Laurie Penny's new science fiction story "The House of Surrender" is a bittersweet little mindbomb about rape (trigger warning), coercion, prison, and what a society without locks would do with the people who hurt others. Read the rest
Now that the International Union of Applied Chemistry has recognised four new elements, the race is on to decide what to call them. Read the rest
Jon Lebkowsky writes, "Bruce Sterling and I are at it again... State of the World 2016 started today and runs for two weeks." Read the rest
I have not yet watched this 2-hour BBC television play, called Year of the Sex Olympics, but it sounds good. It's a science fiction story that predicts a world in which the masses are pacified by pornographic, humiliating, and violent reality TV shows.
In the future, society is divided between 'low-drives' that equate with the labouring classes and 'hi-drives' who control the government and media. The low-drives are controlled by a constant broadcast of pornography that the hi-drives are convinced will pacify them, though one hi-drive, Nat Mender (Tony Vogel), believes that the media should be used to educate the low-drives. After the accidental death of a protester during the Sex Olympics gets a massive audience response, the Co-ordinator Ugo Priest (Leonard Rossiter) decides to commission a new programme. In The Live Life Show, Nat Mender, his partner Deanie (Suzanne Neve) and their daughter Keten (Lesley Roach) are stranded on a remote Scottish island while the low-drive audience watches. Mender's former colleague, Lasar Opie (Brian Cox), realising that “something got to happen”, decides to spice up the show by introducing a psychopath, Grels (George Murcell) to the island. When Grels goes on a murderous rampage, Ugo Priest is horrified when the audience reacts with laughter to the slaughter and The Live Life Show is deemed a triumph.
The costumes, sets, and makeup are great. Read the rest
Cate writes, "I came across a collection of snapshots at a thrift store and recognized the historic nature of the photos, which documented the 14th World Science Fiction Convention. I purchased the photos from a thrift store in Santa Barbara, California on December 31, 2015. I am looking for help to identify attendees featured in the photos." Read the rest
MVP -- Patrick Miller's "game dev short story" -- is a cleverly told piece of science fiction about a game dev team that hits on a weirdly compelling, unlikely and eerily plausible commercial strategy: optimizing their game for gold-farmers' bots. Read the rest
I've know John for a dozen years, and he's a cool customer. When he's targeted by insulting jerks, he never loses his cool. Read the rest
Today, EFF published Pwning Tomorrow, a science fiction anthology featuring stories by 21 celebrated authors, including Bruce Sterling, Neil Gaiman, Lauren Beukes, Pat Cadigan, Madeline Ashby and Charlie Jane Anders (I have a story in there too!). Read the rest
It's hard to make sense of the politics of Star Wars (a Senate whose electees include senators that represent government agencies; an elected princess who calls a no-confidence vote, etc), but the more you think about Luke's "hero's journey," the more it starts to resemble the "radicalization" process that we're supposed to be watching out for to keep us all safe from ISIS. Read the rest
Ever get into an online argument about someone with brown skin who'd been senselessly slaughtered by state-appointed law officers and start to feel like you're talking with someone who's not quite in possession of the full complement of human empathy? Read the rest
Newitz, who co-founded IO9 and recently moved to Ars Technica has already published marvellous, book-length science non-fiction, but now she's publishing her first sf novel! Read the rest