Nebula Award for Best Novella 2008[34]
  • "The Space-Time Pool," second place, AnLab (Analog Reader's Poll), 2008
  • Sunrise Alley, finalist, Audies, Science Fiction, 2009
  • "Deep Snows," Nominee, Best R&B Music Video, World Music and Independent Film Festival, 2012
  • "The Pyre of New Day," nominee, Nebula Award, best novelette, 2012
  • The Wallace S. North, Jr., PE Award for Contributions to the Maryland State Mathcounts Program, 2017


  1. ^ "Catherine Asaro - Summary Bibliography". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  2. ^ "Catherine Asaro - Author Information, Books, and News". Archived from the original on July 26, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  3. ^ She’s a Harvard PhD and Author of 26 Novels. She’ll Also Get Your Kids to Like Math.
  4. ^ Chesapeake Math Program
  5. ^ "Community". Art of Problem Solving. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  6. ^ "ARML 2008 Division B". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2015-07-24.
  7. ^ a b Archived December 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Women in SF&F Month: Catherine Asaro | Fantasy Cafe | Reviews of Fantasy and Science Fiction Books". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  9. ^ Planet Diversity, by Bidisha
  10. ^ Danger Gal Friday: Primary Sauscony "Soz" Valdoria
  11. ^ "DC Art Science Evening Rendezvous (DASER)". 2013-10-17. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  12. ^ "Vericon". Geek Mountain State. 2011-03-14. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  13. ^ Coombs, Brittany (2011-02-24). "The Dogs That Can Do Algebra | gnovis". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  14. ^ Archived February 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Where's My Flying Car? Science, Science Fiction, and a Changing Vision of the Future | AAAS - The World's Largest General Scientific Society". AAAS. February 14, 2014. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  16. ^ "Press Releases". SIGMA Forum. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  17. ^ "Writer's Workshop with Catherine Asaro!". February 16, 2011. Archived from the original on February 27, 2013. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  18. ^ "Andre Norton Award Archives". SFWA. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  19. ^ John K. Cannizzo
  20. ^ "X-Ray Variability : Quasi-periodic Oscillations" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 14, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  21. ^ "YAGP 2005 – GREENVILLE, SC SEMI-FINAL | Youth America Grand Prix". 2005-04-01. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  22. ^ "Projecting the Shadow: The Cyborg Hero in American Film, Janice Hocker Rushing and Thomas S. Frentz. 1995. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 256 pages. $45.00 hc; $14.95 pb". 1997-08-01. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  23. ^ Am. J. Phys, 64 (4), April 1996, 421
  24. ^ "Catherine Asaro". 2014-04-11. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  25. ^ "Spherical Harmonic: A Novel in the Saga of the Skolian Empire - Catherine Asaro". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Math Essay Updated March 2012.pdf - Google Drive". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  28. ^ "Blog – Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction". Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  29. ^ a b Alasdair Wilkins (May 1, 2009). "Catherine Asaro Rocks Out For Her Latest Science Fiction Epic". Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  30. ^ Charles Tan (April 22, 2009). "Catherine Asaro 2009 Interview". Archived from the original on April 27, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  31. ^ "Asaro and Wolcott | Goodbye Note | CD Baby Music Store". Archived from the original on December 28, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  32. ^ "Catherine Asaro - Various appearances 2011". Facebook. 2011-02-24. Retrieved 2015-07-23.
  33. ^ Carl Sagan. "We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technolnogy" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-07-24.
  34. ^ a b "Nebula Awards". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Retrieved September 4, 2012.

External links

Ascendant Sun

Ascendant Sun is a novel which tells the story of how Kelric made it back to Earth, to become Imperator of the Skolian Empire and lead his people towards peace with the Eubians in the Saga of the Skolian Empire series by Catherine Asaro.

Catch the Lightning

Catch the Lightning is a novel by Catherine Asaro in the Saga of the Skolian Empire, also known as Tales of the Ruby Dynasty. The novel won the 1998 Sapphire Award for Best Science Fiction Romance and the UTC Readers Choice Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.

Catherine Asaro bibliography

This is the complete bibliography of American space opera and hard science fiction author Catherine Asaro.

Donald Wolcott

Donald Wolcott (April 13, 1990) is a jazz musician from Rockville, Maryland.


InConJunction is a fan-run, not-for-profit science fiction convention held during the first weekend in July in Indianapolis, Indiana. Past guests include Philip José Farmer, Frederik Pohl, Catherine Asaro, George R.R. Martin, Jerry Pournelle, Glen Cook, Mike Resnick, Timothy Zahn, and David Drake. The convention focuses on literature and literacy, but not to the exclusion of other areas of interest. Unique or unusual features include a dedicated Doctor Who room sponsored by The Whoosier Network, an anime room sponsored by The Indiana Animation Club, and a charity auction supporting Indy Reads and other charities as chosen by the convention chairperson.

Parsec Awards

The Parsec Awards are a set of annual awards created to recognize excellence in science fiction podcasts and podcast novels. The awards were created by Mur Lafferty, Tracy Hickman and Michael R. Mennenga and awarded by FarPoint Media. They were first presented in 2006 at DragonCon and have since become "one of the most recognizable honors in science and fiction podcasting".Nominations are accepted from the listening public annually in each of the categories. The list is vetted for eligibility by the steering committee, before producers are invited to submit samples of work for consideration by a panel of judges. The panel reduces the list of nominees to five finalists in each category. The finalists' work is submitted for judging and the winner is selected by that panel of authors, podcasters, and others knowledgeable in the field of speculative fiction, podcasting, and/or publishing. Past finalist judges have included Catherine Asaro, Charles de Lint, Cory Doctorow, and Evo Terra.

Point Valid

Point Valid was a three-piece alternative rock band originating in Baltimore, Maryland. The group formed in October 2006, and went on hiatus in 2011. While active, the band collaborated with American science fiction and fantasy author Catherine Asaro.

Primary Inversion

Primary Inversion is a science fiction novel in the Saga of the Skolian Empire by Catherine Asaro. As Asaro's debut novel, it first appeared as a hardcover in 1995. It was nominated for the 1996 Compton Crook/Stephen Tall Memorial Award and placed tenth on the list for the Locus Award for Best First Novel.

Schism (novel)

Schism is a novel in the Saga of the Skolian Empire, a series of science fiction books by Catherine Asaro. It was first published in 2004.

Skyfall (disambiguation)

Skyfall is a 2012 James Bond film starring Daniel Craig.

Skyfall may also refer to:

"Skyfall" (Adele song), the theme song for the film of the same name, performed by Adele

Skyfall: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, the soundtrack for the film of the same name—does not contain the title song performed by Adele

"Skyfall" (One Ok Rock song), a song by a Japanese rock band, One Ok Rock

Skyfall, a 1976 novel by Harry Harrison (writer)

Skyfall (novel), a 2004 novel by Catherine Asaro in the Saga of the Skolian Empire series

Skyfall, a 2007 novel by Anthony Eaton in the Darklands Trilogy

The Skyfall bar at the top of the Mandalay Bay resort hotel

Skyfall (novel)

Skyfall is a 2004 novel by Catherine Asaro which tells the story of how Roca met her husband Eldrinson, Bard of Dalvador, ruler of a province on Skyfall.

Spherical Harmonic

Spherical Harmonic is a science fiction novel from the Saga of the Skolian Empire by Catherine Asaro. It tells the story of Dyhianna Selei (Dehya), the Ruby Pharaoh of the Skolian Imperialate, as she strives to reform her government and reunite her family in the aftermath of a devastating interstellar war.

Sunrise Alley

Sunrise Alley is a romantic science fiction novel by Catherine Asaro about a retired EI engineer named Samantha Bryton, and her adventures with an escaped EI who claims to be a human named Turner Pascal.

The Final Key

The Final Key is a science fiction novel in the Saga of the Skolian Empire, a series of books by American writer Catherine Asaro. As the direct sequel to Schism, it tells the story of a major Eubian assault against the Skolian government and Eldrinson's rise from a rustic farmer to a member of the powerful imperial Triad.

The Last Hawk

The Last Hawk is a 1997 science fiction novel by Catherine Asaro. The novel is an installment in the Saga of the Skolian Empire series and details the life of Kelricson Garlin Valdoria Skolia during his eighteen years of imprisonment on the planet Coba

It was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1998.

The Moon's Shadow

The Moon's Shadow is a novel from the Saga of the Skolian Empire by Catherine Asaro which tells the story of Jaibriol Qox III—how he became emperor of Eube after the interstellar Radiance War, and founded peace talks between his people, the Eubians, and those of the Skolian Imperialate.

The Quantum Rose

The Quantum Rose is a science fiction novel by Catherine Asaro which tells the story of Kamoj Argali and Skolian Prince Havyrl Valdoria. The book is set in her Saga of the Skolian Empire. It won the 2001 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 2001 Affaire de Coeur Award for Best Science Fiction. The first third of the novel appeared as a three-part serialization in Analog magazine in the 1999 May, June and July/August issues. Tor Books published the full novel in 2000.

The Radiant Seas

The Radiant Seas is a novel from the Saga of the Skolian Empire series of books by Catherine Asaro. The book continues where Primary Inversion ended and centers on the story of the devastating interstellar Radiance War. It won the HOMer Award for Best Novel of 2000 from the SF and Fantasy forum on CompuServe.Radiant Seas follows the lives of several Ruby Dynasty members (especially Sauscony (Soz), Kurj and Althor) and also of main political figures from the Eubian Concord (emperor Ur Qox and his wife Viquara) during a period of nearly 18 years.

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