Glen David Brin
October 6, 1950
Glendale, California, U.S.
|Education||University of California, San Diego (1981), Ph.D.|
University of California, San Diego (1978), M.S.
California Institute of Technology (1973), B.S.
|Occupation(s)||Novelist, NASA consultant|
|Notable works||Uplift series, The Postman, Earth, "The Transparent Society"|
|Thesis||Evolution of cometary nuclei as influenced by a dust component (1981)|
|Doctoral advisor||D. Asoka Mendis|
Glen David Brin (born October 6, 1950) is an American scientist and author of science fiction. He has won the Hugo, Locus, Campbell and Nebula Awards. His novel The Postman was adapted into a 1997 feature film starring Kevin Costner.
Brin was born in Glendale, California, in 1950 to Selma and Herb Brin. He graduated from the California Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science in astronomy, in 1973. At the University of California, San Diego, he earned a Master of Science in electrical engineering (optics) in 1978 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in astronomy in 1981.
From 1983 to 1986, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the California Space Institute, of the University of California, at the San Diego campus in La Jolla. In 2010, Brin became a fellow of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. He helped establish the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD. He serves on the advisory board of NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts group and frequently does futurist consulting for corporations and government agencies.
Brin has a side career in public speaking and consultation. He appears frequently on science- or future-related television shows such as The Universe, Life After People, Alien Encounters, Worlds of Tomorrow. He consults and speaks for a wide variety of groups interested in the future, ranging from Defense Department agencies and the CIA to Procter & Gamble, SAP, Google, and other major corporations. He has participated in discussions at the Philanthropy Roundtable and other groups seeking innovative problem solving approaches.
As of 2013, he served on the Board of Advisors for the Museum of Science Fiction.
Brin has Polish Jewish ancestry, from the area around Konin. His grandfather was drafted into the Russian army and fought in the Russian-Japanese War of 1905.
As of 2022, Brin was living in San Diego County, California, with his wife and children.
Most of Brin's fiction is categorized as hard science fiction, in that they apply some degree of plausible scientific or technological change as important plot elements. About half of Brin's works are in his Uplift Universe. These have twice won the Hugo Award for Best Novel.
Much of Brin's work outside the Uplift series focuses on technology's effects on human society, a common theme of contemporary North American science fiction. This is most noticeable in The Practice Effect, Glory Season, and Kiln People.
Brin's Jewish heritage is the source of two other strong themes in his works. Tikkun Olam ("repairing the world", i.e. people have a duty to make the world a better place) is originally a religious concept, but Brin, like many non-orthodox Jews, has adapted this into a secular notion of working to improve the human condition, to increase knowledge, and to prevent long-term evils. Brin has confirmed that this notion in part underscores the notion of humans as "caretakers" of sentient-species-yet-to-be, as he explains in a concluding note at the end of Startide Rising;[need quotation to verify] and it plays a key role in The Uplift War, in which the Thennanin are converted from enemies to allies of the Terragens (humans and other sapients that originated on Earth) when they realize that making the world a better place and being good care-takers are core values of both civilizations. Many of Brin's novels emphasize another element of Jewish tradition: the importance of laws and legality, whether intergalactic law in the Uplift series or that of near-future California in Kiln People. Still, Brin has stated, "Truly mature citizens ought not to need an intricate wrapping of laws and regulations, in order to do what common sense dictates as good for all".
The Uplift novels are:
Contacting Aliens: An Illustrated Guide to David Brin's Uplift Universe (2002), ISBN 978-0553377965 is co-written by Brin and Kevin Lenagh
His short fiction has been collected in:
Other works by Brin include his addition to Asimov's Foundation Universe:
and his addition to Eric Flint's 1632-verse:
Brin designed the game Tribes, published in 1998 by Steve Jackson Games, and wrote the storyline for the 2000 Dreamcast video game Ecco the Dolphin: Defender of the Future.