biography of DAVID BRIN, Ph.D.

General Biography

David Brin is a scientist, speaker, technical consultant and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

His 1989 ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. His 2012 novel Existence extends this type of daring, near future extrapolation by exploring bio-engineering, intelligence and how to maintain an open-creative civilization.

A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on The Postman.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy. He has served since 2010 on the council of external advisers for NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts group (NIAC), which supports the most inventive and potentially ground-breaking new endeavors.

In 2013 David Brin helped to establish the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD, where he was honored as a "distinguished alumnus" and where he was thereafter a Visiting Scholar in Residence. Other HONORS include the American Library Association's Obeler Freedom of Speech Award, the California Library Association's Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award, The Potomac Institute's 2015 Navigator Award for public service, and the first annual National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Bard College. 2015.

His non-fiction book — The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? — deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Prize from the American Library Association.

As a public "scientist/futurist" David appears frequently on TV, including, most recently, on many episodes of "The Universe" and on the History Channel's best-watched show (ever) "Life After People." He also was a regular cast member on "The ArciTECHS." (For others, see "Media and Punditry," below)

Brin's scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD — the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) — followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.

David's novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once.

A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise in the nation that most loves and respects the graphic novel.

David's science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov. Foundation's Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov's famed Foundation Universe.

As a speaker and on television, David Brin shares unique insights — serious and humorous — about ways that changing technology may affect our future lives. Brin lives in San Diego County with his wife, three children, and a hundred very demanding trees.

"The US Air Force ran a six month Delphi effort in which 'Oracles' provided insight into potential futures for the USAF. The Oracles are tops in their fields, ranging from Hugo, Nebula, Campbell and Locus Award-winning science fiction writer and astrophysicist Dr. David Brin, who authored Earth, Foundation's Triumph, The Uplift War, and The Postman, to US Air Force Senior Mentor Lt Gen Mike Short, who led NATO's air campaign in the Kosovo and Serbia without single NATO casualty in combat. Many of the Oracles command a high fee for their expertise, but all worked on this project pro bono out of a sense of patriotism, academic curiosity, professional interest, friendship or some combination of the above." — Julian Chesnutt (Department of Defense) and Timothy Mack (World Future Society)


Married to Dr. Cheryl Ann Brigham. Three children, Benjamin (1992), Ariana (1994), Terren (1996). See this page for DAVID BRIN's personal biographical information.

DAVID BRIN's novels and collections

Novels and Collections

Sundiver, First fiction sale, Bantam Books 1980 (now in 16th printing).
Startide Rising, Bantam 1983. WINNER: Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Awards for best novel (in 35th Printing.)
The Practice Effect, Bantam 1984. (10th printing.)
The Postman, Bantam (hc), 1985. NOMINEE: 1986 Nebula & Hugo Awards; WINNER: Locus & John W. Campbell Awards. American Library Assoc. "best" for young adults. Kevin Costner film 1997.
Heart of the Comet, Bantam hc (with Gregory Benford), 1986.
The River of Time, (collection) Dark Harvest (hc), 1986, Bantam 1987.
The Uplift War, Bantam 1987. NY Times Bestseller, Winner HUGO and LOCUS Awards 1988. Nebula nominee.
Earth, Bantam Spectra (hc), 1990. NOMINEE 1991 Hugo award for best novel (runner-up). NY Times Bestseller.
Glory Season, Bantam Spectra (hc), 1993. NOMINEE 1994 Hugo award for best novel.
Otherness, Bantam Spectra 1994. Story-essay collection. WINNER: LOCUS Award for Best collection, 1995.
Brightness Reef, Bantam Spectra 1995. NOMINEE 1996 Hugo award for best novel.
Infinity's Shore, Bantam Spectra 1996. Premio Italia: Best International Novel 2001.
Heaven's Reach, Bantam Spectra 1998.
Foundation's Triumph, (final book in Asimov 'foundation' series) Harper-Collins 1999.
Kiln People, Tor Books (hc) 2002. NOMINEE: Hugo Award (2nd place), Arthur C. Clarke Award (2nd place), John W. Campbell Memorial Award (2nd place)
Contacting Aliens: Illustrated Guide to David Brin's Uplift Universe, with Kevin Lenagh, Bantam 2002.
The Life Eaters, DC Comics Hardcover 2004.
Sky Horizon, Subterranean Press 2007. WINNER: Hal Clement Award for best science fiction novel for young adult readers, 2008.
Through Stranger Eyes, (collection) Nimble Press (Western Hemisphere) and Altair Australia (Eastern Hemisphere) 2008.
Existence, Tor Books 2012.
Insistence of Vision, (collection) Fiction Studio Books 2016.
Chasing Shadows, (anthology of fiction and essays about the coming transparent world) Tor Books 2017.

Adaptations to Other Media

Film version of novel, The Postman, dir. Kevin Costner, Warner Brothers' Studios, December 1997.
Scenario for an episode of the television show Seven Days ... "Clouds". Sold in 2001.
Scripted and directed 90 page (hc) graphic novel "Forgiveness" for DC Comics, 2001.
Scripted and directed 90 page (hc) graphic novel "The Life Eaters" for DC Comics, 2003.
Audio productions of The Postman, Sundiver, The Uplift War, "The Loom of Thessaly," "The Crystal Spheres," "Toujours Voir," "Those Eyes," and "Temptation."
Film script of novel Startide Rising commissioned by Paramount Pictures.
Film script of novel Kiln People commissioned by Paramount Pictures.
Film Script of "Detritus Affected" commissioned by Sandbar Pictures.

DAVID BRIN's shorter fiction

Shorter Fiction

Novellas and Novelettes:

"Thor Meets Captain America" Fantasy & Sc.Fiction,'86. (2nd Place, 1987 Hugo Award)
"The Loom of Thessaly" ISAAC ASIMOV'S SF MAGAZINE (IASFM) 11/81.
"Genji" - in Murusaki, Bantam Books 1992.
"The Postman" IASFM 11/82. (2nd Place, 1983 Hugo Award; Brazil SFAward)
"Cyclops" IASFM 3/84. (2nd Place, 1985 Hugo Award)
"A Stage of Memory," Fantasy & Sc.Fiction, 1986.
"Piecework" - INTERZONE, Jan. 1990.
"Dr. Pak's Preschool" - Cheap Street special ed., 1988. Fantasy & Sc.Fiction, 1989.
"Lungfish" - Published in The River of Time.
"Life in the Extrme" - POPULAR SCIENCE MAGAZINE Special Edition, 8/98.
"Stones of Significance" - 1/2000 Analog. Voted Best Novelette of 2000 by readers.
"Sky Light" - All Star Zeppelin Stories 2005.

Short Stories:

"Coexistence" IASFM May 1982. (Retitled "River of Time").
"Tank Farm Dynamo" ANALOG November 1983.
"Fourth Vocation of George Gustaf" IASFM Anthology, 1984.
"The Warm Space" Far Frontiers, Baen Books 1/85.
"The Crystal Spheres" ANALOG January 1984. WINNER: HUGO AWARD, best SF Short Story 1985.
"Bubbles" in The Universe, 1987.
"Ice Pilot" PROJECT SOLAR SAIL, 1990.
"The Giving Plague" INTERZONE, 1987. 2nd Place, 1989 Hugo Award for best short story.
"What Continues, and What Fails...", INTERZONE 1991, Full Spectrum IV, 1993 (Bantam Books)
"Detritus Affected" F&SF, 1993.
"NatuLife" F&SF.
"Other Side of the Hill" S.F. Age, 1994.
"An Ever-Reddening Glow" Analog, 1996.
"Fortitude" Science Fiction Age, 1996.
"Paris Conquers All" Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1989 (with Gregory Benford).
"Reality Check" NATURE (science journal) 16/March 2000.
"MedicineCabinet 3.5".
"Aficionado" Popular Science Magazine special edition 1998.
"The Diplomacy Guild" Isaac's Universe 1990.
"An Ever-Reddening Glow" Analog 1996.
"Fortitude" Science Fiction Age 1996.
"The Other Side of the Hill" SF Age 1994.
"I Could Have Done Better" Indy Magazine 2002 (with Gregory Benford).
"Mars Opposition" Analog 2005.
"Vacuum Collision" WIRED Magazine 2006.
"Shoresteading" Jim Baen's Universe 2008.

DAVID BRIN's nonfiction books

Nonfiction Books

Chasing Shadows: Visions of Our Coming Transparent World, 2017. Tor Books.
The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, 1998. Perseus Books. Winner: Obeler Freedom of Speech award, McGannon Communication Policy Research Award.
Extraterrestrial Civilization, edited by Thomas B.H. Kuiper and (Glen) David Brin, American Association of Physics Teachers, 1989.
Pathological Altruism, ed. Barbara Oakley et al. Oxford U. Press, 2012.
Changing Minds: Arguments on Contemporary and Enduring Issues. Jon Ford and Marjorie Ford, Penguin Academics Series, 2009. Chapter on the future of surveillance.
Editor, Star Wars on Trial, 2006. Benbella Books.
Editor, King Kong is Back!, 2005. Benbella Books.

DAVID BRIN's popular science articles

Popular Science Articles and Publications

"Saving Earth from an Expanding Sun?" Room: the Space Magazine.
"Will There Be Privacy in The Transparent Society?" in Volume IV of HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities.
"Professionalization vs. The Age of Amateurs."
"Is Privacy Finished?" Salon Magazine.
"Altruism — Is It Universal Among Intelligent Species?" Lifeboat Foundation.
"Shall we shout into the Cosmos?" Lifeboat Foundation.
"The Great Silence: The Controversy Concerning Extraterrestrial Life." Q. J. Royal Astron. Society 1983.
"The Deadly Thing at 2.4 Kiloparsecs." ANALOG 1984.
"How Dangerous is the Galaxy?" ANALOG June 1985.
"Forget Warp Drive. Can Science Give us the Stars for Real?," interview in Science Fiction Age, March 1995.
"Xenology: The New Science of Asking Who's Out There." ANALOG 1983.

DAVID BRIN's scientific and academic papers

Scientific and Academic Papers

Complete listing available on request. Topics include:

"No One Said It Would Be Easy," by David Brin, UCSD. Journal of Science & Popular Culture Volume 1 Number 1 © 2018 Intellect Ltd Perspectives. Doi: 10.1386/Jspc.1.1.77_7.
"Self-Addiction and Self-Righteousness," in Pathological Altruism, ed: Oakley, Knafo, Madhavan and Wilson, Oxford U. Press (2012).
Evolution of Cometary Nuclei as Influenced by a Dust Component. Doctoral Dissertation for the University of California, San Diego March 1981.
astronautics (NASA-funded studies with California Space Institute, regarding robotics & space station design).
optics & theory of polarized light (e.g. APPLIED OPTICS Vol.18, 2990-2991, 1979).
nature & activity of comets Doctoral Dissertation, plus papers in ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL.
astronomical and philosophical questions posed by SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) — major review in Quarterly Journal of Royal Astronomical Society, fall1983, v.24, pp.283-309.) plus many others.
"Neoteny and Two-Way Sexual Selection in Human Evolution: Paleo-Anthropological Speculation." (J. of Social and Evolutionary Systems, vol.18(3) pp.257-276, January 1996.)
"Disputation Arenas: Harnessing Conflict and Competition for Society's Benefit," American Bar Association Journal on Dispute Resolution (Ohio State University), V.15, N.3, pp 597-618, August 2000.
"Singularities & Nightmares: the Range of Our Futures," in Nanotechnology Perceptions: A Review of Ultraprecision Engineering and Nanotechnology, Vol.2, N.1, March 2006.

For access to abstracts or whole documents please visit my ResearchGate Site.

DAVID BRIN's political literary and social commentary

Political, Literary, and Social Commentary

Invited reviewer for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, the Times (London), the New Scientist (London), the San Diego Union etc. Books reviewed include: Collapse by Jared Diamond, No Place to Hide by Robert O'Harrow, The Progress Paradox by Gregg Easterbrook, River of Shadows by Rebecca Solnit, plus many others, fiction and nonfiction.

Contributor to multiple Eaton Conferences on science fiction as a literary genre.

Individual Articles:

"Harnessing Conflict and Competitiveness for Society's Benefit" lead article in the American Bar Association's Journal on Dispute Resolution (Ohio State University), v.15, N.3, pp 597-618, Aug. 2000.
"Beleaguered Professionals vs. Disempowered Citizens" Foundation for the Future 2003.
"An Incautious and Heretical Appraisal of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings" Salon Magazine (cover). Dec 2002.
"Star Wars despots vs. Star Trek populists" (nostalgic fantasy vs belief in progress) Salon Magazine (cover). 1999.
"Zero Sum Elections and the Electoral College" Liberty Magazine, 5(6) July 1992.
"The Threat of Aristocracy" political commentary in Liberty Magazine, May 1994.
"Of Elves and Aliens" OMNI Magazine, June 1994.
"The Internet as a Commons" Information Technology & Libraries, 14(4) Dec. 1995.
"Privacy is History—Get Over It" Interview in WIRED Magazine, February 1996.
"Avoiding Fatal Errors: The Future of Civilization and the Internet" INTERNET LIFE MAGAZINE, DEC 1999.
"Tomorrow's World: The Odd Way We Design Our Destiny" - Netscape/ALO iPlanet Magazine, early 2000.
"Probing the Near Future" Netscape/ALO iPlanet Magazine, early 2000.
"Can Human Beings Achieve Immortality?" Netscape/ALO iPlanet Magazine, early 2000.
"Proxy Power: a couch potato's guide to saving the world" Amazon Shorts 2005.
"The New Philanthropy: Horizons of Perception" Philanthropy Roundtable.

Contacting BRIN

All the Ways in the World to Reach David Brin

an ornery, contrary BLOG, and other insightful wormholes!

Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's incendiary posts on science, sci-fi and politics and its engaged, opinionated community poke at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate — and infuriate. See for yourself, and if you like — subscribe for more.

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pages about DAVID BRIN

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  • pages about BRIN's science fiction

  • Brin's novels and books
  • Brin's short stories and novellas
  • all about Brin's uplift universe
  • a selection of book reviews
  • Brin's special-order books for sale
  • Brin's advice for new writers
  • Brin reviews sci fi films — including The Postman
  • a compilation of great sf books to read
  • recommended sf films
  • science fiction that teaches
  • BRIN's nonfiction explorations

  • privacy, security, accountability and transparency
  • designing and crafting our amazing 21st Century
  • predicting and projecting our near and far future
  • leading and following our politics and economy
  • keeping track of changes in science and technology
  • scanning our sky for habitable (inhabited?) worlds