Artist and researcher Terence Broad is working on his master's at Goldsmith's computing department; his dissertation involved training neural networks to "autoencode" movies they've been fed. Read the rest
Spike Snell is a Star Trek fan whose thing is the ambient noise that the series' sound-designers created for the fictional spaceships, sounds that are never meant to be in the foreground, but which are always informing the viewer about both the ship's architecture and layout and its current status. Read the rest
Next April, Tor Books will publish Walkaway, the first novel I've written specifically for adults since 2009; it's scheduled to be their lead title for the season and they've hired the brilliant designer Will Staehle (Yiddish Policeman's Union, Darker Shade of Magic) for the cover, which Tor has just revealed. Read the rest
Abrams directed the first two Star Trek reboot movies and is producing the third one for Paramount; he says he convinced the studio to drop its controversial lawsuit against Axanar, a crowdfunded fan-film (a suit that included a dubious claim about the copyrightability of the Klingon language) telling them that the lawsuit "wasn’t an appropriate way to deal with the fans." Read the rest
"Project Earth is leaving beta," JW Alden's arch, funny short-short science fiction story in Nature, is a delightful little piece of design fiction in the form of a letter to the backers of planet Earth's crowdfunding, announcing the coming server wipe and 1.0 release ("Yes, we know you've poured time and effort into your 'lives' on Earth, and it's disappointing to lose your progress"), and a host of long overdue features: Read the rest
Low-cost carrier Easyjet has prototyped "Sneakairs," a pair of shoes that have small vibrating motors and Bluetooth links; they work in concert with your mobile phone's mapping app, buzzing left or right when it's time to turn, and twice if you've gone the wrong way. Read the rest
The Nebula Awards -- voted on by members of the Science Fiction Writers of America to recognize excellence in science fiction and fantasy -- were given out in Chicago yesterday, and every prose award went to a woman (the film award went to the writers of feminist action film Mad Max: Fury Road). Read the rest
Nod Away by Joshua Cotter Fantagraphics 2016, 240 pages, 7.8 x 10.2 x 0.8 inches (softcover) $21 Buy a copy on Amazon
Sometimes the most abstruse and esoteric dilemmas are best considered in the abstract, as if by not directly looking at things somehow makes them more clear. Zen masters speak in koans, Nietzsche wrote in aphorisms, and poets immerse themselves in metaphors, all of them trying to communicate things in a manner that steps outside of the constraints of language. So it is with Joshua W. Cotter’s new book from Fantagraphics Books, Nod Away.
Nod Away is the first of what Cotter promises to be a seven-volume series. Ostensibly this first volume is a sci-fi story that circles around issues such as the human desire for exploration and connection, the power structure inherent in gender politics, and the gray area created in the intersection between science and morality, but, as the book unfolds, the reader feels there is something more complicated occurring in the periphery. Cotter is exploring profound questions of consciousness itself by creating a story that asks them indirectly.
Densely detailed and tightly packed, Cotter’s pages pull and push the classic nine-panel grid layout, opening up or staying regimented as the emotional beat demands. His layouts control the reader’s experience explicitly and play with expectations in order to keep things just off balance enough to force engagement and demand active reading. Just when things start to coalesce, though, Cotter blows them apart. Read the rest
Ricky from Inside the Magic writes, "This weekend Shanghai Disneyland began soft openings and that means the world has now had the pleasure of finally seeing a TRON ride come to life - and it's brilliant. The Tron Lightcycle Power Run is a roller coaster that lets guests hop on the film series' signature vehicles and race around the track to Daft Punk's Tron: Legacy tunes, surrounded by special effects. The Grid is live and is very real." Read the rest