SAN JOSE, Calif. Tired of the drip, drip, drip of news about layoffs? Why not explore outer space?
That's what Eric Bogatin did. The veteran signal integrity consultant just released his first fiction book, a novel about a Silicon Valley engineer who winds up battling aliens on the moon.
"I've been a science fiction fan since I was eleven," said Bogatin, best known for his classes on topics such as crosstalk in 10 Gbit/second signaling. "About ten years ago I went through a period where I couldn't find any sci-fi books I wanted to read, so I decided I would write a book myself."
The result was "Shadow Engineer," released earlier this month and now available online.
"It's about a young Silicon Valley engineer who stumbles into a secret company with lots of high tech equipment including an experimental space craft," said Bogatin.
"They have made a secret discovery that relates to aliens who could harm the Earth. He works with an older math professor to figure out what the aliens want, and on the way he has to do battle with them in space and on the moon," he added.
In his real-life role as a consultant, Bogatin recently made his first visit to NASA's Johnson Space Center to teach a course.
"You drive through the front gate and it's like a trip back to your childhood when you looked to astronauts as your heroes--I had pictures of Mercury and Apollo astronauts on my wall," said the 50-something Bogatin. "It was emotionally a thrill to be in a place where history is made," he added.
He told the NASA engineers about his novel which was just about to be published at the time. "I met some engineers working on new space propulsion technologies, and I had to tell them some of the things I wrote about are not too far off from what they are working on," he said.
So far, Bogatin's sci-fi novel has only sold "about seven copies not to friends or relatives."
It is his fifth book. Bogatin's most recent text book, "Signal Integrity Simplified," was translated into Chinese and has sold well both in the U.S. and China. A second edition will be released this year.
The downturn is already impacting his business which is focused on classes conducted mainly around the U.S.
"The first thing that goes is training and the second thing that goes is travel, so we are trying something new with webinars," he said. "Overall, I hear the first quarter will be a dead one, and beyond that there's a lot of uncertainty," he said.
Meanwhile, Bogatin has mapped out a whole series of sci-fi books to follow his first novel. He also hopes to publish a set of his short stories. Bogatin hopes readers find the work a welcome distraction during the current recession.
"Maybe this will be a bit of a break for worrying about what will come down next week in layoffs and cutbacks," he said.