Tag Archives: science fiction

Warp Drive May Be More Feasible Than Thought, Scientists Say

If we’re ever going to become a true spacefaring civilization, we’re going to have to think outside the box a little bit, were going to have to be a little bit audacious,” Obousy said.

Preliminary research shows that it may be possible to construct a warp drive that doesn’t require the amount of mass-energy of Jupiter to work. I love the sound of that sentence.

10 Recent Science Fiction Books That Are About Big Ideas

This Hugo-nominated novel is available online for free, so you can see for yourself why so many people recommend it as a blockbuster idea-driven book. Some 80 years in the future, alien devices arrive and take a snapshot of the entire planet Earth — then self-destruct. The crew of the starship Theseus sets off to find the alien intelligence that sent the machines, with a vampire captain and a crew of weirdos.
more on io9.com

Since the two biggest ideas of our generation are zombies and vampires, they both made an inescapable appearance on the list.

Seeing the Future in Science Fiction

Given the era in which this happened to me, I soon became acquainted, too, with J. G. Ballard, Michael Moorcock, Samuel Delany, and Ursula K. Le Guin, the otherness quotient actually climbing, nosebleed high. And, given my age at the time, and the ideological company that this second wave kept, I simultaneously found Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs. There my own Golden Age of Science Fiction came, in some sense, to an end, the othernesses of my adolescence joining up with the wider tributary of literature, the mother of all otherness. Had science fiction not found me when it did, on the counter at Woolworth’s and in the iconography of the steering wheel in my father’s Olds, I suspect I might not have found that river. Or else, finding it, I might not have recognized it, and turned away.

William Gibson reflects on his journey to literary fiction.

Utopia is creepy

I’ve noticed the arrival recently of a new genre of futuristic YouTube videos. They’re created by tech companies for marketing or brand-burnishing purposes. With the flawless production values that only a cash-engorged balance sheet can buy you, they portray a not-too-distant future populated by exceedingly well-groomed people who spend their hyperproductive days going from one screen to the next. (As seems always to be the case with utopias, the atmosphere is very post-sexual.) The productions are intended to present us with visions of technological Edens, but they end up doing the exact opposite: portraying a future world that feels cold, mechanical, and repellent.

Why perfection is so scary.

Innovation Starvation

Most people who work in corporations or academia have witnessed something like the following: A number of engineers are sitting together in a room, bouncing ideas off each other. Out of the discussion emerges a new concept that seems promising. Then some laptop-wielding person in the corner, having performed a quick Google search, announces that this “new” idea is, in fact, an old one—or at least vaguely similar—and has already been tried. Either it failed, or it succeeded. If it failed, then no manager who wants to keep his or her job will approve spending money trying to revive it. If it succeeded, then it’s patented and entry to the market is presumed to be unattainable, since the first people who thought of it will have “first-mover advantage” and will have created “barriers to entry.” The number of seemingly promising ideas that have been crushed in this way must number in the millions.

Neal Stephenson on the crisis of big innovation and the role science fiction writing plays in it. It’s excellent read, but the naysayer inside me craves to ask: “Who is willing to pay for it today?”

Given our current technology and with the proper training, would it be possible for someone to become Batman?

By your second week, you are getting unhappy that 90% of the crimes you’ve even seen up-close are just pathetic junkies buying crack from another pathetic junkie selling drugs to support his/her own habit. And nothing makes you feel LESS like Batman than scaring sad homeless crackheads. You tried to chase down a kid who you saw punch a lady and take her purse, but you can’t really pursue that kind of think by running on rooftops, you gotta do it the hard way by chasing him on foot down the sidewalk… in your full Batman costume, where everybody can see you. People are taking photos on cell-phones, and yep there’s a cop car at the intersection and he saw you, and now he has his lights on and it’s YOU he’s after.
more on quora.com

Must… try… harder…

Orson Scott Card: How ‘Friend’ Became a Verb

When the Internet was first opened to the general public in 1992, I was unimpressed. What I saw was exactly as interesting as the brochure rack in the grocery store. Hadn’t people read my sci-fi novel “Ender’s Game” (1985), where a couple of anonymous kids used something like the Internet to pass for experts and influence public opinion; or “The Worthing Saga” (1978), where millions of people watched superstars play computer games?

Well, probably not. But I was impatient for others to catch on to how much potential there was for public networks to change politics and entertainment.

O. S. Card reflects on the changes that the internet brought into our lives over the past 20 years. I can’t resist from noting that he’s overly optimistic about the quality of his predictions. This XKCD comic expresses it best: Locke and Demostenes.

Insufficient data

What is the minimum number of people you need in order to maintain (not necessarily to extend) our current level of technological civilization?
more on antipope.org

A puzzling question, though I think the estimate from the article is widely underestimated.

The Most Influential SF Movie Never Made

Pink Floyd doing the soundtrack. Jean Giraurd the art. Orson Wells as the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen and Salvador Dali as the Emperor of the Known Universe. It was simply too grand, too ambitious. Too many wishes were coming true for it to all hold together. Jodorowsky must have sensed even from the beginning that this movie could only exist as an ideal.

The story of Dune film adaptation that was never made but still made enormous impact on SF genre.