Catherine Asaro was born in Oakland, California. She has a B.S. with highest honors in chemistry from UCLA and an A.M. in physics and a Ph.D. in chemical physics both from Harvard University.
When not writing and making appearances at conventions and signings, Catherine teaches math, physics, and chemistry. She has coached various nationally ranked teams with home, private, and public school students, in particular the Howard Area Homeschoolers and the Chesapeake team for national tournaments such as the American Regions Mathematics League (ARML). 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).
Asaro is a member of SIGMA, a think tank of speculative writers that advises the government as to future trends affecting national security. She is also a visiting professor in the Physics Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
A former ballerina, Catherine Asaro has performed with ballets 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: Mainly Jazz 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). Her husband is John Kendall Cannizzo, an astrophysicist at NASA. They have one daughter, a ballet dancer and mathematician.
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.
Asaro is known 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. 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. Her novel The Quantum Rose is an allegory to quantum scattering theory. The novella "Aurora in Four Voices" includes topics ranging from Fourier series to integration problems in calculus, as discussed in Mathematical Fiction forum 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.
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.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 lessions in preparation for the recordings, and continues to train and perform.
This project is the first instance of a musical work that was not inspired by a book afterwards, but was created at the same time as the book and in close collaboration with the author. 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.
During 2009, the Diamond Star Project expanded to include Donald Wolcott, a jazz pianist who accompanies Asaro in concerts. In 2010, Starflight Music released the EP Goodbye Note by Asaro and Wolcott, which includes cover songs of jazz and rock, and original by Wolcott and the song "No Answers with In Paradisum" from the Diamond Star soundtrack, rewritten by Wolcott and Asaro and sung by Asaro.
Note that the stories were published in non-chronological sequence, from the perspective of the characters.
"Light and Shadow" (novelette appearing in Analog, ed. Stanley Schmidt) (1994)
Primary Inversion (1995) - exclusive updated version available free at WebScription.net
Catch the Lightning (1996)
The Last Hawk (1997)
The Radiant Seas (1999)
"Aurora in Four Voices" (novella appearing in Analog, ed. Stanley Schmidt) (1998)
Ascendant Sun (2000)
"A Roll of the Dice" (novella appearing in Analog, ed. Stanley Schmidt) (2000)
The Quantum Rose (2000) (also serialized in Analog, ed. Stanley Schmidt) (1999)
"Ave de Paso" (short story appearing in anthology Redshift: Extreme Visions of Speculative Fiction, ed. Al Sarrantonio, (2001), and in Fantasy: the Best of 2001, ed. Robert Silverberg and Karen Haber, (2002))