Come see me in Toronto and Maine!

I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly). Read the rest

Sarah Pinsker's "Song for a New Day": outstanding dystopian rock-and-roll novel of rebellion and redemption

Since her stories started appearing in 2013, Sarah Pinsker (previously) has been a writer to watch, winning prestigious awards from the Nebula to the Sturgeon; now, in her debut novel, A Song For a New Day, Pinsker shows that she can write long-form work that's every bit as compelling, wrenching, sweet and angry as the stories that launched her career. Read the rest

The lost audiobooks of Roger Zelazny reading the Chronicles of Amber

When I was a kid, my whole circle of D&D-playing, science-fiction reading pals was really into Roger Zelazny's ten-volume Chronicles of Amber, but somehow I never read it; for years, I'd intended to correct this oversight, but I never seemed to find the time -- after all, there's more amazing new stuff than I can possibly read, how could I justify looking backwards, especially over the course of ten books? Read the rest

The Babysitter's Coven

Esme Pearl has a shitty life: she's seventeen, has only one real friend in the world, lives in a small Kansas town (and hates it), goes to high school, and is being raised by her traumatized father who can't bring himself to talk about the mental illness that has landed her mother in a locked psych ward since Esme was a little girl. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco this Sunday: SF in SF with Hannu Rajaniemi & Christopher Brown

This Sunday, the outstanding SF in SF reading series hosts two outstanding authors: Hannu Rajaniemi (Summerland) and Christopher Brown (Rule of Capture). American Bookbinders Museum, 366 Clementina Alley. Doors at 6PM: $10 ($8 students with ID). Read the rest

Charles de Lint on Radicalized: "among my favorite things I've read so far this year"

I've been a Charles de Lint fan since I was a kid (see photographic evidence, above, of a 13-year-old me attending one of Charles's signings at Bakka Books in 1984!), and so I was absolutely delighted to read his kind words in his books column in Fantasy and Science Fiction for my latest book, Radicalized. This book has received a lot of critical acclaim ("among my favorite things I've read so far this year"), but to get such a positive notice from Charles is wonderful on a whole different level. Read the rest

Should they rename the Tiptree Award, too?

Mitch Wagner writes, "Alice Sheldon, who wrote brilliant science fiction under the pseudonym James Tiptree Jr., killed her husband and herself in 1987. The volunteers who administer the Tiptree Award literary prize now face pressure to change its name."

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University of Kansas's Campbell Conference changes its name to the Gunn Center Conference

When Jeanette Ng used her Campbell Awards speech at this year's Worldcon Hugo Awards ceremony to denounce the hugely influential science fiction editor John W Campbell for being a fascist, it kicked off a long-overdue reckoning within science fiction over the abusers, creeps, grifters, and out-and-out fascists (including Campbell) whose sins and transgressions had been systematically swept under the rug for decades. Read the rest

To do in San Francisco on Sunday: RE/Search's V.Vale and Rudy Rucker at City Lights

For decades, Happy Mutants met one another and got seriously warped by the astounding books and other media of RE/Search Press (previously), now, after a long drought, RE/Search is publishing a new book, Underground Living (RE/Search #19), featuring the photos of V.Vale ("early Ramones shows, Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch, John Waters, Genesis P-Orridge, William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Andy Warhol, Allen Ginsberg, Kathy Acker, Survival Research Labs, and many more!"). The book launches this Sunday at San Francisco's legendary City Lights Books, where V.Vale will be in conversation with that happiest of mutants, the magnificent Rudy Rucker (previously). (via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Dell Magazines have changed the Campbell Award to the Astounding Award, removing the name of fascist John W Campbell

Every year at the Hugo Awards, a lucky writer is given the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, named for the noted sf editor and fascist John W Campbell, whose editorials in the pages of Astounding Science Fiction lamented the demise of slavery, cheered the murder of the Kent State 4, advocated violent reprisals over the Watts Uprising, and promoted Dianetics (Campbell wasn't just a racist kook: he was several kinds of kook). Read the rest

They told us DRM would give us more for less, but they lied

My latest Locus Magazine column is DRM Broke Its Promise, which recalls the days when digital rights management was pitched to us as a way to enable exciting new markets where we'd all save big by only buying the rights we needed (like the low-cost right to read a book for an hour-long plane ride), but instead (unsurprisingly) everything got more expensive and less capable. Read the rest

Interview with Neal Stephenson about his new novel and the state of the internet

Tyler Cowen of Reason used the occasion of the release of Neal Stephenson's new novel, Fall; or, Dodge in Hell to interview him about what he thinks on a wide variety of topics, including surveillance, clothing of the future, and the rise of algorithmic decision making.

In your books, you saw some of the downsides of social media earlier than most people did. What's the worst-case scenario, and why do many people think they're screwing things up?

I think we're actually living through the worst-case scenario right now. I think our civil institutions were founded upon an assumption that people would be able to agree on what reality is, agree on facts, and that they would then make rational, good-faith decisions based on that. They might disagree as to how to interpret those facts or what their political philosophy was, but it was all founded on a shared understanding of reality. And that's now been dissolved out from underneath us, and we don't have a mechanism to address that problem.

But what's the fundamental problem there? Is it that decentralized communications media intrinsically fail because there are too many voices? Is there something about the particular structure of social media now?

The problem seems to be the fact that it's algorithmically driven, and that there are no humans in the loop making editorial, curatorial decisions about what is going to be disseminated on those networks. So it's very easy for people who are acting in bad faith to game that system and produce whatever kind of depiction of reality best suits them.

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Cyberpunk 2077 devs give us a peek at character builds and a bit of the old ultra-violence

I don't have a single piece of hardware that'll be able to play Cyberpunk 2077 when it's released. This fact didn't do a single damn thing to stop me from watching this 14-minute preview video, however.

Beyond getting a peek of the incredible environments that the game has to offer, the video, as its title suggests also gives a solid look at two play styles and massive number of character tweaks that will be available to players on launch day. Read the rest

Read: Jeannette Ng's Campbell Award acceptance speech, in which she correctly identifies Campbell as a fascist and expresses solidarity with Hong Kong protesters

Last weekend, Jeanette Ng won the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer at the 2019 Hugo Awards at the Dublin Worldcon; Ng's acceptance speech calls Campbell, one of the field's most influential editors, a "fascist" and expresses solidarity with the Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters. Read the rest

An appreciation for Samuel Delany

Samuel R "Chip" Delany is a science fiction pioneer: a brilliant literary stylist with dazzling ideas who was one of the field's first openly queer writers, and one of the first Black writers accepted into the field. He is one of the fathers of afrofuturism. Read the rest

Congrats to the winners of the 2019 Hugo! Kowal, Wells, Cho, Harrow, Chambers, AO3, Liu, Dozois, Wolfe, and more!

The 2019 World Science Fiction Convention is being held in Dublin, and tonight, the con presented the annual Hugo Awards, voted on by the attendees and supporters of this year's con. Read the rest

Check out these amazing sf movies made by Nigerian teens

The Critics Company is a collective of Nigerian teen afrofuturist filmmakers who make incredible looking, smart science fiction movies with camerawork courtesy of old, busted mobile phones and VFX generated in Blender. Read the rest

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