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  • Writer's pictureSuzie Olsen

Guest Post: H.A. Burns and That One Reader Plus #Giveaway!

Updated: Sep 5, 2018

Hello STEM Spark readers! I’m excited for today’s post, as it’s STEM Spark’s first guest post! I have invited my friend and colleague H.A. Burns to pen the first guest post—Burns and I know each other through the Society of Women Engineers. Besides both being engineers, we’re both authors. While I write children’s picture books, Burns writes science fiction books. And her sci-fi books are pretty cool, imagining a future with cyborgs designed with the aid of viruses and bacteria. Her series is called “Cyborg Dreams,” and if you have the chance, I recommend checking out her series (her books can be found over on our future overlord, Amazon). Let’s welcome H.A. Burns and see what sparks her in STEM and writing!

That One Reader

Writing is a lonely business, published in an increasingly critical world. Science and engineering, on the other hand, is all about proof and facts. It is safe from opinionated validation. Typically, something either works or it doesn’t. Whether it is a math problem or an experiment, the end result is part of the equation. So why would an engineer turn to the scary, subjective world of writing? One word: inspiration.

To inspire what? Who is inspired? Why? As an engineer, I’m programmed to ask many questions, the main question always being “what purpose does this serve?” Because, in engineering, you build for a purpose, a reason… not just for fun.

Did science fiction screenwriter Gene Roddenberry write Star Trek with the expectation to inspire billionaire Jeff Bezos to open a company (Blue Origin) with a goal to one day enable millions of people to live and work in space?

When author Phillip K. Dick wrote “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” did he expect to inspire Hanson Robotics to create an evolving, Artificial Intelligence (AI) run replicant of the author that can give press interviews on behalf of him long after he is dead?

Can science fiction writer predict the future? Because many sure did predicted future technologies. What we know for certain is that the technology that was dreamed about in the published works of science fiction writers has inspired research, development and implementation of things that surround us.

What things? How about that cell phone you use every day? Martin Cooper of Motorola said Captain Kirk's communicator on Star Trek was his inspiration for creating the first ever cellular phone in 1973.

What about your credit card? Edward Bellamy first described a device he called a ‘credit card’ in his 1887 utopian book “Looking Backward” that greatly resembles what is now in just about every wallet. John Biggin later invented it in 1948.

As an engineer and a writer, I would love to inspire even one reader to attempt to solve the problems that stand in the way of the inventions mentioned in my books. Just one reader. Anyone. I would love to know that the work I pour my heart and soul into will spark someone to create something that changes the world as we know it.

Inspiring others is a great reason to become a writer, and it is true that I want to inspire others. But the real reason I started writing is to inspire myself. I needed inspiration to get out of bed, to hope, to feel worthwhile. See, when I started writing I had been sick for almost a year. So sick that I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do about the mounting medical bills and tiny disability check or the fact that no medication seemed to work. Because of the level of pain, and number of urgent trips to the bathroom per day, I couldn’t even leave the house. I couldn’t work. I had been working non-stop for almost 20 years and it was driving me crazy to not be able to do something. I penned the novel “Cyborg Dreams: The Mind of Mine” so that I didn’t lose my own mind. I wrote it while laying in a hospital bed at the Seattle VA. In the end, I’m that one reader who needed inspiration the most.

Thank you, H.A. Burns, for that awesome insight on how science fiction writing can spark future technologies, and how as authors, we both hope to inspire at least one reader to solve the world’s problems through STEM!

My amazing STEM Spark readers, you can follow H.A. Burns on the following social media, AND I’m giving away a digital copy (Kindle version of course because my overlord Amazon would torture me if I choose the Nook version) of her first book, so just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter!

H.A. Burns’ Social Media Links:

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