Smash the State: a 1971 Ladybird book

A image from the Boing Boing Flickr pool by Flamenco Sun. Read the rest

Disney World after humanity's demise

Eledoremassis02's "manipulated photo" series Life After Disney is a series of gorgeously decayed visions for what Walt Disney World will look like long after humans have disappeared from the scene. Read the rest

Building a wattle-and-daub hut with your bare hands

Primitive Technology's handyman starts with a stone axe and a fire-stick, then painstakingly builds up a 2m^2 hut with a bed, fireplace, chimney and thatched roof. Read the rest

Neal Stephenson's Seveneves: five thousand years of apocalypse and rebirth

Neal Stephenson's no stranger to ambition, but his new novel Seveneves stretches to lengths (and heights) that beggar the imagination.

Excerpt from Neal Stephenson's forthcoming novel Seveneves

Neal Stephenson's posted the first 26 pages of his forthcoming novel Seveneves, "a grand story of annihilation and survival spanning five thousand years." Read the rest

Interactive tour of nuclear arsenals since WWII

Explore how many nukes there are in the world, and where they are, courtesy of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists' interactive Nuclear Notebook -- a useful way to discover whether some friendly superpower has stashed nukes in your harbour. Read the rest

David Graeber and Thomas Piketty on whether capitalism will destroy itself

Graeber wrote the magisterial Debt: The First 5,000 Years; Piketty, of course, wrote the essential Capital in the 21st Century -- in a must-read dialog, they discuss their differences and similarities and offer views on whether capitalism will collapse. Read the rest

Expiration Day: YA coming of age novel about robots and the end of the human race

Expiration Day is William Campbell Powell's debut YA novel, and it's an exciting start. The novel is set in a world in which human fertility has collapsed, taking the birth-rate virtually to zero, sparking riots and even a limited nuclear war as the human race realizes that it may be in its last days. Order is restored, but at the price of basic civil liberties. There's a little bit of Orwell (a heavily surveilled and censored Internet); but mostly, it's all about the Huxley. The major locus of control is a line of robotic children -- all but indistinguishable from flesh-and-bloods, even to themselves -- who are sold to desperate couples as surrogates for the children they can't have, calming the existential panic and creating a surface veneer of normalcy.

Expiration Day takes the form of a private diary of Tania, an 11 year old vicar's daughter in a small village outside of London. Tania's father's parishioners have found religion, searching for meaning in their dying world. He is counsellor and father-figure to them, though the family is still relatively poor. Tania is a young girl growing up in the midst of a new, catastrophic normal, the only normal she's ever known, and she's happy enough in it. But them she discovers that she, too, is a robot, and has to come to grips with the fact that her "parents" have been lying to her all her life. What's more, the fact that she's a robot means that she won't live past 18: all robots are property of a private corporation, and are merely leased to their "parents," and are recalled around their 18th birthday, turned into scrap. Read the rest

Text adventure based on Jeff VanderMeer's novel Annihilation

Jeff VenderMeer writes, "The Fourth Estate, my UK publisher, has put together a cool site that takes the main premise of my novel, Annihilation, and creates a text game around with, with images and video as well. Now you too can join an expedition into the mysterious Area X, supposedly a pristine wilderness, but hiding a lot more than that. Overseen by the secret agency, the Southern Reach, which has its own secrets to hide."

Previously: Talking with Jeff VanderMeer about his new novel Annihilation Read the rest

Tobias Buckell's "System Reset": tense, taut hacker tale

IO9 has published Tobias Buckell's tense, taut technothriller story "System Reset." It's a story about hacker/bounty hunters, taken from the pages of John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey's new anthology The End is Nigh, the first of three volumes that deal with pre-apocalypses, apocalypses, and post-apocalypses, in order. Read the rest

Crovel II: an extreme multi-purpose field-shovel tailor-made for zombie-killing

Thinkgeek's Read the rest

Crowdfunding a global version of the zombpocalypse disaster-preparedness game

Jenny writes, "A few years ago I created a Zombie Apocalypse Training Game in San Francisco as a way to teach urban disaster preparedness skills through play. We armed players with smartphones and nerfguns, and they ran around the city completing challenges like "light a bbq without matches" or "bandage a burn wound" all while being chased by zombies. It was a huge success, and led to other local zombie disaster preparedness games. Now I'm working to develop this game nation-wide." Read the rest

When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth: .mobi and .epub

Mikael Vejdemo-Johansson converted my story When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth (from the collection Overclocked) into .mobi and .epub for easy viewing on an e-reader or mobile device. I probably get more fan mail for Sysadmins than for any other story, and it won the Locus Award the year it came out (it was later adapted to comics by JC Vaughn for the IDW book Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now). Give it a read! Read the rest

Something More Than Night: noirish detective novel with extreme physics and angels

On, Alex Brown reviews Ian Tregillis's new novel, Something More Than Night, a noirish hard-boiled detective novel about angels and extreme physics. Tregillis wrote the spectacular Milkweed Triptych, a trilogy of novels that suppose that the Nazis had a horrific, X-men-like experiment that produced superbeings who could only be held back by the secret work of English warlocks and the blood-thirsty cosmic powers they served. With Milkweed, Tregillis showed himself to be a literary chameleon, who could handle two-fisted WWII fightin' action (Bitter Seeds); Cold War spy thrillers (The Coldest War) and mind-bending, existential time-travel science fiction (Necessary Evil -- the best of the very good lot). Now, with Something More Than Night, he changes voice yet again, and with excellent effect: Read the rest

Comic-strip adaptation of On The Beach from 1957

Zack writes, "In 1957, Nevil Shute's classic anti-nuclear-war novel On The Beach was published -- and the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA) put out a heavily-condensed adaptation with art by Ralph Lane that ran in 29 comic strips distributed to newspapers. All 29 strips are collected here -- I found these through a link in an eBay auction that is selling original art to 21 of the 29 strips."

This is one of those novels that brings me to tears no matter how many times I read it -- a powerful and moving piece of minatory fiction that really does the heavy lifting of science fiction with utter brilliance. The comic strip carries some of that freight (as does the 1959 classic film with Ava Gardner and Gregory Peck), but the novel really is the best version by far.

On The Beach (Thanks, Zack!) Read the rest

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