James Patrick Kelly and John Kessel gave a great interview to Sci Fi Weekly about their new anthology, Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology. The book has a top-notch table-of-contents, stories that defy genre conventions and make your head spin in a good way.
We make the point in our introduction that slipstream isn't really a genre at the moment and may never be one. What it is, in our opinion, is a literary effect--in the same way that horror or comedy are literary effects achieved by many different kinds of dissimilar stories. What is that effect? We borrowed the term cognitive dissonance from the psychologists. When we are presented with two contradictory cognitions--impressions, feelings, beliefs--we experience cognitive dissonance, a kind of psychic discomfort that we normally try to ease by discounting one of the cognitions as false or illusory and promoting the other to reality. But in some cases we aren't well served by this convenient sorting out.
We think that what slipstream stories do is to embrace cognitive dissonance. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." We believe that such an ability is necessary to cope with life in the 21st century and that stories that ask us to exercise that ability are an expression of the zeitgeist. Do you really need a definitive answer as to whether an electron is a wave or a particle? Why? Maybe it's time to make room for uncertainty in contemporary fiction, even if the stories do make you feel very strange. Slipstream may use metafictional techniques to estrange us from consensus reality, they may rewrite history, they may mash up different styles or genres. But that's the point, as we see it. Slipstream has no rules, it has only results.
Where are our petabyte drives? Brian Hayes takes us through the reasons storage is “stuck” in the low terabytes. The tl;dr is that we got such exceptional capacity growth in the late 90s and early 00s we don’t need much more right now, so the focus since then has been on SSDs, networking, interfaces, etc, […]
Amélie Lamont, a former staffer at website-hosting startup Squarespace, writes that she often found herself disregarded and disrespected by her colleagues. One comment in particular, though, set her reeling — and came to exemplify her experiences there.
In this episode of the Flash Forward podcast we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences? Flash Forward: RSS | iTunes | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Patreon We […]
You may not love Microsoft Word, but you’ve definitely used it. Other than being one of the most ubiquitous programs on the planet, it’s been the go-to word processing system for more than a quarter-century because it’s as basic as it gets. But occasionally, you’ve got assignments that beg for a lot more options than simple […]
Almost everyone has their smartphone in a case of one kind or another. Beyond simple protection, finding a case that can charge your phone on its own, but doesn’t feel like it’s also adding a couple pounds to the phone’s weight is the tricky part. Billed as the world’s thinnest battery case, the ThinCharge iPhone […]
You never know when new projects, ideas or opportunities can drop into your lap at a moment’s notice. That may require you to learn a new programming language like Python. Or maybe you need a primer on 3D game development. Or you might realize you could use a serious brush-up on iOS mobile creation.Point is, […]