John Scalzi's Collapsing Empire: an epic new space opera with snark, politics and action to burn

Regular Boing Boing readers need no introduction to John Scalzi, whose smartass, snappy, funny, action-packed science fiction novels are a treat to read; but new fans and old hands alike will find much to love in The Collapsing Empire, the first volume in a new, epic space-opera series.

A gorgeous book-trailer for Walkaway

Walkaway, my first novel for adults since 2009, drops in four days, and today, my US publisher Tor Boooks unveiled a gorgeous, stylish book-trailer for the novel, created by Jaye Rochon from Circle of Seven. Read the rest

Sorry, David Lynch's Dune sucks (or does it?)

David Lynch's 1982 Dune wasn't well-received at the time, but over the years has become a cult classic—perhaps even a good film. With a few nods to the lavish sets and striking set-pieces, Emily Asher-Perrin takes a weirding module to the latter claim: David Lynch’s Dune is What You Get When You Build a Science Fictional World With No Interest in Science Fiction.

Any attempt at cohesion on a more granular level, which is where worldbuilding is most essential in science fiction, is shrugged off in favor of another inexplicable style choice that brings a bit of form and zero function. With the exceptions of military collars and crests, there is nothing that communicates how these things and people connect—some have tried to christen it “noir-baroque” which is a cute thought, but it’s hard to believe that any detailed reasons for the aesthetics were considered beyond “this looks cool.”

Dune wants to be phantasmagorical and it wants to be offensive to your senses, and those things can work in cinema, as Lynch’s career communicates incredibly well. But this film does not carry off that off-kilter creepiness as anything more than a parlor trick. It fails to be authentic because these cues are not entrenched in the universe projected on screen. They are there to shock the viewer, to disgust them, but they don’t mean anything. The Guild member floating in its chamber of gas is strange and otherworldly and grotesque, but communicates nothing besides that. It is not integrated into its setting, its surroundings.

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To do in SF this Saturday: reading by Pat Murphy, Jewelle Gomez & Madeleine Robins

The latest installment in the ever-excellent SF-in-SF series returns to San Francisco's American Bookbinders Museum (366 Clementin) this Saturday, with Pat Murphy, Jewelle Gomez & Madeleine Robins; doors open at 5:30 and admission is $10 (no one turned away for lack of funds). Read the rest

Read: Chapter 3 of Walkaway, in which a university rises from the ashes

There's only 8 days until the publication of Walkaway (stil time to pre-order signed hardcovers: US, UK), and Tor.com has just published a sneak peek at chapter 3: "Takeoff." Read the rest

The gorgeous, surreal GIFs of Adam Pizurny

Adam Pizurny's Tumblr is an endless font of stupendous and surreal GIFs. Read the rest

Livejournal's Russian owners announce new anti-LGBT policy, fandom stages mass exodus

Mitch Wagner writes, "LiveJournal is a venerable online community that predates Facebook and even blogging. It got acquired by a Russian company a few years ago, but some of its American and British users hung on, including sf and fantasy writers and fans. Lately, I know one of my friends was scrambling to leave, but I'd been too busy to look into why." Read the rest

If you're not reading Saga yet, Book 7 proves you should get caught up RIGHT NOW

Saga is Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples' magnificent, visually stunning, adventurous, funny, raunchy, complex and provocative graphic novel; the first six volumes of collected comics moved from strength to strength, fleshing out a universe that was simultaneously surreal and deadly serious, where cute characters could have deadly-serious lives: now, with volume 7, Staples and Vaughan continue their unbroken streak of brilliance.

How optimistic disaster stories can save us from dystopia

I've got an editorial in this month's Wired magazine about the relationship between the science fiction stories we read and our real-world responses to disasters: Disasters Don’t Have to End in Dystopias; it's occasioned by the upcoming publication of my "optimistic disaster novel" Walkaway (pre-order signed copies: US/UK; read excerpts: Chapter 1, Chapter 2; US/Canada tour schedule). Read the rest

Read: chapter two of WALKAWAY, in which buildings build themselves

There's 22 days until the publication of Walkaway, my first novel for adults since 2009's Makers (there's still time to pre-order signed copies: USA, UK); to whet appetites, my US publisher Tor Books is releasing excerpts from the book; last month, it was chapter 1, "Communisty Party"; today, they've released chapter 2, "You All Meet in a Tavern." Read the rest

Red Star Tales: A Century of Russian and Soviet Science Fiction

Russian science fiction is rarely cheerful or upbeat, but if you want to read some fantastic dystopian futures, Red Star Tales is the collection for you. Read the rest

Read: "Communist Party": the first chapter of Walkaway

There's still time to pre-order your signed first-edition hardcover of Walkaway, my novel which comes out on April 25 (US/UK), and while you're waiting for that to ship, here's chapter one of the novel, "Communist Party" (this is read by Wil Wheaton on the audiobook, where he is joined by such readers as Amanda Palmer and Amber Benson!). Read the rest

Here's the schedule for my 25-city US-Canada Walkaway tour!

There's 25 stops in all on the US/Canada tour for WALKAWAY, my next novel, an "optimistic disaster novel" that comes out on April 25 (more stops coming soon, as well as publication of my UK tour). Read the rest

Bruce Sterling's SXSW 2017 keynote: what should humans do?

Every year, Bruce Sterling closes the SXSW Interactive Festival with a wide-ranging, hour-long speech about the state of the nation: the format is 20 minutes' worth of riffing on current affairs, and then 40 minutes of main thesis, scorchingly delivered, with insights, rage, inspiration and calls to action. Read the rest

New York 2140: Kim Stanley Robinson dreams vivid about weathering climate crisis

In 2012, Kim Stanley Robinson published 2312, imagining how the world and its neighbors might look in 300 years, loosely coupled with the seminal Red Mars books, a futuristically pastoral novel about the way that technology can celebrate the glories of nature; in 2015, Robinson followed it up with Aurora, the best book I read that year, which used 2312's futures to demolish the idea that we can treat space colonization (and other muscular technological projects) as Plan B for climate change -- a belief that is very comforting to those who don't or can't imagine transforming capitalism into a political system that doesn't demolish the planet. Now, with New York 2140, Robinson starts to connect the dots between these different futures with a bold, exhilarating story of life in a permanent climate crisis, where most people come together in adversity, but where a small rump of greedy, powerful people get in their way.

Watch the short film adaptation of William Gibson's "The Gernsback Continuum"

NSFW: Tomorrow Calling (1993) is a short film adaptation for television of William Gibson's 1981 short story "The Gernsback Continuum," from the seminal cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades (1986), edited by Bruce Sterling, and Gibson's own Burning Chrome (1986) collection. Directed by Tim Leandro, Tomorrow Calling was first shown on Channel 4 in the UK.

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What's the difference between a CEO and a president?

Christopher Brown is a gonzo cyberpunk writer who delves into the real-world story of Saddam Hussein's Frank Frazetta collection, but by day he's a high-powered lawyer who's worked in government and the private sector (it's the intersection of these two Browns that penned his outstanding, forthcoming debut novel, Tropic of Kansas, which you should pre-order right now). Read the rest

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