William Gibson talks about scrapping and rewriting a novel after the 2016 Trump election

Agency is the sequel to William Gibson's tour-de-force 2014 novel "The Peripheral"; as previously discussed, Gibson had to scrap large sections of the novel and rewrite it after Donald Trump won the 2016 US presidential election. Agency is out later this month (I have a review pending for publication date) and Gibson has conducted a long interview with Sam Leith about the process by which the book came to be -- and almost wasn't. Read the rest

A beautiful timeline of a future in which the climate crisis is met and overcome

Eric Holthaus is a meteorologist who has grown weary of the inadequacy of scientific discourse as a means of conveying the urgency of the climate crisis; instead, he's written an inspiring future history in which he traces the year-by-year steps that lead to a just climate transition: "a vision of what it could look and feel like if we finally, radically, collectively act to build a world we want to live in." Read the rest

RIP, Mike Resnick

Mike Resnick, a major figure in science fiction, has died after a brief battle with "a very aggressive form of lymphoma" that was diagnosed in November. He was 77. Read the rest

Black Flag/Iain Banks mashup tee

Rogue Print's inaugural tee design for 2020 is a mashup Iain Banks (previously, RIP)/Black Flag tribute available as a baseball tee or a regular one -- both ship with a set of writers as bands stickers. Read the rest

Radicalized makes the CBC's annual Canada Reads longlist

The Canadian Broadcasting Coporation's annual Canada Reads prize is one of Canada's top literary prizes, ranking with the Governor General's prize for prestige and reach; it begins early in January with the announcement of a longlist of 15 recommended books, and then these are whittled down to a shortlist of five books later in the month. Over the months that follow, each of the shortlisted books is championed by a Canadian celebrity in a series of events across the country, with the grand prize winner being announced in late March after a televised debate among the five books' "champions." Read the rest

Welcome to 2020 and your annual State of the World discussion with Bruce Sterling, Jon Lebkowsky and The WELL

Every year (20190, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2007, 2005) Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky conduct a public salon with the users of The WELL on the "State of the World." It's always one of the highlights of the new year for me, and this year (which Sterling calls the first year in his life when it's "hard to find any genuine technical novelty") is off to an especially chewy and interesting start. Read the rest

Podcast: Science fiction and the unforeseeable future: In the 2020s, let’s imagine better things

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my Globe and Mail editorial, Science fiction and the unforeseeable future: In the 2020s, let’s imagine better things, where I reflect on what science fiction can tell us about the 2020s for the Globe's end-of-the-decade package; I wrote about how science fiction can't predict the future, but might inspire it, and how the dystopian malaise of science fiction can be turned into a inspiring tale of "adversity met and overcome – hard work and commitment wrenching a limping victory from the jaws of defeat." Read the rest

Science fiction, Canada and the 2020s: my look at the decade ahead for the Globe and Mail

The editors of Canada's Globe and Mail asked me to reflect on what science fiction can tell us about the 2020s for their end-of-the-decade package; I wrote about how science fiction can't predict the future, but might inspire it, and how the dystopian malaise of science fiction can be turned into a inspiring tale of "adversity met and overcome – hard work and commitment wrenching a limping victory from the jaws of defeat." Read the rest

Party Discipline, a Walkaway story (Part 4 -- the final part!)

In my latest podcast (MP3), I conclude my serial reading of my novella Party Discipline, which I wrote while on a 35-city, 45-day tour for my novel Walkaway in 2017; Party Discipline is a story set in the world of Walkaway, about two high-school seniors who conspire to throw a "Communist Party" at a sheet metal factory whose owners are shutting down and stealing their workers' final paychecks. These parties are both literally parties -- music, dancing, intoxicants -- and "Communist" in that the partygoers take over the means of production and start them up, giving away the products they create to the attendees. Walkaway opens with a Communist Party and I wanted to dig into what might go into pulling one of those off.

Here's part 1 of the reading, here's part 2, and here's part 3.

We rode back to Burbank with Shirelle on my lap and one of my butt-cheeks squeezed between the edge of the passenger seat and the door. The truck squeaked on its suspension as we went over the potholes, riding low with a huge load of shopping carts under tarps in its bed. The carts were pretty amazing: strong as hell but light enough for me to lift one over my head, using crazy math to create a tensegrity structure that would hold up to serious abuse. They were rustproof, super-steerable and could be reconfigured into different compartment-sizes or shelves with grills that clipped to the sides. And light as they were, you put enough of them into a truck and they’d weigh a ton.

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Radicalized is one of the LA Public Library's books of the year!

It's not just the CBC and the Wall Street Journal -- I was delighted to see this morning that Radicalized, my 2019 book of four science fiction novellas made the LA Public Library's list of the top books of 2019! "As always his writing is sharp and clear, covering the absurdities that surround and infiltrate our lives, and predicts new ones waiting for us just around the corner. A compelling, thought provoking, macabre funny read." Read the rest

Why should you read Dune?

This episode of TED-Ed is about Frank Herbert's 1965 science fiction novel, Dune, and why you should read it.

A mother and son trek across an endless desert. Wearing special suits to dissipate heat and recycle moisture, the travelers aren’t worried about dying of thirst. Their fears are much greater. Soon, the sound of the desert is drowned out by a hissing: a mound of sand 400 meters long bursts from the desert floor and races towards them. This is the world of “Dune.” Dan Kwartler dives into the epic story.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

Arthur C. Clarke reads his short story "Transit of Earth" (1975)

Arthur C. Clark's short story "Transit of Earth" appeared in the January 1971 issue of Playboy. It's a moving tale of an astronaut stranded on Mars, on the verge of death, waiting to watch the Earth pass in front of the Sun. Above, Clarke's reading of the story as found on his 1978 spoken word LP that also includes "The Nine Billion Names of God" and "The Star."

(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest

Podcast: Party Discipline, a Walkaway story (Part 3)

In my latest podcast (MP3), I continue my serial reading of my novella Party Discipline, which I wrote while on a 35-city, 45-day tour for my novel Walkaway in 2017; Party Discipline is a story set in the world of Walkaway, about two high-school seniors who conspire to throw a "Communist Party" at a sheet metal factory whose owners are shutting down and stealing their workers' final paychecks. These parties are both literally parties -- music, dancing, intoxicants -- and "Communist" in that the partygoers take over the means of production and start them up, giving away the products they create to the attendees. Walkaway opens with a Communist Party and I wanted to dig into what might go into pulling one of those off.

Here's part 1 of the reading and here's part 2.

We told them they could go home if they didn’t want to risk coming to the Communist party, but we told them that after we told them that they were the only kids in the whole school we trusted enough to invite to it, and made sure they all knew that if they backed out, there’d be no hard feelings—and no chance to change their mind later tonight when they were at a corny party with a bunch of kids instead of making glorious revolution.

Every one of them said they’d come.

I’d found an all-ages show in Encino that night, two miles from Steelbridge, Antoine’s old job. We got piled into Ubers heading for the club, chatting about inconsequentialities for the in-car cameras and mics, and every one of us paid cover for the club, making sure to use traceable payment systems that would alibi us as having gone in for the night.

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San Diego's Mysterious Galaxy bookstore is saved!

With just days to go before it would have to close its doors forever, San Diego's beloved science fiction bookstore Mysterious Galaxy has found a new location and new owners: Jenni Marchisotto and Matthew Berger have bought the store and will run it at its new home, 3555 Rosecrans St. Suite #107 San Diego, CA 92110. Read the rest

Radicalized is one of the Wall Street Journal's top sf books of 2019!

Radicalized, my collection of four novellas, is one of the Wall Street Journal's picks for best sf books of 2019! My thanks to Tom Shippey, who listed it alongside of David Walton's Three Laws Lethal, Daniel Suarez's Delta-v, Erin Craig's House of Salt and Sorrows and Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Mother! Read the rest

William Gibson profiled in The New Yorker

In the December 9, 2019 issue of The New Yorker, Joshua Rothman profiles one of the most influential authors in recent decades, William Gibson.

Gibson doesn’t have a name for his method; he knows only that it isn’t about prediction. It proceeds, instead, from a deep engagement with the present. When Gibson was starting to write, in the late nineteen-seventies, he watched kids playing games in video arcades and noticed how they ducked and twisted, as though they were on the other side of the screen. The Sony Walkman had just been introduced, so he bought one; he lived in Vancouver, and when he explored the city at night, listening to Joy Division, he felt as though the music were being transmitted directly into his brain, where it could merge with his perceptions of skyscrapers and slums. His wife, Deborah, was a graduate student in linguistics who taught E.S.L. He listened to her young Japanese students talk about Vancouver as though it were a backwater; Tokyo must really be something, he thought. He remembered a weeping ambulance driver in a bar, saying, “She flatlined.” On a legal pad, Gibson tried inventing words to describe the space behind the screen; he crossed out “infospace” and “dataspace” before coming up with “cyberspace.” He didn’t know what it might be, but it sounded cool, like something a person might explore even though it was dangerous.

(Image: William Gibson by Frédéric Poirot , CC-BY) Read the rest

The New Yorker's profile of William Gibson: "Droll, chilled out, and scarily articulate"

I first met Bill Gibson in 1999 when I was profiling him for the Globe and Mail as part of a review of his book "All Tomorrow's Parties." Since then, we've become friends and colleagues, and I genuinely treasure every chance I get to sit down with him, because he's both fantastically clever and incredibly nice. Read the rest

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