Marc "Half-Life" Laidlaw's gonzo cyberpunk is back in DRM-free ebooks


Marc Laidlaw, the cyberpunk pioneer who went on to serve as writer on some of Valve's greatest video-game titles -- the Half-Life series, Portal -- has just posted his entire backlist to Amazon as $3, DRM-free ebooks, including his debut novel Dad's Nuke (think Fallout, but with religious extremist militants who subsist on "Host on a shingle," this being the cultured recovered foreskin tissue of Jesus Christ on fortified crackers) and Kalifornia, a brilliant and prescient novel about media, cultural disintegration, and celebrity. Read the rest

To hell with the Trolley Problem: here's a much more interesting list of self-driving car weirdnesses


Jan Chipchase has assembled a provocative, imaginative, excellent list of "driver behaviors in a world of autonomous mobility" that go far beyond the lazy exercise of porting the "trolley problem" to self-driving cars and other autonomous vehicles, including flying drones. Read the rest

100 African science fiction writers you should be reading


Canadian/British science fiction and fantasy author Geoff Ryman, author of the incredible novel WAS, has begun a series in which he profiles 100 working science fiction and fantasy writers in Africa, place by place, starting with Nairobi. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco: Richard Kadrey and Thomas Olde Heuvelt on July 17


Coming to San Francisco's SF in SF reading series this Sunday, July 17: Richard "Sandman Slim" Kadrey & Thomas Olde Heuvelt, the Dutch author of "The Day the World Turned Upside Down," the first translated work to ever win a Hugo Award. Read the rest

Warren Ellis's "Normal": serialized technothriller about futurists driven mad by tech-overload and bleakness


In Normal, Warren Ellis (previously) sets a technothriller in a kind of rehab center for futurists and foresight specialists who've developed "abyss gaze" -- a kind of special bleak depression that overtakes people who plug themselves into the digital world 24/7 in order to contemplate our precarious days to come. Read the rest

Out today, "Necessity," the final volume of Jo Walton's Thessaly books, sequel to "The Just City" & "Philosopher Kings"


The Just City is a gripping fantasy novel based on a thought-experiment: what if the goddess Athena transplanted all the people across time who'd ever dreamed of living in Plato's Republic to a Mediterranean island and set them loose to build that world? Read the rest

Saga Volume 6: Proof that awesome, weird, sexy space-opera can be produced to a schedule

screen-shot-2016-06-11-at-09-20-32 (1)
Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples' comic Saga blew the lid off comics when they started publishing it with the creator-friendly folks at Image, producing two graphic novels' worth of material in as many years; but then there was the long drought while we waited for book three (spoiler: worth the wait), and since then, they've hit a driving, relentless annual schedule, culminating in the publication, last week, of Volume 6, which is all that we've come to love from the series and then some.

William Gibson's Archangel: intricate military sf, mercilessly optimized for comics


Archangel is a five-part science fiction comic written by William Gibson and Michael St. John Smith and illustrated by Butch Guice; Issue #1 came out last month and sold out immediately, and IDW has only just got its second printing into stores this week, just ahead of the ship-date for #2, which is due next Wednesday. Read the rest

60 Fredric Brown science fiction stories for $2


A couple of days ago I wrote about one of my favorite SF and mystery writers, the late Fredric Brown. I just found out that you can get a a kindle edition called The Fredric Brown Megapack (2 Book Series) for $2, which includes 60 of his stories, many of which have great surprise endings. I bought it and I see many of my favorites here, including "Arena."

From Wikipedia:

"Arena" is a science fiction short story by Fredric Brown that was first published in the June 1944 issue of Astounding magazine. Members of the Science Fiction Writers of America selected it as one of the best science fiction stories published before the advent of the Nebula Awards, and as such it was included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.

The Star Trek episode "Arena" had some similarity to this story, so to avoid legal problems, it was agreed that Brown would receive payment and a story credit. An Outer Limits episode, "Fun and Games", also has a similar plot, as does an episode of Blake's 7, titled "Duel".

If you are not yet familiar with Fredric Brown, I'm envious of the treat that's in store for you. Read the rest

Star Trek: TOS communicators that run on Bluetooth

animation (1)

Thinkgeek's $150 Bluetooth Communicators are based on 3D scans of a prop communicator; pair it with your phone and clip it to your belt: when you get a ring, the psychedelic hypno-disc in the middle will spin prettily, flick it open and start talking. Read the rest

George RR Martin's "Fevre Dream": the Lannisters as vampires

I first read George RR Martin's 1982 vampire novel Fevre Dream as a young teenager, around the time I was also discovering Anne Rice and a host of other "contemporary" vampire novels who were reinventing the genre; now, decades later, I've been transported anew to the slavery-haunted riverboat where Joshua York and Abner Marsh tried to tame the ancient vampire before it was too late.

Great 1950s horror sci-fi novel, The Mind Thing, now on Kindle


When I was in junior high school, I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. One of the books I got from the club was an anthology that included several stories by Fredric Brown (who was primarily a mystery writer but occasionally delved into science fiction). Some of Brown's stories in the anthology were a mere page or two, and I loved their humor and surprise endings. As soon as I could, I went to the Boulder Public Library to load up on as much Brown as I could find. It turned out the library had just two of his science fiction novels: Martians, Go Home (1955), and What Mad Universe (1949). They were both terrific.

In Martians, Go Home a race of cartoonish little green men invade Earth for the sole purpose of being hideously bothersome pests, behaving very much like Internet trolls and Second Life griefers. (Artist Kelly Freas perfectly captured the personality of the martians in his cover painting for Astounding Science Fiction.) In What Mad Universe a man gets thrown into a parallel universe and has to figure out how to get back home. Both books are semi-parodies of science fiction novels (the protagonists in each novel are science fiction writers), with plenty of Brown's signature wry humor. If you've not read these novels, I highly recommend them both.

It wasn't until I was in high school that I scored a copy of The Mind Thing (1961), which is probably my favorite Brown novel, even though it is not as well-known as the other two novels, and could be arguably be classified a horror novel. Read the rest

Mur Lafferty's "Shambling Guide to NYC" is coming to Netflix!


Mur Lafferty, an amazing author and podcaster, had her mainstream publishing debt in 2013 with the wonderful Shambling Guide to New York City, about a travel writer who gets tapped to write a guidebook for spooks, haints, vampires and werewolves. Read the rest

I'm profiled in the Globe and Mail Report on Business magazine

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 4.54.24 PM.png

The monthly Report on Business magazine in the Canadian national paper The Globe and Mail profiled my work on DRM reform, as well as my science fiction writing and my work on Boing Boing. Read the rest

Locus Award 2016 winners: your summer reading!


The readership of Locus magazine have chosen their favorite fantasy and science fiction works of 2015, and the winners make for a very exciting summer reading list indeed! Read the rest

Writing the Other: intensely practical advice for representing other cultures in fiction

For more than a decade, science fiction and fantasy writers have handed around Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward's Writing the Other, an intensely practical and thoughtful guide to inclusive, representative writing that includes people of genders, ethnicities, races, and orientations other than the writer's.

Crowdfunding the publication of Samuel R Delany's journals


Samuel R Delany is one of the most important figures in science fiction; one of the first prominent black writers in the field; the first out, queer writer; a titan of imagination and a prose stylist without compare. Read the rest

More posts