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On this week’s BOOKCHAT we extend a warm welcome to Kate Rauner. Kate is a retired engineer who lives by the Gila National Forest with her menagerie, which includes a dog, cats and several llamas. Kate has recently published the final book in a series that depicts the colonization of Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

I don’t think anyone can claim guilt over coffee and chocolate, so it must be the really terrible movies that were already banished to Saturday afternoons in my youth. They’re all available on DVDs, and my brother collected a treasure trove that we watch when I visit him. Try Plan 9 From Outer Space, but don’t tell anyone I suggested it to you.

What’s the most important lesson life has taught you?

One of the first things I learned when I started working was: old people don’t know they’re old! They think they’re normal people. I’m not sure how important that is, but over the decades I’ve never stopped marvelling at it.

What book(s) are you reading now?

Writing controls most of my reading these days. On and off, I study books on the craft of writing and marketing novels. Jon Truby sits at the side of my laptop today. The only practical goal I have with my writing is to get better with each of my attempts.

Since I write science fiction, I also read books in the genre, hoping to both enjoy and learn, and what a mix is available. Some I honestly adore and some leave me cold, but I read quickly and most books vanish from my long-term memory. My writing buddy, EJ Randolph, and I started a blog to post recommendations only for books we enjoy. Lately I’ve posted The Dust of Stars, with cool technologies and aliens; The Turning Test, with doofy characters; Copper Clad World, an old pulp-age classic; The Warehouse, set in a dystopian future where everyone works for a global colossus like a hybrid of today’s Amazon and the company towns of Silver City’s own mining history.

What books might people be surprised to find on your shelves?

Most of my reading is ephemeral, but some books I think about over the years and want to have close at hand. I have a complete set of Harry Potter, which might surprise you if you know I write hard science fiction. They’re fun, especially the earlier ones, and sometimes I just want to have fun.

One book I bet no one has ever heard of is Polywater by Felix Franks. It’s the true story of the apparent discovery that swept the relevant scientific community only to be debunked to the embarrassment of many competent researchers. The scientific method protects us from most heuristic fallacies, but scientists are only human and that’s a good thing to remember because… aren’t we all? Related in a way is one of my school-years paperbacks, Sasquatch by Rene Dahinden; the story of his search for Bigfoot. It’s an unintended study of the psychology of people caught up in their beliefs in a fascinating creature no one can ever quite catch. Those are the sort of books that stay with me.

Which genres do you read? Which do you avoid? Why?

I read a lot of non-fiction. Science, of course, including physics and psychology. I love to find out how things work, and even better, to discover something I think I know that ain’t so. History falls into that category too.

In fiction, I read science fiction and fantasy. I generally avoid military/war stories because battles don’t grab me. Sometimes I think writers pump up their battle scenes just to increase the page count. I haven’t tried any romance since I was a kid. It all seemed so repetitious back then. But friends tell me times have changed, so maybe I should try again.

What “classic” couldn’t you finish?

Isaac Asimov is a grand master of scifi’s Golden Age, and I’ve enjoyed some of his works, but I can’t get through the Foundation trilogy. It’s been called the beginning of modern science fiction and the greatest scifi series ever. The stories include some of our most familiar modern tropes, like force fields, hyperspace travel, and holograms. But the style! Primarily conversations among the characters – questions, answers, and explanations. Maybe that was enough when the concepts were new, but I like characters and plot. I simply couldn’t finish.

Tell us about your latest book in no more than 50 words.

PhD student Fynn is kidnapped to Saturn’s moon, Titan, with his family’s cult to create utopia. But things go terribly wrong. In the final book of the trilogy, he clashes with his sister over the colony’s destiny. Whose vision of survival will triumph?

Where can we find this book?

Titan Martyrs is the final book in my Titan trilogy. You’ll find the entire series on Amazon, available in Kindle, paperback, and Kindle Unlimited. Search Amazon for Titan Martyrs by Kate or

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Southwest Word Fiesta™ or its steering committee.

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Mimbres Press of Western New Mexico University is a traditional academic press that welcomes agented and unagented submissions in the following genres: literary fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, memoir, poetry, children’s books, historical fiction, and academic books. We are particularly interested in academic work and commercial work with a strong social message, including but not limited to works of history, reportage, biography, anthropology, culture, human rights, and the natural world. We will also consider selective works of national and global significance.