An Alderson Disk is a science fiction megastructure imagined first by scientist Dan Alderson. It's a solid disk that is thousands of kilometers thick, with a circumference equal to the orbit of Mars or Jupiter. The habitable zone would be on both sides of the disk and would be millions of times the surface area of the Earth. Not much theoretical work has been done on its feasibility, but some have tried. Missile Gap, by MeFi's own Charles Stross, which won the Locus readers' award for best novella of 2006, features a 1960s Earth transposed to an Alderson disk and is available for free on the publisher's website.
Tor/Forge, the Science Fiction and Fantasy subsidiary of Macmillan, has announced that it is going DRM free on all of its ebooks. Mefi's own Charles Stross shares a presentation he recently made to executives at Macmillan that may have partially influenced this decision. Stross had previously predicted that publishers would need to go DRM free to prevent Amazon from gaining too much power in the ebook market.
"The subjects vary... but there is an ideological approach in America that is distinguished by one common characteristic: words and deeds utterly lacking in the quality of mercy," by Charles Stross. Or, in other words, is using a minotaur to gore detainees a form of torture?
Fantasy writer George R. R. Martin responds to fans impatient for the latest installment of his series A Song of Fire and Ice: "Okay, I've got the message. " [more inside]
"We are living in interesting times; in fact, they're so interesting that it is not currently possible to write near-future SF" – why Charles Stross might have to market his next novel as fantasy.
Why science fiction is hard. Inspired by reports of a creative new, Rube-Goldberg spamming technique in World of Warcraft, MetaFilter's own Charlie Stross imagines trying to explain gold farming to someone from 1977. (Previously: 1, 2, 3)
Charlie Stross releases his new book Accelerando as a Creative Commons e-book, thereby buying in to the open source idea that offering up one's intellectual property (under certain circumstances) will result in greater sales of the physical object, not fewer (see: Cory Doctorow). In a time where promotional opportunities for new and "mid-list" authors seem to be continually shrinking, is offering up a complete work the current equivalent of the author interview or newspaper puff piece? Or is it simply a recognition that here in the 21st century anything can be pirated -- better to offer up your work in good will (and in a form where you have some control), and hope some of the kids will realize that behind the free content is a guy who needs to eat? And what happens if/when all books become digital books?