Wednesday, July 16, 2008

SF Writers Get VIP Tour of NORAD

I didn't realize there was an official press release about this, wow. But I almost feel like the header should be "Look What the Cool Kids Are Doing." I think the Brin family has dropped out since this was written though. So maybe they aren't as cool as the rest of us? (Update July 17th: I put up the revised press release with the current attendees list.)


CONTACT: John Joseph Adams | | 732-925-6115

Science Fiction Writers Get VIP Tour

of Top-Secret NORAD Facility

On Thursday, August 7th, during the 66th annual World Science Fiction Convention, this year in Denver, a select group of science fiction writers will embark upon a VIP tour of the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) Alternate Command Center at nearby Cheyenne Mountain.

The group--which will total around 25 people--includes bestselling authors Kevin J. Anderson, Greg Bear, Walter Jon Williams, and Robert J. Sawyer, among others. Bear and Williams are also members of the SIGMA think tank--a group of SF writers working with the Department of Homeland Security on how science fiction can apply to critical thinking and benefit the nation in preparing for future events.

The tour is the result of two worlds colliding. The World Science Fiction Convention is a yearly gathering of sci fi fans and professionals from around the planet. Recent host cities include Yokohama, Japan, and Glasgow, Scotland, but with the convention in nearby Denver in 2008, invitations for VIP passes into NORAD were immediately sent to Bear, Williams, and the rest.

Coordinating the tour is retired Lt. Colonel Brian Lihani, a former Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Air Warning Center Commander. Lihani said, “So few people get to see this Top Secret installation. It’s an honor to show the Mountain to such famous authors, and to have members of the SIGMA think tank visit helps them understand the mission we do here at Cheyenne Mountain AFS.”

SF writers have always had a direct influence on the public perception of technology, the future, and the dangers of weapons of mass destruction. Nuclear proliferation and nuclear war both have long-standing resonance in science fiction, and NORAD has often been featured in novels, television, and film. Walter Jon Williams, author of Implied Spaces, said, "I've encountered fictional representations of Cheyenne Mountain all my life, from Seven Days in May to Doctor Strangelove to War Games. In the movies there's always something going badly wrong, but in reality everything went right. I'm interested in seeing that reality."

Rollback author Robert J. Sawyer added, "One of my all-time favorite science fiction films is War Games, large parts of which took place in a fictionalized version of the Cheyenne Mountain complex, so of course I'm curious to find out what the real thing is like--a very personal case of science fiction becoming science fact! And many people forget that NORAD is a joint Canadian-American effort. As someone who lives in Canada, I'm delighted to get a chance to see this great example of high-tech international cooperation."

The Cheyenne Mountain Division of NORAD-USNORTHCOM is located at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station (CMAFS), a short distance from NORAD headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, CO.

In 1956, at the height of the Cold War, the idea of a hardened command and control center was conceptualized as a defense against long-range Soviet bombers. The Army Corps of Engineers supervised the excavation of Cheyenne Mountain and the construction of an operational center more than 2,400 feet underground. The Cheyenne Mountain facility, then called the NORAD Combat Operations Center, became completely operational April 20, 1966.

Over the years the installation came to house elements of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), U.S. Strategic Command, U.S. Air Force Space Command and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). Eight centers supported the NORAD missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control, and provided warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America.

The Cheyenne Mountain Division (CMD) is one of the most unique installations on the planet. Apart from the fact that it is housed 2,000 feet beneath a mountain, CMD is also different from most military units because it is a joint and bi-national military organization comprised of professional men and women from the Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Canadian Forces.

Supporting the NORAD mission, CMD provides warning of ballistic missile or air attacks against North America, assists the air sovereignty mission for the U.S. and Canada, and, if necessary, serves as the focal point for air defense operations to counter enemy bombers or cruise missiles. In addition, CMD also provides theater ballistic missile warning for the U.S. and allied forces. The Cheyenne Mountain Division also receives space information from the U.S. Air Force Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg AFB in California. Space control operations include protection, prevention, and negation functions supported by the surveillance of space.

A list of tour attendees follows:
  • Kevin J. Anderson, bestselling author of Metal Swarm and a Colorado Springs local
  • Rebecca Moesta, author of Crystal Doors
  • Robert Charles Wilson, Hugo and Aurora Award-winning author of Spin
  • His wife, Sharry Wilson
  • Lou Anders, Editorial Director of Pyr Books
  • John Joseph Adams, editor of anthologies Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse and Seeds of Change
  • Robert J. Sawyer, bestselling author of Rollback
  • Carolyn Clink, award-winning poet
  • Jeff Carlson, author of the internationally acclaimed thriller Plague Year
  • His wife Diana Carlson
  • Walter Jon Williams, bestselling author of Implied Spaces and a member of the Homeland Security anti-terrorism SIGMA think tank
  • Greg Bear, also a bestselling author and a member of the Homeland Security anti-terrorism SIGMA think tank.
  • David J. Williams, author of The Mirrored Heavens
  • Jeremy F. Lewis, author of Staked
  • Sean Williams, bestselling author of Earth Ascendant
  • Blake Charlton, author of The Spellwright.
  • Paolo Bacigalupi, award-winning author of Pump Six and Other Stories.
  • Adam Rogers, senior editor with WIRED magazine
  • Annalee Newitz, senior editor with

The final list will be available as the date of the tour draws nearer.

If you're a member of the press and would like to cover the tour, either by conducting interviews with the attendees before or afterward, or if you would like to accompany the tour yourself to cover it in more detail, or for more general information, please contact John Joseph Adams at (732) 925-6115 or at If you have questions about the NORAD facility itself, you may contact Lt. Colonel J. Brian "Bear" Lihani directly at (719) 554-2282 or


Jenny B said...

Wow! I wish I was on the cool kids' list. If I looked younger, I'd try to pass myself off as one of the Brin teenagers.
Hum, I'm plotting and planning on a way to get one of those potentially open spots!

The date looks wrong. That date is after WorldCon instead of during WorldCon, I think.

Jenny B said...

I think spending hours prepping for my trip to San Diego Comic-Con next week must have etched Comic-Con dates (July 24-27)into my working memory space.
My plane ticket to Denver for WorldCon definitely says Aug 6th!

Now, the decision to be made:
Do I claim a senior moment, completely knocking me out of the chance to pass myself off as one of the absent teenagers?
Do I admit that I am one of those people that takes a cell phone picture of the parking lot sign next to my car because I won’t remember where I parked?
Teenagers snap lots of cell phone pictures. Hum. I can pretend to be a teen and cover up my memory problems with lots of cell phone picture reminders.
Think young.
Be young.
Everyone needs to give me a word of encouragement. Help me believe I can pass as one of the absent teenagers and go with the Cool Kids to NORAD.
Now, where did I put my cell phone?

tomlloyd said...

That's soooooo cool, I hate you! ;0)

Hey, look at me, regressing to teenagerhood!

worldprotection said...

The World Protection Group ensures the safety of VIPs. We are specialized in Executive Protection, Corporate Security, Personal Protection, VIP Protection etc VIP Protection