Tag Archives | Science Fiction

West Virginia Lawmaker Proposes Requiring Science Fiction In High School

solarisThe 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:

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.

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The 1969 Science Fiction Novel Which Eerily Predicted Today

zanzibarJohn 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:

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.

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Valibation: A Dark Fantasy Of Gadget Connection

Todd Strauss-Schulson’s expertly constructed short film Valibation depicts circumstances going horribly awry after a man becomes too fixated on the twin streams of validation he derives from checking his smartphone and engaging in casual sexual hookups. Could this be the nightmarish next stage in human evolution?

Be advised not to watch this at work, if sexually explicit, stomach-churning Videodrome-style body horror doesn’t fit at your office:

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Libra The 21st Century Libertarian Space Colony

Dreaming of planned libertarian communities seems to be all the rage. But perhaps the only place they can succeed is in outer space. Via Smithsonian Magazine, Matt Novak on the 1978 think-tank-produced movie Libra:

Produced and distributed by a free-market group based in San Diego called World Research, Inc., the 40-minute film is set in the year 2003 and gives viewers a look at two vastly different worlds. On Earth, a world government has formed and everything is micromanaged to death, killing private enterprise. But in space, there’s true hope for freedom. Viewers get an interesting peek into what daily life is like when a Libra resident shows off her Abacus computer,  which is a bit like Siri.

The film’s vision for 2003 isn’t very pleasant — at least for those left on Earth. The people of Libra seem happy, while those on Earth cope with the world government’s dystopian top-down management of resources.

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LSD Concentration Camps In ‘Wild In The Streets’

If you’ve never seen the film Wild in the Streets, a lost classic of trashy hippie-sploitation, it’s well worth a viewing. Released in 1968, it envisions a dystopian near future in which counterculture-loving young people, fed up with the older generations, take over the government and rewrite the laws to center around youth and hedonism.

Under the new order, at age 35, all adults are permanently imprisoned in psychedelic re-education “mercy centers” where, as revolutionary leader Max Frost explains, “in groovy surroundings, we’re going to psyche ‘em all out on LSD.” Is it a nightmare, or a future model for a humane and fun form of euthanasia?

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Bruce Sterling On Technology, Our Fate, And Eternity

Publisher 40kBooks has fresh answers from key science fiction and futurism writer Bruce Sterling, in response to questions from Cory Doctorow and others:

[Is the world] improved by technology? From the point of view of almost anything in this world that’s not a human being like you and me, the answer’s almost certainly No. You might get a few Yea votes from albino rabbits and gene-spliced tobacco plants. Ask any living thing that’s been around in the world since before the Greeks made up the word “technology,” like say a bristlecone pine or a coral reef.

It’s mostly the past’s things that will outlive us. Things that have already successfully lived a long time, such as the Pyramids, are likely to stay around longer than 99.9% of our things. It’s a bit startling to realize that it’s mostly our paper that will survive us as data, while our electronics will succumb to erasure, loss, and bit rot.

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A Nature Book From The Distant Future

Via Monster Brains, a glimpse at the breathtaking illustrations inside scientist/author/artist Dougal Dixon’s rare and much sought-after Man After Man: An Anthropology of the Future, a book exploring the many possible disturbing changes which humanity may undergo in the far future:

The book begins with the impact of genetic engineering. For 200 years modern humans morphed the genetics of other humans to create genetically-altered creatures. The aquamorphs and aquatics are marine humans with gills instead of lungs. One species – the vacuumorph – has been engineered for life in the vacuum of space. Its skin and eyes carry shields of skin to keep its body stable even without pressure. Civilization eventually collapses, with a few select humans escaping to colonize space. Other humans, the Hitek, become almost totally dependent on cybernetic technology.

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How Philip K. Dick Can Change Your Life

For the growing number of Dickheads among us, Trevor Smith’s recent article “I Understand Philip K. Dick” was a great reminder of how Dick’s writing contained such valuable human insight that to label it as just “science fiction” really doesn’t do it justice. Inspired by Trevor’s piece and the Terence McKenna essay his essay linked to, I went a mini PKD binge and turned up an interesting article and video at The Verge published during the PKD Festival in San Francisco last October. It’s worth checking out just for Jonathan Lethem’s intro…

There are a lot of ways to characterize a legacy.

You could start with numbers: 44 published novels, at least 121 short stories, and a dozen movie adaptations, most of them major Hollywood affairs — and then the expanding circle of influence that includes 12 Monkeys, eXistenz, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Over $1 billion in film revenue…

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Jonathan Zap on the Singularity Archetype and Human Evolution


This episode of the Occult Sentinel Podcast with Joe Moore features Jonathan Zap giving a presentation at an event hosted by the Boulder “Spore” of the Evolver Network:

Jonathan Zap is an author, photographer, teacher, paranormal researcher and philosopher who has written extensively on psychology and contemporary mythology. Jonathan has done numerous radio and television interviews including four three-hour shows on Coast to Coast AM. Reality Sandwich, the popular online magazine, has published numerous of his articles. His book is titled Crossing the Event Horizon: Human Metamorphosis and the Singularity Archetype.

Jonathan Zap gives a talk titled “The Singularity Archetype and Human Evolution.” The talk is broad ranging and touches possible futures, SciFi, 2001: A Space Odyssey  Carl Jung, 2012, Near Death Experience, Rupture Plane Events, Out of Body Experiences, traveling through event horizons, Singularity, and much more.

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The Day of the Drones

Picture: US Air Force (PD)

For those who may be interested, here’s a  short story I wrote about drones kicking ass in the future.  Enjoy!

Tolerance has never brought civil war, intolerance has covered the earth with carnage.
-Voltaire

We have guided missiles and misguided men.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Day of the Drones

Monday, August  10th, 2020

The father and son sat in the air-conditioned car during heavy morning traffic outside of downtown San Diego.  Through the smog the silver skyscrapers of that sweltering city could be seen snaring and pulsating in the haze.  Swelling the freeway were thousands of cars that crept along like termites in the heat of a vast mirage.  The hot sun rose high above the Cuyamaca mountain range as hoards of vehicles inched along the fuming, concrete inferno.  The searing traffic was unbearable.

“Jesus Christ,” the father sighed, “we’re stuck in a parking lot.”

From the back seat his son let out a moan of frustration, having expected that they would have reached their destination by now.  “How much farther?” his son asked.… Read the rest

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