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Tag Archives | Science Fiction
Speculative fiction author and podcaster Scott Sigler joins me for a wide-ranging discussion covering mutations, buddy films, aliens, artificial intelligence and much more.
This podcast is also available as a video interview:
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Every month, there seems to be news of some fabulous science fiction concept that is ever closer to becoming science fact. In just the past few months, we’ve seen concepts go public for medical tricorders, augmented reality glasses, smart watches (although how much we actually want them is up for debate) and Jurassic Park-style de-extinction. Now, enter levitation, which could very well be the next science fiction concept to hit it big.
If all goes as planned, it may soon be possible for pharmaceutical researchers to levitate molecules in mid-air and for city planners to build super-fast transportation networks filled with levitating vehicles.
Via Buzzfeed, in a 1977 essay in Vogue, the influential weirdo-futurist author predicted the existence of social media, in this spooky summation of where our lives seem to be headed:
Continuing Disinfo’s love affair with The Public Domain Review, this piece by Aaron Parrett on a 2nd century work of science fiction describing a surreal voyage to the moon:
With his Vera Historia, the 2nd century satirist Lucian of Samosata wrote the first detailed account of a trip to the moon in the Western tradition and, some argue, also one of the earliest science fiction narratives. Aaron Parrett explores how Lucian used this lunar vantage point to take a satirical look back at the philosophers of Earth and their ideas of “truth”.
The Greek-speaking rhetorician and writer Lucian of Samosata, born around 125 CE in what is now known as Syria, has had a somewhat mixed reception through the ages. Scholars agree that his contemporaries and successors viewed him with a great deal of respect. Early Christians were less admiring of Lucian and his pagan and vitriolic pen, though by the time of the renaissance, he had regained favor among learned people.… Read the rest
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After a while, most serialized webcomics start to look the same. Just about every series seems to strike a similar balance of influences from anime and western animation. But not Light Years Away, which draws inspiration from European sci-fi comics by artists like Moebius and Tanino Liberatore.
LYA is set in a world where many — perhaps most — people have cybernetic implants. But there’s a growing, violent anti-implant movement called the Puritans. The first story arc, Escape from Prison Planet, tells the story of Milo, a repeat offender doing time on an off-planet penal colony, where he ends up in the middle of a prison gang war between the Puritans and the implantees. Soon, however, he finds out there’s something bigger going on.
I talked with writer Ethan Ede and artist Adam Rosenlund — the Boise, Idaho based duo behind the series — about webcomics, the future of the series and other projects they have in the hopper.
Is environmental change poised to thrust us into new worlds? NPR writes:
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Nathaniel Rich’s Odds Against Tomorrow is the latest in what seems to be an emerging literary genre. Over the past decade, more and more writers have begun to set their novels and short stories in worlds, not unlike our own, where the Earth’s systems are noticeably off-kilter. The genre has come to be called climate fiction — “cli-fi,” for short.
“I think we need a new type of novel to address a new type of reality,” says Rich, “which is that we’re headed toward something terrifying and large and transformative. And it’s the novelist’s job to try to understand, what is that doing to us?” As far as Rich is concerned, climate change itself is a foregone conclusion. The story — the suspense, the romance — is in how we deal with it.
Of course, science fiction with an environmental bent has been around since the 1960s (think J.G.
The future is distant 1992, and everything’s gone to hell in a handbasket since the female coup (often for reasons that are not immediately apparent: for example, I cannot understand why a drop in industrial production to virtually zero should have caused devastating global pollution). Men are a subjugate species; they have their uses, but not many of them, and are expected to be self-effacing and subservient at all times.
Husky hetero Keith Montalvo has sex with a like-minded colleague, and their crime is discovered. He goes on the run, hides in the New York subway, encounters and joins the underground (literally) resistance. Oops, I forgot the obligatory bit: he falls in love with a sultry rebel temptress.
The goal is to spur interest in math and science, and encourage kids to ponder the benefits and drawbacks of emerging technologies in their own lives. Via Blastr, a fantastic antidote to the efforts of politicians to mandate religious content in classrooms:
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A Republican legislator in West Virginia is proposing a bill that would require the State Board of Education to integrate science fiction literature into middle-school and high-school reading curricula. Delegate Ray Canterbury hopes that even if the bill doesn’t pass it will pressure the Board of Education to adopt science fiction on its own.
“I’m primarily interested in things where advanced technology is a key component of the storyline, both in terms of the problems that it presents and the solutions that it offers,” Canterbury said. Canterbury cites Isaac Asimov and Jules Verne as early influences in his own youth that lead him to earn a degree in mathematics.
“In Southern West Virginia, there’s a bit of a Calvinistic attitude toward life—this is how things are and they’ll never be any different,” Canterbury says.
John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar, written more than forty years ago but set in an imagined year 2010 in which ever more power is concentrated in the hands of a few global corporations, is eerily accurate about so much current reality. Via the The Millions, Ted Gioia writes:
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Brunner’s vision of the year 2010 even includes a popular leader named President Obomi. Let me list some of the other correct predictions in Brunner’s book:
Random acts of violence by crazy individuals, often taking place at schools, plague society in Stand on Zanzibar.
The other major source of instability and violence comes from terrorists, who are now a major threat to U.S. interests, and even manage to attack buildings within the United States.
Prices have increased sixfold between 1960 and 2010 because of inflation. (The actual increase in U.S. prices during that period was sevenfold, but Brunner was close.)
The most powerful U.S.