After years of outstanding work as a cyberlawyer and science fiction/policy wonk, Kevin Bankston ( Read the rest
In First Contact, Book 1 of David Marusek’s (previously) science fiction series Upon This Rock, an alien being crash lands in a remote corner of Alaska, not far from a family-cult of preppers for the end times, and the alien exploits the beliefs of the family patriarch by posing as an angel sent to earth to initiate the final conflict. Rooted deeply in contemporary Alaskan landscape and culture, the novel is funny and painful, part satire and part serious exploration of a particularly unfortunate instance of first contact. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, leaving many questions unanswered. Read the rest
Author Carol Emshwiller has died at the age of 97, after a long and distinguished career in science fiction, fantasy and other genres. Read the rest
Science fiction scholar Lisa Yaszek's recent book The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin, is a secret history of women in science fiction, reframing the story of exclusion ("women weren't welcome in early sf writing circles") as one of erasure ("women made vital contributions to early science fiction, and these were systematically expunged from the record when the first wave of historical sf anthologies were published, as part of a backlash against first-wave feminism"). Read the rest
Author and science fiction fan Jared Gray needed a CPAP machine to treat his sleep apnea so he decided to have some maker fun with the machine. So he carved out a foam replica Aliens Facehugger to integrate his CPAP mask.
"I’m happy with it as a prototype, but I think it would need additional refinement before I started making these things for other people," Gray says."Other than making it even less comfortable to lay on my side, it’s not all that much worse than just wearing the CPAP mask on its own. I could probably sleep with this thing on, at least for a couple hours. If nothing else, it helps keep the light out of my eyes."
Unauthorized Bread is the first of four audiobooks that make up my forthcoming book Radicalized, read by the talented actor Lameece Issaq. The book, published by Macmillan Audio, is a Google Play exclusive, as part of a deal I made to celebrate the launch of a major DRM-free audiobook store that challenges Audible's monopoly on the store. But the Google Play folks have graciously permitted me to sell it with my other DRM-free audiobooks, so you can buy it direct if you prefer. Read the rest
[Editor's note: I'm a volunteer advisor to Arizona State University's Center for Science and the Imagination, and Joey Eschrich is a colleague of mine there; I invited him to write up his latest project, an anthology of science fiction about climate change.] Read the rest
On Motherboard, Brian Merchant's (previously) new science fiction story The Convoy poses an eerily plausible future for political deepfake hoaxing -- with James O'Keefe-alikes running the show -- that skillfully weaves in elements of the Innocence of Muslims hoax with the current state-of-the-art in high-tech fakery. Read the rest
Scott Alexander continues to delight with his works of short, sharp science fiction (previously): this time, it's "Sort by Controversial," a teachnolovecraftian story of training a machine learning system to recognize (and then produce) "controversial" stories by exploiting Reddit's "sort by controversial" feature to obtain training data. Read the rest
Ben Beck has relaunched his 30+ year-old AnarchySF site, with new contributions from Eden Kupermintz and Yanai Sened; it's billed as "an open-source repository of anarchist or anarchy-adjacent science fiction" and the relaunch incorporates "modern content management frameworks to allow a community to form around the archive and help maintain it." My cursory examination confirms that the site is an excellent resource already, but still really use work, especially on non-English sources. Read the rest
2019 started off with a rather interesting tweet from Elon Musk. He was showing off the "Starship test flight rocket" from SpaceX. This thing evokes a strong bit of imagery that has been so deeply integrated into our culture through science fiction for so many years that it just feels... right. Read the rest
Keiichi Matsuda created 2016's Hyper-Reality, an amazing, dystopian video about the future of augmented reality; now Matsuda is back with Merger, that plays darkly into the idea that corporations are a form of Slow AI that view humans as inconvenient gut-flora, a truth shot through our collective fears. Read the rest
Hannu Rajaniemi is the Finnish-Scottish mathematician and science fiction writer whose debut, 2012's Quantum Thief was widely celebrated; now, in Summerland, Rajaniemi delivers new kind of supernatural historical spy procedural, set in a 1938 where the afterlife has been discovered, colonized and militarized. Read the rest