"Novels are no use at all in days like these,
for they deal with people and their relationships, with fathers and mothers and daughters or sons and lovers, etc., with souls, usually unhappy ones, and with society etc., as if the place for all these things were assured, the earth for all time earth, the sea level fixed for all time." [more inside]
In a not too distant future, societies of all countries come to rely on an intricate network of artificial intelligence devices designed to bring efficacy to man's life. Yet, man continues to devour himself in useless wars. A strong political hierarchy now divides all powers into three factions, and A.I. devices rapidly gain ground as efficiency becomes a priority.
As social revolts grow worse everyday, authorities seek ways to control their citizens. They decide to carry out a series of tests that will determine not only whether some crucial powers can be transferred to non human entities, but also whether man is ready to yield those powers.
The world has become a cell for all man and women, who withstand and endure their lives, rather than living them. Machines might have found a solution. From now on, you are set free. [more inside]
Our Science Fiction Movies Hate Science Fiction.
An intelligent discourse from The Awl
about the state of modern science fiction movies. [more inside]
"During his days as Harvard’s influential president, Dr. Charles W. Eliot made a frequent assertion: If you were to spend just 15 minutes a day reading the right books, a quantity that could fit on a five-foot shelf, you could give yourself a proper liberal education. Publisher P. F. Collier and Son
loved the idea and asked Eliot to compile and edit the right collection of works. The result: a 51-volume series of classic works from world literature published in 1909 called Dr. Eliot’s Five Foot Shelf
, which would later be called The Harvard Classics
." (Via) [more inside]
In 2005, the Discovery Channel aired Alien Worlds
, a fictional documentary based on Wayne Douglas Barlowe's graphic novel, Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV
." Depicting mankind's first robotic mission to an extrasolar planet that could support life, the show drew from NASA's Origins Program
, the NASA/JPL PlanetQuest Mission
, and ESA's Darwin Project
. It was primarily presented through CGI, but included interviews from a variety of NASA scientists and other experts, including Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, John Craig Venter and Jack Horner. Oh, and George Lucas, too. Official site
. Previously on MeFi. [more inside]
In 1973 and 1975, two one-hour television documentaries aired in the US: In Search of Ancient Astronauts
) and In Search of Ancient Mysteries
). The same producers also put out The Outer Space Connection
) in 1975. All were narrated by Twilight Zone's Rod Serling
. In 1976 a series was developed. Since Serling had passed away in 1975, popular actor Leonard Nimoy was chosen as host. In Search of...
ran for six seasons, from 1976 - 1982, and was devoted to discussing unusual mysteries and phenomena. All 144 episodes can be seen on YouTube. Playlists: Seasons 1 and 2
. Seasons 3 and 4
. Seasons 5 and 6
In 1984, The Voyage of the Mimi
set sail on PBS, exploring the ocean off the coast of Massachusetts to study humpback whales. The educational series was made up of thirteen episodes intended to teach middle schoolers about science and math. The first fifteen minutes of each episode were a fictional adventure starring a young Ben Affleck. The second 15 minutes were an "expedition documentary" that would explore the scientific concepts behind the show's plot points. A sequel with the same format, The Second Voyage of the Mimi
aired in 1988, and featured the crew of the Mimi exploring Mayan ruins in Mexico. [more inside]
Daily Science Fiction:
Original Science Fiction and Fantasy every weekday. Welcome to Daily Science Fiction, an online magazine of science fiction short stories. We publish "science fiction" in the broad sense of the word: This includes sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream—whatever you'd likely find in the science fiction section of your local bookstore. Our stories are mostly short short fiction each Monday through Thursday, hopefully the right length to read on a coffee break, over lunch, or as a bedtime tale. Friday's weekend stories are longer.
Carl Erik Rinsch‘s futuristic action thriller short The Gift
. Other movies by Big Lazy Robot
Studio. The Commercials of Carl Erik Rinsch
. Also: The Hunt of the Unicorn
"They may well do it." [The Guardian]
Sir Arthur C Clarke predicted in a lost BBC interview that the Russians would win the space race by landing the first man on the moon in 1968, probably on the 50th anniversary of the October Revolution. Arthur C Clarke on The Sky at Night – video.
Stanislaw Lem on Philip K. Dick: A Visionary Among the Charlatans.
(Science Fiction Studies # 5 = Volume 2, Part 1 = March 1975; Translated from the Polish by Robert Abernathy)
Science fiction always uses it in varying degrees. Some believe it will bring about a perfect Technological Utopia:Heaven on Earth. Some believe it will herald a dark and dystopian future. Perhaps it will elevate man to a being that is more than human; Human+ and permanently and irrevocably transform the human condition, and still others believe that too much involvement in it will void your existence. Some religions totally depend on it and others find it harder to deal with:
The list of emerging technologies.
, Stanislaw Lem's 1961 masterpiece, has finally been translated directly into English
. The current print version
, in circulation for over 4 decades, was the result of a double-translation
. Firstly from Polish to French, in 1966, by Jean-Michel Jasiensko. This version was then taken up by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox who hacked together an English version in 1970. Lem, himself a fluent English speaker
, was always scathing
of the double translation. Something he believed added to the universal misunderstanding of his greatest work. After the relsease of two film
versions of the story, and decades of speculation, a new direct English translation has been released
. Translated by American Professor Bill Johnston
'The Definitive Solaris
' is only available as an audiobook for the time being. Copyright issues, hampered by several, widely available
, editions of the poor English translation may mean it is some time yet before a definitive print edition makes it onto our bookshelves
AI War: The Big Boost has just been ...released? published?
Up today on FS&
(or "fsand") is the latest in The Continuing Time
series by Daniel Keys Moran
. The first book in this series, "Emerald Eyes," was published in 1988, and the last time new material in the series hit the stands it was in November of 1993, in the form of "The Last Dancer." So, it's been a while. [more inside]
OMNI was launched (PDF) by Kathy Keeton, long-time companion and later wife of Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione, who described the magazine in its first issue as "an original if not controversial mixture of science fact, fiction, fantasy and the paranormal". [more inside]
The Electric Grandmother
, Part 2
, Part 3
, Part 4
, Part 5
) was a made-for-TV movie from 1982, based on the short story "I Sing the Body Electric!" by Ray Bradbury.
It deals in mortality, grief, abandonment, artificial (emotional) intelligence, and other themes suitable for children. [more inside]
Caveman Science Fiction
. Me Go Too Far! Me Am Play Gods! [more inside]
SciFi Wire lists 68 science fiction sights
that can be found in the U.S. The sights include the "Ghostbusters headquarters," Captain Kirk's future birthplace, and Mothman museum.
Welcome to District 9.
Director Neill Blomkamp turns his sci-fi short "Alive in Joburg"
into a full-length feature film
- examining xenophobia
in an allegory of Apartheid
, set in a slum recalling District 6
of Cape Town
in South Africa.
Harlan Ellison tears up the debate and J. Michael Straczynski speaks up on the topic.
Oh, yeah there is also Herb Solow as well and his wife Yvonne (WTF) speaking on the subject "Science Fiction" over "SciFi". None of them saw SyFy coming back in 1997, that's for sure! (SLYT) [more inside]
- SLYT featuring Bob & Ray, somehow based on a concept from Kurt Vonnegut's Sirens of Titan
which refers to a region of the universe in which all conflicting opinions are simultaneously correct.
Published speculation first appeared in 1911
, although others point to 1945
for its first modern phrasing. It originally looked like a flashlight on Star Trek
. In Star Wars
, it walked, talked, and was fluent "in over six million forms of communication."
Many narratives have just abandoned the idea entirely
have been quite limited in scope, but now it appears that the first learning, dynamic universal translator
has finally arrived
. And its futuristic aesthetic has been relegated to fiction in favor of a much more familiar object
Sci Fi has a new name. Now it's SyFy
. The Sci Fi Channel is distancing itself from its geek demographic by rebranding its network. The former SyFy Portal website (a nerd news outlet) has been rebranded "Airlock Alpha"
after selling the name to an "undisclosed recipient".
The Invasion From Outer Space:
Steven Millhauser gives The New Yorker
a short, unsettling sci-fi story.
John Wyndham: The Invisible Man of Science Fiction
) - documentary about the British science fiction writer best known for The Day Of The Triffids
The British Ministry of Defence has been thinking about the future
, and 2037 looks like it'll be a doozy. Others have been thinking about it too, and they believe they'll be mainly hot, sweaty, dirty and confusing.
Of course, if you're the Canadian military, you get a science fiction author
to write your future for you.
We could wait for NASA to build that permanent moon base they keep promising. Or we could just turn our apartments on earth into our own moon bases
, space ships
, or spy pads
War in Spaaaaaaaacccccce!
A practical discussion of weapons that would work in space and orbital combat.
by Winchell Chung
. (I knew him for his game illustrations
before I ever knew about his starmaps.) The site contains lots of information about how to make 2D/3D starmaps from standard star tables
, a nice selection of pre-existing maps
and one of the best listings of 3D starmap software
Fill in the blanks, connect the dots.
We've had Star Trek special effects possibly redone
, we've had Battlestar Galactica "reimagined". Now the BBC is replacing a couple of lost episodes in a live series Doctor Who DVD with animated versions, to match the soundtracks, which weren't lost. Of course, we've seen some Flash based episodes
A talk given by Matt Webb on fictional futures
, and a whole lot besides. Just some text and some pictures, but he takes you on a most excellent brain adventure, from Italo Calvino
to a map of all the biochemical reactions on Earth
to Vannevar Bush’s machine, the Memex
with dozens of stops in between. One of my favorite parts -- and the coolest use of RSS I've ever seen -- is a tool to subscribe to your personal lightcone
' "Predictive programming
works by means of the propagation of the illusion of an infallibly accurate vision of how the world is going to look in the future". Through the circulation of science "fiction" literature, the ignorant masses are provided with semiotic intimations of coming events. Within such literary works are narrative paradigms that are politically and socially expedient to the power elite. Thus, when the future unfolds as planned, it assumes the paradigmatic character of the "fiction" that foretold it...........' The Illuminati
: an all encompassing conspiracy stranger than any fiction
Captain pInluH and Commander Khrell are stuck in Portland
, the sneaky Ferengi having sold them
a 'faulty temporal device.' Life is hard
on Earth, it seems. Did anyone get a set list
? No matter. It's my beleif that we will not see these warriors astride golf carts
. Look out, number 1: perhaps they are looking to pull a Titor on your burgeoning data empire!
AtariAge has a collection of scans of comics included with 1980's Atari console games.
We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges. When soldiers take their oath they are given a coin, an asimi stamped with the profile of the Autarch. Their acceptance of that coin is their acceptance of the special duties and burdens of military life--they are soldiers from that moment, though they may know nothing of the management of arms. I did not know that then, but it is a profound mistake to believe that we must know of such things to be influenced by them, and in fact to believe so is to believe in the most debased and superstitious kind of magic. The would-be sorcerer alone has faith in the efficacy of pure knowledge; rational people know that things act of themselves or not at all.Gene Wolfe
- Now step within Father Inire's mirrors....
A Few Words About Jack Vance. Gersen entered a hall with a floor of immaculate white glass tiles. On one hand was the display wall, characteristic of middle-class European homes; here hung a panel intricately inlaid with wood, bone and shell: Lenka workmanship from Nowhere, one of the Concourse planets; a set of perfume points from Pamfile; a rectangle of polished and perforated obsidian; and one of the so-called "supplication slabs"* from Lupus 23II.
* The nonhuman natives of Peninsula 4A, Lupus 23II, devote the greater part of their lives to the working of these slabs, which apparently have a religious significance. Twice each year, at the solstices, two hundred and twenty-four microscopically exact slabs are placed aboard a ceremonial barge, which is then allowed to drift out upon the ocean. The Lupus Salvage Company maintains a ship just over the horizon from peninsula 4A. As soon as the raft has drifted out of sight of land, it is recovered, the slabs are removed, exported and sold as objets d'art.
(Not for season ticket holders to The Short Attention Span Theater