"hugh spencer"

Rod Serling: human rights activist as science fiction showrunner

Science fiction author Hugh Spencer (previously) has published an essay on how Rod Serling's activist views on human rights were embodied in The Twilight Zone, drawing on the practice of using fantastic fiction to evade social constraints, in the tradition of Gulliver's Travels (to say nothing of books like Pinocchio and Inferno). Read the rest

The Collected Progressive Apparatus: stories of Hugh Spencer

Hugh Spencer sez, "The stories they didn't want back in print are still not in print -- but you can read them anyway! My tales of living software, psychological censorship, trans-human dating and childcare responsibilities are available via download in The Collected Progressive Apparatus." Read the rest

Bald disinformation about Scientology critic

An anonymous commenter's missive in response to yesterday's post on Hugh Spencer's Master's thesis on the Church of Scientology and science fiction is some of the dumbest disinformation I've seen yet.

The commenter (using an IP address in Melbourne, Australia) tells ridiculous, easily falsified lies -- for example, claiming that the Associated Press called Spencer "the 20th century's answer to Glenn Beck," which would be a neat trick, given that Spencer's thesis was published two years before Beck's first on-air job at a small radio station in Texas. The commenter also claims that McMaster University threw out Spencer's thesis -- another patent falsehood that is revealed by the fact that the document is currently in McMaster's online archive of successful Master's theses.

I don't know whether anonymous-of-Melbourne is working for the Church of Scientology, but this kind of disinformation campaign does the Church and its supporters no good. If you want to make the faith look like a sinister cult that viciously attacks its critics rather than addressing the criticism, consider yourself successful. Read the rest

Parent of gamer asks his son to honor the Geneva Conventions

Last week, I had lunch with my friend, Hugh Spencer, a writer and designer of museum and public educational exhibitions. He told me an amazing story about his son and games, and I asked him to write it up for Boing Boing:
This is a picture of my amazing youngest son Evan. He's 13, he's holding a game controller and looking at a glowing screen and he's doing what he does a lot of -- diving into digital realms of adventure.

His latest favourite game is Call of Duty - which he plays on-line with his friends. Evan's wanting to play C of D was something of a challenge for us. It's rated T and he's only just a teenager and point and shoot first person games worry me some. Evan is relentlessly reasonable sometimes -- he outlined why he wanted to play the game and he was pretty upfront why he knew my "parent-sense" would start tingling. So I had to be reasonable too. I looked at the game. I've done a lot of research for military museums so I could tell that the content was accurate -- but there was lots of shooting and blowing things up. But there was a fair bit of that during World War II. So it was undeniable that Evan was experiencing history and there was this teamwork factor...

So we compromised. Well, sort of.

I asked Evan to google the Geneva Convention. Then he had to read it and then we had to discuss it.

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Sticky Wonder Tales: comedy science fiction story reading

I've just uploaded a fantastic reading of my friend Hugh Spencer's short story, "Sticky Wonder Tales," which originally appeared in On Spec, the excellent Canadian science fiction magazine. Hugh's work never fails to crack me up and make me think, and this is no exception. It's an epistolary fiction, taking the form of an exchange of letters between siblings whose lives and biology are being transformed by radical alien technology that has been beamed to Earth by psychic radio. One is learning to be a fighter pilot for wars in a distant galaxy, the other his having his body remade by alien parasites who are turning him into a super-being.

The story is touching and weird, speculative and human -- a perfect metaphor for the anxiety that we feel whenever technology remakes our beloved selves and institutions. The reading is performed by Hugh and award-winning horror writer David P Nickle, and they're having so much damned fun in the course of the recording that you can't help but be captivated by it.

You have to love a story that opens with: “Hey, Squiffy: Sorry to hear about the bowel infection. Even sorrier to hear that it’s one of the intelligent ones.” Through a series of back and forth letters, Hugh A.D. Spencer’s Sticky Wonder Tales (Fall, 2006) follows the evolution of two brothers who, via government sponsorship, undergo physiological and mental changes in order to understand alien telepathy or technology. Stephen is busy turning into an alien turtle with an IQ of 350.
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