Tags: sciencefiction

Bots | A Working Library

Absolutely brilliant stuff from Mandy (again). A long hard at today’s tech industry’s narrow approach to bots and artificial intelligence compared to some far more interesting and imaginative approaches in fiction:

  • Ann Leckie’s superb Imperial Radch series,
  • Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, and
  • Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.

So in addition to frightening ramifications for privacy and information discovery, they also reinforce gendered stereotypes about women as servants. The neutral politeness that infects them all furthers that convention: women should be utilitarian, performing their duties on command without fuss or flourish. This is a vile, harmful, and dreadfully boring fantasy; not the least because there is so much extraordinary art around AI that both deconstructs and subverts these stereotypes. It takes a massive failure of imagination to commit yourself to building an artificial intelligence and then name it “Amy.”

Explore New Horizons - StarBnB

Discover exotic places with local hosts in a galaxy far, far away.

Julie Rubicon

The act of linking to this story is making it true.

“I don’t think there’s any law against this,” I said. How could there be a law against something that’s not possible?

Cosmic Surgery by Alma Haser — Kickstarter

Well, here’s an art project with a difference: it comes with a web site built by Josh, a story written by Piers Bizony, and a book made by Emily.

Will we ever walk again on the surface of the moon?

A brief history of lunar sci-fi.

No matter how much we want the science fiction dream to come true – and personally I would love it – the reality is that a lunar colony is very unlikely to ever be financially viable. It would be no surprise if we saw more expeditions to the moon, but all those wonderful visions of the high frontier recreated in space are more likely to apply to destinations with a better long-term future, like Mars, rather than the moon.

A Complete History of the Millennium Falcon — Kitbashed

Everything you never knew you wanted to know about the Millennium Falcon, wrapped up in one unsurprisingly insanely detailed essay from Michael.

Terraforming on Vimeo

There’s that Acheulean hand ax again.

The first ever object to be designed by man 1.7 million years ago was a flint hand axe. Flint has the same molecular structure as a crystal and they both consist of silica. The project juxtaposes the flint hand axe with the latest crystal technology; Xero chaton the world’s smallest precision cut crystal measuring 0.6mm in diameter, smaller than a grain of sand.

All our imagined futures | A Working Library

Science fiction as a means of energising climatic and economic change:

Fiction, and science fiction in particular, can help us imagine many futures, and in particular can help us to direct our imaginations towards the futures we want. Imagining a particular kind of future isn’t just day dreaming: it’s an important and active framing that makes it possible for us to construct a future that approaches that imagined vision. In other words, imagining the future is one way of making that future happen.

But it’s important that these visions are preserved:

It’s very likely that our next Octavia Butler is today writing on WattPad or Tumblr or Facebook. When those servers cease to respond, what will we lose? More than the past is at stake—all our imagined futures are at risk, too.

The End of Big Data | Motherboard

A great piece of near-future sci-fi from James.

I enforce from orbit, making sure all the mainframes that used to track and store every detail of our lives are turned off, and stay off. And as the sun comes up over Gloucestershire this morning, there they are, resplendent in the mist-piercing light of RITTER’s multispectral sensors: terabytes of storage laid out around the scalped doughnut of the former GCHQ building. Enough quantum storage to hold decades of the world’s pillow talk. Drums of redundant ethernet cable stacked stories-high. Everything dismantled, disconnected, unshielded. Everything damp with morning dew.

Mike Hill - Industrial Design in Entertainment on Vimeo

A terrific analysis of industrial design in film and games …featuring a scene-setting opening that delineates the difference between pleasure and happiness.

UNCANNY VALLEY (2015) on Vimeo

A really nicely put together sci-fi short film.

Strange Horizons Fiction: Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs, by Leonard Richardson

A riotously great short story…

“It always comes down to that, doesn’t it?” said the voice in disgust, now circling around Tark. “Whether a successful Internet filmmaker can also be insane. Given that his quote-unquote insanity is also the fuel for his objectively measurable success as an entrepreneur. And whether it makes sense to judge him by the standards of talking dinosaurs from Mars.”

Translating Gender: Ancillary Justice in Five Languages Alex Dally MacFarlane | Interfictions Online

A fascinating look into the challenges encountered translating Anne Leckie’s excellent Radchaai novels into Bulgarian, German, Hebrew, Japanese, and Hungarian.

What is clear in all of these responses is that by examining the notions of ‘neutral’ and ‘feminine’ in grammar and gender through the lens of translation, we reveal their complexity – and some of their possible futures in languages, in both literature and speech.

Our Generation Ships Will Sink / Boing Boing

Kim Stanley Robinson pours cold water on the premise of generation starships for crewed interstellar travel.

The more I hear about Aurora, the more I think I might enjoy reading it.

The Last Man - YouTube

Gavin Rothery’s wonderfully grim and atmospheric short film.

The Radiation Threat to “The Martian” (PDF)

This is something that has been bugging me ever since reading the book:

While Andy Weir does a good job of representing the risks faced by Mark Watney, stranded on Mars and confronting one life-threatening challenge after another, he is silent on the threat of radiation, not just to Mark but particularly to the crew of the Hermes as they contemplate executing a daring rescue mission that more than doubles their time in deep space.

Well, this paper answers all my questions.

The Fifth Dragon on Tor.com

A short story by Ian McDonald set in the same universe as his new novel Luna: New Moon.

Designing The Future, John V Willshire, dConstruct 2015 on Vimeo

Just like Nick, John Willshire has put his slides together with the audio from his gobsmackingly good dConstruct presentation on metadesign.

Climate Futures on Matter

A collection of cli-fi and cli-fact.

Growing your business

I enjoyed chatting with Marcus and Paul on the Boagworld podcast …mostly because I managed to avoid the topic at hand by discussing sci-fi for half an hour before we settled to the boring stuff about work, business, and all that guff.

The Vuvalini | A Working Library

The best description of Mad Max: Fury Road. Read.

Seveneves

The next Neal Stephenson book sounds like it’s going to be great.

DYNAMO | A Science Fiction Webseries by KarmaPirates

This web series is better than most big-budget hollywood films; witty, entertaining, and perplexing in equal measure.

Project Kronos on Vimeo

A beautiful bit of design fiction.

Hazards Of Prophecy by Arthur C. Clarke

A PDF of Clarke’s classic essay on the follies of prediction. From the 1972 collection The Futurists, edited by Alvin Toffler.

Tweets out of Context

Primer, but Twitter.

Culture Ship Randomizer · A gravitas free zone.

For when you just have to name something after a Culture General Systems Vehicle …or maybe a General Contact Unit.

Someone tell Elon.

Killing Time at Lightspeed

Interstellar travel time dilation and status updates: a clever narrative combo.

Ambition

A beautiful sci-fi short from the European Space Agency, inspired by the Rosetta mission.

The Anti-Tolkien - The New Yorker

A short profile of Michael Moorcock’s Elric series (though, for me, Jerry Cornelius is the champion that remains eternal in my memory).

Why James Cameron’s Aliens is the best movie about technology

Tim Carmody on James Cameron’s meisterwerk (and technology in sci-fi films in general).

Cinema Space Tribute on Vimeo

Scenes of space from sci-fi films.

Alien | Typeset In The Future

Typeset In The Future is back with another cracking analysis. This time—following on from 2001 and Moon—we’ve got Alien.

In her final recorded message before hypersleep, Ripley notes that she is the sole survivor of the Nostromo. What she forgets to mention is that she has not once in the past two hours encountered any Eurostile Bold Extended.

Wanderers - a short film by Erik Wernquist on Vimeo

A vision of humanity’s exploration of our solar system.

The Many Faces Of… Sigourney Weaver

Queen of science fiction.

“Alan Bean Plus Four”

A warm-hearted short story about a moonshot. By Tom Hanks.

High Street Shops In Sci Fi Films

I’m not quite sure why this is funny, but I am quite sure that it is.

SunshineDNA - Behind The Scenes

I remember reading Gia Milinovich’s reports from the set of the in-production Danny Boyle sci-fi film called Sunshine back in 2005. Then the film came out, exceeded my expectations, and became one of my all-time favourites.

Now the website—which was deleted by Fox—has been lovingly recreated by Gia. (And it’s responsive now.)

Twelve Tomorrows | MIT Technology Review

This year’s collection of twelve sci-fi stories from Technology Review features three dConstruct speakers: Lauren Beukes, Cory Doctorow, and Warren Ellis.

Pumzi - YouTube

A short sci-fi film from director Wanuri Kahiu set in the aftermath of a worldwide water war.

Dystopia Tracker

Documenting depictions of dystopian futures and tracking which ideas are turning out to be predictions.

Singularity&Co. — Save the Scifi!

The campaign to restore out-of-print pulp sci-fi books in electronic formats.

How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future

Eileen Gunn writes in the Smithsonian magazine on the influence of science fiction.

Science fiction, at its best, engenders the sort of flexible thinking that not only inspires us, but compels us to consider the myriad potential consequences of our actions.

Dr. Easy on Vimeo

I finally got around to reading Red Men by Matthew De Abaitua recently. It’s like Nick Harkaway crossed with Jeff Noon.

Here’s hoping that this short film will be developed into a full-length feature.

2001: A Space Odyssey | Typeset In The Future

Okay, this might just be my new favourite blog:

This site is dedicated to all aspects of movie and TV typography and iconography as it appears in Sci-Fi and fantasy movies.

The first post is all about 2001, and the writing is just the right shade of fun.

I’m already looking forward to future posts. (See what I did there?)

Laser Age / The Dissolve

A great series of articles on the sci-fi films of the ’60s and ’70s:

The Laser Age examines a rich period in the history of science-fiction filmmaking that began in the late 1960s and faded away by the mid 1980s.

…all wrapped up in a nice responsive design too.

Brian Aldiss: ‘These days I don’t read any science fiction. I only read Tolstoy’ | Books | The Guardian

A profile of Brian Aldiss in The Guardian.

I still can’t quite believe I managed to get him for last year’s Brighton SF.

Star Wars: Endor Holocaust

Realistically, what happens when you detonate a large metallic satellite (about the the size of the second Death Star) in orbit around an inhabited world (like, say, the forest moon of Endor).

It isn’t pretty.

The Omega Glory

Michael Chabon muses on The Future, prompted by the Clock of the Long Now.

Immaterials, dConstruct and Culture Ships on Vimeo

Iain M.Banks and dConstruct, together at last.

Omni Reboot | THE LANDLINE

Omni returns with a Bruce Sterling short story that marries alternative history and satire with a dash of digital preservation.

Go ahead, just wait a year, or two years, or maybe five years. Then try to find this, later. There will be no sign of this website, because it’s just made of pixels. No remains of the machine that you read it with, either.

Simon Stålenhag Art Gallery

Scenes from a future Sweden.

Paris Review – “One Murder Is Statistically Utterly Unimportant”: A Conversation with Warren Ellis, Molly Crabapple

Molly Crabapple interviews Warren Ellis. Fun and interesting …much like Molly Crabapple and Warren Ellis.

From Beyond the Coming Age of Networked Matter, a short story by Bruce Sterling

H.P. Lovecraft meets James Bridle in this great little story commissioned by the Institute For The Future.

scificorridorarchive.com by Serafín Álvarez, 2013

Corridors in science fiction films.

Iain M Banks’ Universe

Francis Spufford—author of the excellent Backroom Boffins—writes a cover story for the New Humanist magazine remembering Iain Banks with the middle initial M firmly to the fore: it was Iain M Banks—and his creation, The Culture—that took the seemingly passé genre of space opera to new heights.

2001: A Space Odyssey

A really nice piece on Robert McCall, who was artist-in-residence at NASA and worked as conceptual artist on Kubrick and Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The canonical smart city: A pastiche by Adam Greenfield’s Speedbird

Sorta sci-fi from Adam.

Consider this a shooting script for one of those concept videos so beloved of the big technology vendors.

Science Fiction Film as Design Scenario Exercise for Psychological Habitability: Production Designs 1955-2009

A white paper that looks to sci-fi films as potential prototypes for habitats for humans in space, with an emphasis on dealing with the psychological issues involved.

There Was Once a Certain Kind of Cinema

A magnificent piece of writing from Michael, examining the influence of Sergio Leone on George Lucas.

Write The Future by Tom Hunter — Kickstarter

Now this looks like my kind of event:

A new micro-conference on science, technology, communication and fiction, organised by the Arthur C. Clarke Award.

Inside the Battle of Hoth: The Empire Strikes Out

A damning analysis of the Empire’s military strategy at the battle of Hoth, complete with illustrations. The comments are good too:

Guys, cut Palpatine some slack. He’s still in his first term as Emperor…

Interview with Lauren Beukes about Shining Girls

Lauren talks about The Shining Girls and the tools she uses to write with.

The paradoxes of time travel by David Lewis

A well-written white paper on time travel. Alas, it relies a bit too much on semantic nitpickery to offer any real insight.

The changing face of computers on screen

A look at the depiction of computer hardware and peripherals in sci-fi movies over time.

Olaf Stapledon

The out-of-copyright books of Olaf Stapledon are available to download from the University of Adelaide. Be sure to grab Starmaker and First And Last Men.

Squaremans | Gaming Culture Blog

Ostensibly about gaming (and written by Matt Colville who works in the games industry), this blog actually has a lot of interesting observations on sci-fi cinema. I like it.

Under Tomorrow’s Sky

Design Fiction at work, imagining a possible future city.

The Humble eBook Bundle (pay what you want and help charity)

This looks like an excellent deal: buy eight sci-fi books for as much money as you think is fair. Lauren Beukes, Paolo Bacigalupi, Cory Doctorow …all good stuff.

Sight on Vimeo

A well-executed sci-fi short film on augmented reality and gamification.

The Past 100 Years of the Future

This (free!) PDF looks like it could be a nice companion piece to Chris and Nathan’s recent book:

Human-computer interaction in science-fiction movies and television.

It’s a work in progress. You’ll notice a lot of placeholders where the images should be. That’s because the studios are demanding extortionate rates for screenshots.

Make it So | Interface Design Lessons from Sci-Fi

Chris and Nathan’s book is finally out. I’m going to enjoy reading through this.

Warren Ellis » How To See The Future

The opening keynote from Warren Ellis for this year’s Improving Reality. I’d like to walk into space with this man.

The Kitschies present… Beukes, Miéville and Ness

An evening with Lauren Beukes, China Miéville and Patrick Ness in London the week after dConstruct. Sounds like fun!

A Tall Tail by Charles Stross | Tor.com

A terrific little conspiracy theory short story from Charles Stross set at last year’s (very real) 100 Year Starship gathering.

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury - Rachel Bloom - YouTube

In light of the recent death of Ray Bradbury, I think we should all honour his memory by revisiting this song (featuring some future-friendly headgear).

I’ll feed you grapes and Dandelion Wine and we’ll read a little Fahrenheit 69…

Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers - YouTube

A satirical parody of post-singularity existence by Tom Scott inspired by Jim Munroe’s Everyone in Silico and Rudy Rucker’s Postsingular.

Fictional magazine covers from Blade Runner - a set on Flickr

Magazine covers created by Tom Southwell for background scenes in Blade Runner.

Horn

Hull 0, Scunthorpe 3 | Christopher Priest, author

Oh, dear. Christopher Priest is being a bit of a cock.

Good writer though.

ARC 2012: The future is on its way - New Scientist

A new publication from New Scientist dedicated to future thinking. The first issue has articles and stories from Bruce Sterling, Margaret Atwood, China Miéville, and Alastair Reynolds.

2012 Shortlist | Arthur C. Clarke Award

Well, that’s my reading list sorted then.

Sci-Fi Airshow :: Home

I want to go to there!

This is what Photoshop is for. Be sure to watch the slideshow.

Thinking About Futurism | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine

A collection of articles on the tricksy art of Futurism from—amongst others—Bruce Sterling, Annalee Newitz, and Matt Novak, creator of the Paleofuture blog.

Innovation Starvation | World Policy Institute

A rallying cry from Neal Stephenson for Getting Big Stuff Done.

Gavin Rothery - Directing - Concept - VFX - Gavin Rothery Blog

This blog by the visual effects supervisor on Moon is packed full of wonderfully geeky sci-fi movie stories.

Science fiction, fantasy, design and cultural invention | Design Culture Lab

Asking what the difference is between science fiction and design fiction. The answer may be …usefulness.

THE COSMONAUT

A crowd-funded, creative commons licensed sci-fi film currently in production.

Terry Bisson’s “They’re Made Out of Meat” on Huffduffer

A classic (very) short science fiction story that posits an interesting solution to the Fermi paradox.

Will Wright working on game based off Bruce Sterling short story, Maneki Neko | Joystiq

One of the greatest games designers in the world is making a game based on one of my favourite science fiction stories. I hope this turns out as well as I’m fantasising it could.

Out of this World: China Miéville: what if?

China Miéville gives a rundown of some underrated classics of the alternative history subgenre …including Richard Curtis’s Notting Hill.

Out of this World events

There’s a whole series of sci-fi related events going on at the British Library.

Starpunk | booktwo.org

James Bridle is my favourite Blogpunk author.

A History of the Future in 100 Objects | Mssv

Adrian Hon’s Kickstarter project has already reached its goal. I can’t wait for the podcasting to start.

Dark Star, sweded

A production of the Brighton Speculative Fiction group. It was simply wonderful.

MODERN TIMES on Vimeo

A gorgeous sci-fi short film with some fine interface porn.

Modifiable Futures: Science Fiction at the Bench by Colin Milburn

The influence of science on science-fiction and the influence of science-fiction on science. Or rather, how science-fiction mods science, and how science (and software) mods science-fiction.

Yet even as it has become ever more familiar and commonplace, this mash‐up of the word “science” with the word “fiction” still seems to insist on a certain internal incoherence, as if the tiny typographic space inside the label of “science fiction” were to signify a vast chasm, a void between alien worlds.