To do in San Francisco: Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz at SF in SF, November 10

This Sunday, November 10th, see the wonderful science fiction writers Charlie Jane Anders (previously) and Annalee Newitz (previously) in conversation with Terry Bisson at the always-great SF in SF lecture series; doors open at 6PM at the American Bookbinders Museum (366 Clementina Alley) ($10/$8 students) with a post-show podcast from Somafm, and books on sale from our friends at Borderlands Books.

Annalee Newitz's Autonomous: a robosexual romp through an unequal future where biotech patent-enforcement is the only law

Annalee Newitz's debut novel Autonomous is everything you'd hope for from the co-founder of IO9, a much-respected science communicator with a longstanding sideline in weird sex and gender issues: a robosexual romp through a class war dystopia where biotech patent-enforcement is the only real law remaining, where indentured humans resent the conscious, enslaved robots for making forced labor socially acceptable, and where hackerspaces become biohackerspaces, home to reverse-engineered, open source pharma and GMOs that might just save the future.

Revealing the cover and first excerpt of Autonomous, Annalee Newitz's long-awaited debut novel

We've followed Annalee Newitz's career here for more than a decade, from her science writing fellowship to her work as an EFF staffer to her founding of IO9 and her move to Ars Technica and the 2013 publication of her first book, nonfiction guidance on surviving the end of the world and rebooting civilization: now, I'm pleased to present an exclusive excerpt from Autonomous, her debut novel, which Tor will publish in September 2017, along with the first look at her cover, designed by the incomparable Will Staehle. As her editor, Liz Gorinsky, notes, "Autonomous takes an action-packed chase narrative and adds Annalee's well-honed insight into issues of AI autonomy, pharmaceutical piracy, and maker culture to make a book that's accessible, entertaining, and ridiculously smart." I'm three quarters of the way through an early copy, and I heartily agree.

The Singularity won't be heaven: Annalee Newitz

IO9's Annalee Newitz takes aim at the idea of the Singularity in an essay called "Why the Singularity isn't going to happen." Newitz's objection to the idea that technology will allow us to transcend human limitation and misery boils down to this: the vision of technological utopia is insufficiently weird. — Read the rest

Why we love steampunk: Annalee Newitz

Annalee Newitz tries to figure out why we love steampunk:

I think the popularity of steampunk also expresses our collective yearning for an era when information technology was in its infancy and could have gone anywhere. In 1880 we hadn't yet laid the cables for a telephone network, and computer programming was just an idea in Ada Lovelace's head.

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Annalee Newitz on "real women" ads: This Is Not My Body

Ms. Newitz opines:

It all started with those Dove ads that show all the hot, mostly naked girls in weirdly desexualized lingerie with the tagline: "Real women have curves." I can only assume it's from this sentence alone that we are supposed to guess that the women in the ad are fat or have otherwise culturally unacceptable bodies (a few are people of color, one has a large tattoo, another is sort of tomboyish).

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Human case of plague confirmed in Colorado

A human has been confirmed to be infected with plague, aka the Black Death, in Pueblo County, Colorado. The infectious disease, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, killed millions of people across Europe during the Middle Ages. While it spreads among wild rodents and other animals in the western United States and parts of Africa and Asia, it's quite rare these days for a human to catch it. — Read the rest

This sci-fi author had a secret life as psychological warfare mastermind

psychological warfare

A celebrated science fiction author who spun wild tales of subversive cat women and psychic sex parties led a shocking double life — as the military mastermind behind America's psychological warfare operations for the US Army.

In their upcoming book, Stories Are Weapons: Psychological Warfare and the American Mind, journalist and author Annalee Newitz's writes of learning that science fiction author Cordwainer Smith was actually Paul Linebarger using a pen name. — Read the rest