Interview with the founders of io9

Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders on 10 years of io9.

Annalee: We wanted to have a vision of the future for our readers that wasn’t completely silly but that wasn’t hopeless and dystopian. And again, part of covering science was very important to that because it was about how our stories could actually infect reality in a good way, and that what we dream can come true and that science and science fiction are part of the same project, which is to progressively improve reality for the maximum number of people.

They planned on naming it "Futurista" but couldn't get the domain. 'io9.com' turned out to be tough because of i/1 and 0/O confusion, and because the domain was heavily penalized by google due to prior use for porn, but the site was so good (and so successful) it didn't matter for long. Read the rest

Interactive map of every Quantum Leap series jump

Josh Jones mapped out every leap from every episode of the classic sci-fi show Quantum Leap. Jump with Dr. Sam Beckett and his hologram pal Al all over the world again as he tries to find his way back to his own home, his own time, and his own body. Read the rest

Nebraska State Senator proposes constitutional amendment to allow corporations to create tiny, sovereign nations with no laws, taxes or rules

Nebraska State Senator Paul Schumacher [R-22] [(402) 471-2715] has proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would create 36-square-mile regions in the state where corporations would enjoy up to 99 years of sovereignty, with "no city or state taxes and no local or state regulations." Read the rest

The story of how sf writer and editor Judith Merril founded Toronto's astounding sf reference library and changed the city

My middle-school used to take us on field trips to the Spaced Out Library, the Toronto Public Library's science fiction reference collection founded by legendary author, critic, editor and activist Judith Merril, who emigrated to Canada after witnessing the police brutality at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention. Read the rest

Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky's State of the World address, 2018 edition

Every year, Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky take to The Well and conduct a weeks-long, wide-ranging "state of the world" discussion, trying to dig through to the zeitgeist's bedrock, taking questions from all comers (you don't need to be a WELL member to read, and you can send your questions in to Jonl). Read the rest

Podcast: The Man Who Sold the Moon

After a two year hiatus, I've restarted my podcast! It's my New Year's resolution. Read the rest

Saga Volume 8: the best space opera in comics tackles abortion, gender identity, and vengeance

Saga is the best space opera in comics, a masterpiece of serial storytelling from Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan, whose character designs -- a cross between Vaughn Bode and the Mos Eisley Cantina -- and fearless war-scenes combine with masterful cliff-hanger storytelling to weave a tale that hurts even as it makes you bellow with laughter. The eighth collection in the series ships today and the story shows no sign of slowing down.

Charlie Stross's CCC talk: the future of psychotic AIs can be read in today's sociopathic corporations

Charlie Stross's keynote at the 34th Chaos Communications Congress Leipzig is entitled "Dude, you broke the Future!" and it's an excellent, Strossian look at the future we're barelling towards, best understood by a critical examination of the past we've just gone through. Read the rest

Reviving my Christmas daddy-daughter podcast, with Poesy!

For nearly every year since my daughter Poesy was old enough to sing, we've recorded a Christmas podcast; but we missed it in 2016, due to the same factors that made the podcast itself dormant for a couple years -- my crazy busy schedule. Read the rest

Trump's Space Council chief says space is "not a commons" and promises that it will become property of US corporations

In a speech last week, US National Space Council executive director Scott Pace rejected the idea that space was a "global commons" or "the common heritage of mankind" and vowed to make the USA "the most attractive jurisdiction in the world for private-sector investment and innovation in outer space." Read the rest

UK Tory MP unclear on the concept of dystopia

The Getting to the Future First: How Britain can lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution report was created by Alan Mak, Conservative Member of Parliament for Havant, and it's a laughable compendium of trickle-down nonsense proposing that if all dividends from automation flow to capital, somehow everyone in the world will share in the benefits. Read the rest

Stop charging AT-ATs (What the Rebellion should do in order to improve its anti-Empire tactics)

When I nerdpick a movie, I usually criticize the stupid computers, but I was fascinated by the angry nerding of Angry Staff Officer, a member of the Military Writers Guild, who picked apart the Rebellion's outrageously dumb military tactics (some spoilers). Read the rest

Superb science fiction story in the form of a list of failed attempts to stave off climate extinction

Debbie Urbanski's story "An Incomplete Timeline of What We Tried" for Motherboard takes the improbable form of a list of failed strategies for coping with the incipient, climate-driven uninhabitability of the Earth, and it works beautifully. Read the rest

Ted Chiang: Elon Musk's fear of runaway AI is a projection of his repressed terror of runaway corporations

Why do billionaires like Elon Musk make terrified pronouncements about the imminent rise of self-aware, murderous AIs that use us to reproduce themselves, controlling us instead of serving us? Read the rest

Rogue One is a movie about internet freedom

Sarah Jeong is right (as usual): Rogue One is about internet freedom, a movie about the struggle to upload a large file under time-constraint in a post-Net-Neutrality dystopia where Dropbox is a distant memory and you can't just email a file to yourself for later reference. Read the rest

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (Now with Extra Monsters): At Least One Monster Per Paragraph! This Is Our Guarantee!

Both of my kids, several years apart, were assigned Frankenstein in high school. Both were excited to dig in, based only on what they knew of Shelley's creation from pop osmosis. It was a book about the most famous monster of all. No, not Godzilla. Frankenstein! But for a horror novel, it sure featured a lot of travel writing. Both kids were bored and disappointed and, I suspect, might not have finished the book. The first time this happened, I just sort of nodded and waved them off, muttering the kind of vaguely commiserative thing a dad says when he just wants to get back to playing his videogames. But the second time around, I resolved to do something about it....

A free sf anthology about space travel, inequality, equity and public policy: Kim Stanley Robinson, Madeline Ashby, Eileen Gun, Ramez Naam, Steven Barnes, Karl Schroeder and more!

Joey from ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination sez, "Today, we published Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities, a free digital collection of fiction and nonfiction about the near future of space exploration, with special attention to issues of public policy, equity, and economics/financing. The book was supported by a grant from NASA, and it features stories from Madeline Ashby, Steven Barnes, Eileen Gunn, Ramez Naam, Carter Scholz, Karl Schroeder, and Vandana Singh, plus an interview with Kim Stanley Robinson." Read the rest

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