Catherine Asaro

(b. 1945)

Catherine Asaro is a physicist and SF writer. She was educated at UCLA (B.S. in chemistry, 1978); Harvard (M.S. in physics, 1983; Ph.D. in chemical physics, 1985).

Asaro has carried out research at the University of Toronto, the Max Planck Institut für Astrophysik in Germany, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and was a professor of physics until 1990. At that time she established Molecudyne Research, which she now runs.

She published her own fanzine, Mindsparks, in the early 1990s (initial issue dated August, 1993).

First SF publication: “Dance in Blue” in the anthology Christmas Forever (Tor, 1993). First SF novel: Primary Inversion (Tor, 1995).

Hugo Nominations:

She received enough nomination to appear on the ballot for the 1996 Campbell Award, but was ineligible.

Honors/Awards: HOMer Award for “Aurora in Four Voices” (Analog, December 1998), for “A Roll of the Dice” (Analog, July/August 2000); National Readers Choice and Prism Awards in 1999 for The Veiled Web, a PBO published in 1999; Sapphire Award for Catch the Lightning, 1997; Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award (Best SF Novel) for The Radiant Seas, 2000; Nebula Award (Novel) for The Quantum Rose, 2001; other awards.

Her novel The Phoenix Code was published in 2000; and Spherical Harmonic, a recent novel in her “Skolian Empire” series appeared in 2001. Most of Asaro’s novels, although standalone, are set in the “Skolian Empire/Ruby Dynasty” universe. Novels in this series are Primary Inversion (1995), Catch the Lightning (1996), The Last Hawk (1997), The Radiant Seas (1999) [a continuation of the story told in Primary Inversion], Ascendant Sun (2000), and The Quantum Rose (2000). Two new novels, The Moon’s Shadow and Skyfall, appeared in 2003. Skyfall is a standalone prequel to her Skolian Empire Saga, the earliest story in the series by internal chronology; it also includes a timeline and a family tree. A fantasy romance novel, The Charmed Sphere (2004), is the second in Harlequin's new line of romantic SF/fantasy titles. The novel Sunrise Alley appeared in 2004. The first two novels in her Saga of the Skolian Empire, Schism and The Final Key, were both published in 2005.

A former ballet and jazz dancer, Asaro founded the Mainly Jazz Dance program at Harvard and teaches ballet at the Caryl Maxwell Academy in Ellicott City, Maryland.

She has also written a column for Tangent magazine, and served as president of SFWA. An interview with Asaro, “Dancing Equations,” appeared in the November 1999 issue of Locus; and she was Jay Kay Klein’s subject in his “Biolog” department in the August 1999 issue of Analog.


See also