Waterdrop "Waterdrop" is a science fiction film about the second kind of close encounter with aliens. It is a tribute to the critically acclaimed Chinese science fiction novel "The Dark Forest"
Want a frozen pint of ice cream from your favorite artisanal creamery delivered by helicopter to your suite at the Burj Dubai at 11PM tonight? San Francisco startup Magic claims that they will arrange any request for $100 per hour, plus expenses.
Sci-Fi Author (and Metafilter's own) Charlie Stross has an interesting thought experiment: Could you get to a technological society without the use of writing? And if so, what would that look like?
Where to Find the Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Short Fiction Recommendations Online. As Hugo Nomination season approaches, everyone needs some help sifting through the huge volume of short fiction (novellas, novelettes, and short stories). Tor.com published a post about where to find the best online recommendations. It's worth a look.
Martin L. Shoemaker's "Today I Am Paul" and Rich Larson's "Meshed" explore the emotional impact of technological developments within relatively familiar futures, and Caroline M. Yoachim's "Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World" draws on a wide variety of SF motifs to make the future a strange and sometimes poignant allegory for wonders of the past. Each story has been selected for an upcoming year's best SF anthology—either Rich Horton's or Neil Clarke's—and two received mention earlier this year from the unverified @gardnerdozois.
These photos are why I'm trapped in Tokyo forever now is an animated photo essay about ... some kind of Tokyo.
Heather Lindsley's "Werewolf Loves Mermaid," Sunil Patel's "The Merger," and Emil Ostrovski's "Tragic Business" develop humorous situations from SF/F motifs: cryptid romance, intergalactic business negotiations, and the cycle of death and rebirth, respectively. Lincoln Michel's "Dark Air" combines common weird fiction / horror situations with a very dry, very dark sense of humor. Naomi Kritzer's "So Much Cooking" is a serious SF story about a grave possibility, but it brings the matter home via a witty parody of a cooking blog.
Blue Monday - a sci-fi short story by Laurie Penny for Motherboard all about cats, Internet videos, and emotional contagions.
After teasing for hours on the official BBC Doctor Who twitter feed about #bigdoctorwhonews leading to a fever pitch of speculation re potential mega famous guests stars, new companion(s) or the recovery of lost episodes... it was finally announced that there will be a new spin-off YA series Class written by Patrick Ness centered around Coal Hill School in London
Sofia Samatar's "Skin Feeling" evokes "What it is to be encountered as a surface, to be constantly exposed as something you are not." Samatar is an English professor, an SFF writer, and a person of color engaged in diversity work on her campus, and among other things, her essay reflects on multiple incidents of indecent exposure, Charlie Parker's "Relaxin' at Camarillo" and the university housed in what was once the largest mental hospital in the world, the book On Being Included, and being made a symbol of diversity (a topic that fellow SFF writer Kate Elliott recently addressed as well). [Samatar link via Savage Minds and Elliott link via N. K. Jemisin.]
Reclaiming the Nerdiverse [NSFW audio] is a fascinating hour-long discussion about women in science fiction and fantasy on the late night edition of the venerable BBC radio show Woman's Hour (podcast link). The host is Lauren Laverne, and her guests are author and game designer Naomi Alderman, journalist Helen Lewis, sociologist Linda Woodhead, fantasy novelist Zen Cho, and cosplayer and writer Lucy Saxon. The discussion takes in everything from 70s feminist writers to alpha/beta/omega slash fiction to cosplay etiquette to geek sexism. The Late Night Woman's Hour has been the topic of some discussion in Britain.
"Like all cultural works, SF is situated in a political and economic context. In ours, people are noticing that whatever carrot of prosperity capitalism seems to offer, the stick is all they ever get. SF’s heightened focus on inequality is a sign that the ideological basis of our current social order may be undergoing a significant shift." From Jacobin: "Unequal Universes."
Riders arrived at every stop sign in a single file, coming to a complete stop and filing through the intersection only once they were given the right-of-way. The law-abiding act of civil disobedience snarled traffic almost immediately. "The thing you say you want — every cyclist to stop at every stop sign — you really don't want that" [more inside]
"I’ve been infected by a parasite. I won’t tell you what because I don’t want you to search for it. By the time this reaches you it won’t matter much, anyway. In fact, I’m forbidding you right now from looking for anything or asking anyone. Apparently I have about twelve hours as myself. They won’t say what happens next, because it’s kind of unpredictable. There are lots of animals who’ve had it, but only two people. They won’t tell me." -- The Glad Hosts, a SF short story by Rebecca Campbell
Science Fiction grandmaster Samuel R. Delaney interviewed by SF Signal, with a very long answer in part 2, and by The New Yorker where he talks about race, recent Hugo controversies being nothing new, and the past and future of science fiction.
Teleotheism and the Purpose of Life - "Please give this sermon a try. I think it has much in it that will be of interest to a wide range of readers: philosophy, cosmology, evolutionary theory, and science fiction, as well as theology. And nothing in it depends on believing in God at all." Abstract: As an enlightened form of atheism, I turn to teleotheism. Teleotheism is the view that God comes at the end, not at the beginning, where I am defining “God” as “the greatest of all things that can come true.” In this view, the quest to discover what are the greatest things that are possible is of the utmost importance. The best of our religious heritage is just such an effort to discover the greatest things that are possible. (via; previously)
"It’s very nice to have my story go out there, and if it’s in a different form, I want the thing to mutate slightly." Neil Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro discuss genre, escapism, copyright and how stories expand over time at The New Statesman. (via io9)
Are you a central San Francisco resident who is too busy to get your trash out to the curb on time once a week? Well your worries are over with TrashDay. Heck, maybe you're too busy for everything. No time to feed yourself because you need to lock down that seed round term sheet with your AngelList syndicate? Here Comes The Airplane.
Predator: Dark Ages Templar Knights are put to the ultimate challenge, to hunt The Predator. Testing not only their skills as fighters but also their faith. Kickstarter funded fan film. IMDB. Facebook page.
Some Paths to the True Knowledge[*] - "Attention conservation notice: A 5000+ word attempt to provide real ancestors and support for an imaginary ideology I don't actually accept, drawing on fields in which I am in no way an expert. Contains long quotations from even-longer-dead writers, reckless extrapolation from arcane scientific theories, and an unwarranted tone of patiently explaining harsh, basic truths. Altogether, academic in one of the worst senses. Also, spoilers for several of MacLeod's novels, notably but not just The Cassini Division. Written for, and cross-posted to, Crooked Timber's seminar on MacLeod, where I will not be reading the comments."
"Unconventional Advice for the Discerning Reader" by Sophie Wereley and "The Practical Witch's Guide to Acquiring Real Estate" by A. C. Wise are recent fantasy short stories that offer handy tips from similar perspectives. "Pockets" by Amal El-Mohtar and "The Apartment Dweller's Bestiary" by Kij Johnson (who adds one beast in a comment) are recent stories that blend strangeness into everyday life with poignant results. All via @SpiralGalaxy and @SFFMicroReviews. [more inside]
Many American, Canadian, and British military veterans opposed to the actions of ISIS in Iraq have been, individually, going over to fight with the Kurdish Peshmerga for some time now, bringing thousands of dollars of military gear and irreplaceable training. There have been so many of them fighting that the Peshmerga are now actively recruiting military veterans online. Not to be internet-outdone, military veterans have begun investigating forming units of their own to fight ISIS -including notable and controversial science-fiction author John Ringo, who suggested trying to crowdfund for 'a brigade of soldiers'. [more inside]
Every April for the past several years, Fantasy Cafe has published a series of guest posts for Women in Science Fiction & Fantasy Month. This year, the article that generated the most discussion was "'I am ... ?': Representation of Mature Women in Fantasy" by Mieneke from A Fantastical Librarian, who asked, "So where are the older women in fantasy? Mature women who are the hero of their own story?" The many other guest posts this year offered an interesting range of questions, observations, and reflections--often by well-known names in the field. [more inside]
Other Space: A sci-fi workplace comedy created by Paul Feig. Featuring Milana Vayntraub (a.k.a. the lady from the AT&T ad), Karan Soni (a.k.a. the dude from the AT&T ad), and Joel Hodgson and Trace Beaulieu from MST3K.
Over a mere 22 episodes between 1994 and 1995, a rag tag group of adventurers, thrown together by a shadowy government conspiracy explored a strange new world, ruled by an underground government and populated with strange new creatures. [more inside]
The 2015 Hugo Nominees have been announced. Notably, authors from Brad R. Torgensen's "Sad Puppies" slate have successfully secured all of the nominations for both the Novella and Novellette categories, a result which is bound to cause significant discussion.
Sundays is a beautiful science fiction short film by Dutch director Mischa Rozema of PostPanic Pictures for roughly $50000. The film was also intended to be a concept pitch for a feature, and it worked as intended, sparking a bidding war between Hollywood studios.
Never Give Up, Never Surrender: Cosplay After 40
My name is Phaedra Cook, I am 46 years old and I’m a cosplayer. That sounds like some kind of intro to a confession at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, doesn’t it? There are certain types of people who would like me to have a sense of shame about my hobby, but that’s not going to happen.[more inside]
Locus Magazine has published its 2014 Recommended Reading List. BestSF.net has given its Best SF Short Story Award for 2014. Tables of contents have been announced for The Year's Best Science Fiction, Thirty-Second Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois, Year's Best Weird Fiction, Volume Two edited by Kathe Koja and Michael Kelly, and The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Nine edited by Jonathan Strahan. And several writers have called out their favorite stories of the year too, e.g. Ken Liu, Carmen Maria Machado and Sofia Samatar, Usman Malik, and Fran Wilde, Michael R. Underwood, Tina Connolly, and Beth Cato. Quite a few of these short fiction selections from 2014 have been published online in full. [more inside]
Worldcon is the "world science fiction convention." It's been around in one way or another since 1939 and is typically hosted at a different existing convention every year. (The Hugo awards are voted on by Worldcon members.) Last year it was in London; this year in Spokane. To get the event hosted at your convention, there is an elaborate bidding process. There is a long tradition of hoax con bids (which sometimes take on a life of their own, as in this Westercon story). The latest in the tradition: Nightvale Worldcon. If you have further questions regarding the bid, please contact the Help Desk with your bloodstone. [more inside]
Yes, yes—We live in the Gibsonian tomorrow, the grim meathook future, the ever-weirder cyberpunk dystopia. But it won't be that way forever. Well, it might get weirder. But good-weird. To that end, the latest anthology from The Sockdolager, You Gotta Wear Shades, contains an astonishing seven tales of brighter futures. Because we happen to think things are in fact gonna get better.[more inside]
Tor.com presents "As Good As New" a short story by Charlie Jane Anders about a girl, the apocalypse, and making sure those three wishes count.
The specialists began to use terms such as "quality of life" to describe all the things she was likely to be without. My husband, Michael, realized it was going to be nearly impossible to pry me away from her bedside. He asked what he could bring me from home: a change of clothes, sweater, food, or something to read? I asked him to bring me anything by Anne McCaffrey."Changes Without Notice" is one reader's personal essay about discovering a book at just the right moment. An afterword in Dragonwriter says a little more about how things turned out. [Via and previously.]
The long-term optimism comes from the the fact that no matter how bad things seem and how idiotically and cruelly we behave. . . well, we've got this far, despite it all, and there are more people on the planet than ever before, and more people living good, productive, relatively happy lives than ever before, and—providing we aren't terminally stupid, or unlucky enough to get clobbered by something we have no control over, like a big meteorite or a gamma ray buster or whatever—we'll solve a lot of problems just by sticking around and doing what we do; developing, progressing, improving, adapting. And possibly by inventing AIs that are smarter and more decent than we are, which will help us get some sort of perspective on ourselves, at the very least. We might just stumble our way blindly, unthinkingly into utopia, in other words, muddling through despite ourselves.In 2010 Jude Roberts interviewed Iain M. Banks for her PhD. Banks discusses his utopia, The Culture, which he created in a series of science fiction novels.
I try to do two things with my style. The first is to pay attention to how the words sound together ... The other thing is to juxtapose odd images.Sometimes ornate, sometimes economical, and always striking, Yoon Ha Lee's short fiction combines motifs from fantasy and science fiction with remarkable fruitfulness: "There are soldiers and scientists, space travel and dragons, leather-bound books, locked doors, and genocidal rampages. Each tale strains at the edges of possibility. No two of Lee's stories are alike, except for a similar pulse powering each word, each juxtaposition, each startling turn of events." Much of Lee's output is available online, including dozens of flash fiction fairy tales and two works of interactive fiction. [more inside]
It began with a letter to a friend with a request: would he be willing to place a note in his fanzine, Khatru, letting people know that the reason he had been out of touch was that his mother had passed away in Chicago. The request came in 1976 from James Tiptree Jr., one of the recent stars writing short fiction. He was elusive; nobody had met or spoken with him in the years that he'd been writing, and there was much speculation about his real identity. The request was the first step toward unveiling who exactly Tiptree was: a 61-year-old woman named Alice Sheldon.
io9 has come up with a surprisingly good list of 100 science-fiction-themed songs. The comments are actually pretty great, with a lot more songs. There's rap, heavy metal, folk, polka, you name it. Still missing: more coverage of songs in languages other than English. [more inside]
Sifting through decades of publications, oral history and archival records, Michael Kmet sets the record straight on numerous aspects Star Trek: TOS production history lore. Was "Spock's Brain" originally conceived as a comedy episode? Did Roddenberry write the lyrics to the theme song as a cash grab? Which of the Mercury Seven did Roddenberry try to get as guest stars? [more inside]