Coming in November: Pirate Utopia, a novella by Bruce Sterling with an intro by Warren Ellis

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Pre-orders now being taken, ships Nov 2016. Sterling sez, "A new novella of mine set in an alternate Europe just after the Great War." I know what I'm doing next Nov. What. A. Cover. Read the rest

The unlikely actor who played Ridley Scott's Alien

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In Ridley Scott's classic 1979 science fiction/horror film Alien, the terrifying creature was played by a 6'10" Nigerian named Bolaiji Badejo. It was Badejo's only film credit. In fact Badejo, who died of sickle cell disease in 1992 at age 39, wasn't even an actor. He was studying graphic arts in London when casting agent Peter Ardram spotted him in a pub. From CNN:

"As soon as I walked in Ridley Scott knew he'd found the right person," Badejo said in a rare interview for the French film magazine, Cinefantastique, in 1979...

"I could barely see what was going on around me," Badejo recalled in 1979, "except when I was in a stationary position, while they were filming. Then there were a few holes I could look through... It was terribly hot... I could only have it on for about 15 or 20 minutes at a time. When I took it off, my head would be soaked."

Bolaji Badejo: The Nigerian giant who played 'Alien' (CNN)

Below, Badejo's surreal screen test that I've previously posted:

Read the rest

Return Home: a new serialized podcast drama in the style of Lost and Twin Peaks

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Jeff Heimbuch writes, "Return Home is a serialized audio drama, done in the style of radio shows of ages past. It is fully produced, in stereo sound, to make you feel like you are part of the action. Though you can listen however you'd like, it's recommended you do so with headphones. Alone. In a darkened room." Read the rest

Campbell Award anthology: a million words of free fiction from tomorrow's SFF superstars

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The Campbell Award for best new writer is voted on and presented with the Hugo Awards -- to be eligible, you must have made your first professional sale in the previous two years. Read the rest

Extensive list of space opera cliches

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Charlie Stross is on a tear: he's catalogued 22 screens' worth of space opera cliches, grouped by themes: Planetary civilizations, space and cosmology, biology, economics, politics, culture, technology - space travel, technology - pew! pew! pew!, aliens... His readers have added 300 comments' worth of omissions. Read the rest

Whuffie would be a terrible currency

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My latest Locus column, Wealth Inequality Is Even Worse in Reputation Economies, explains the ways in which "reputation" makes a poor form of currency -- in a nutshell, reputation doesn't fulfill most of the roles we expect from currency (store of value, unit of exchange, unit of account), and it is literally a popularity contest where the rich always get richer. Read the rest

Human traffickers implant their slaves with RFID chips

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An anonymous ER doctor treated a woman who claimed she had a tracking chip embedded in her body. At first he disbelieved her -- lots of people suffer from delusions that they have implanted microchips -- but then she showed him the suture.

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Trailer for The Internet Wants, when the big hotels use psychopaths to disrupt Airbnb

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Indie sf movie kingpin Jim Munroe writes, "Ever wonder how the Hilton and the Marriott families feel about Airbnb? What would happen if the heir to a hotel chain empire gets fed up and decides to rebrand the sharing economy... as the scaring economy? A concept trailer for a new tech-horror webseries called THE INTERNET WANTS by Postopian Pictures, the guys behind HAPHEAD and GHOSTS WITH SHIT JOBS." Read the rest

Xenomorph cookie-jar

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This Gigeresque biscuit barrel, sculpted by Paul Harding, stands 12" tall, and it'll run you $45 at Thinkgeek. (via Geeky Merch) Read the rest

BT 622212453353: a machined sculptural component of a gadget from a better future

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Sculptor/machinist Chris Bathgate (previously) has posted the details of his latest piece, "BT 622212453353." Read the rest

Dune recreated with gummi

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"Crafted from a 2-foot-long gummy worm, Haribo gummy bears, black licorice string, yellow sprinkles, and rock candy crystals! A scene from the great science fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert. Here we see the giant gummy worm on the desert planet of Arrakis. Ridden by the powerful gummy bear Paul Atreides as he seeks to control the prescious "spice" melange, which gives those who ingest it extended life and some prescient awareness. Muad'Dib!" Read the rest

Tales from the Loop – An eerie account of a physics research facility gone awry

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See sample pages at Wink.

Unfamiliar with sci-fi artist Simon Stålenhag, I was sucked into his eerie dystopian history the instant I cracked open Tales from the Loop. His hyper-real digital paintings depict beautiful Swedish country towns where snow falls in the winter and children play in nature. But each of these pastoral scenes are jarring, with intrusive machines, robots, discarded equipment, and power lines upstaging the otherwise serene landscape.

The book explains that these paintings were inspired by childhood memories of the author, who grew up in a large area of Sweden that housed an underground experimental physics research facility known as The Loop. Alongside each painting is a short essay from the author’s memory. For instance, the three cooling towers in the photo above were built to release heat from the core of the Loop. The towers, which “started like a deep vibration in the ground that slowly rose to three horn-like blasts,” remind Stålenhag of a miserable day he had with a boy named Ossian, who had lured him to his house to play Crash Test Dummies, but ended up bullying him with the help of his brother until Stålenhag went home in tears.

Each painting is accompanied by one of these short yet captivating stories, and their detailed, relatable quality had me going. As I read about Stålenhag and his best friend Olof sneaking off with a boat on a nice summer day to a disturbing machine-littered swimming pond, I kept thinking, “I must go online and research the Loop! Read the rest

BC town votes to install imaginary GPS trackers in criminals

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The town council of Williams Lake, British Columbia has unanimously passed a motion to implant GPS trackers in "high risk offenders." Implantable GPS trackers don't exist. Read the rest

South Korean lawmakers stage filibuster to protest "anti-terror" bill, read from Little Brother

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Since 2001, authoritarians in the South Korean government have been attempting to pass mass surveillance legislation (see also), and they have seized upon the latest North Korean saber-rattling as the perfect excuse for ramming it through the SK Parliament. Read the rest

Read: The full run of If magazine, scanned at the Internet Archive

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The Internet Archive's amazing Pulp Magazine Archive includes all 176 issues of If, a classic science fiction magazine that ran from 1952 to 1974. Read the rest

Health insurance must pay for exoskeletons

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An independent review board has ordered an unspecified health insurer in the northeastern USA to reimburse a patient for a $69,500 exoskelton from Rewalk, whose products enable people with spinal cord injuries to walk. Read the rest

Star Trek sleep-shirts

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Thinkgeek's all-cotton Star Trek: TOS sleep shirts come in Command Gold, Science Blue, or Expendable Operations Red, and cost $24. Read the rest

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