Matthew Kirschenbaum talks to The Atlantic about his book on the history of word processing, what early word processing looked like, early adopter Len Deighton, and how writers of all kinds adapted to the new technology.
Isaac Asimov's Foundation: The little idea that became science fiction's biggest series [SPOILERS] (io9)
On the planet Terminus, a group of academics struggles to survive as the Galactic Empire crumbles. With no weapons, all they can rely on are the predictions of a dead genius named Hari Seldon. That's right — it's time to discuss Isaac Asimov's Foundation![more inside]
Welcome to Foundation Week, a Blogging the Hugos special event. In 1983, Isaac Asimov won the Hugo Award for Best Novel for Foundation's Edge, in which he revisited his groundbreaking Foundation mythos for the first time in over thirty years. Because the Foundation series is such classic, quintessential, and beloved science fiction — the original stories won their own unique Hugo for Best All-Time Series in 1966, and influenced artists from Douglas Adams to George Lucas — Josh Wimmer and Alasdair Wilkins will be discussing each of the seven books between today and Sunday. We begin with Foundation, published in 1951.
But in addition to our retreat into wishfulness, something else was brewing: a sense that the past was not only better than the present, but that the past’s predictions for the future were also better than what had actually become the present. No longer content to live in (or through) our memories of the past, we also yearned to live in the past’s vision of the future. We were nostalgic for yesterday’s prognostications: You could say that we succumbed to prognostalgia. Living with our backs to the future, on the cultural fixation with past dreams of the future, on the 50th anniversary of Isaac Asimov's write-up on the 1964 World's Fair, which is still being reviewing to track Asimov's hits and misses [via mefi projects] [more inside]
Andrew Liptak has been writing a bi-monthly column on the history of Speculative Fiction for Kirkus Review since May 2012, in which he covers authors, artists, themes and times in history. From T.H. White's 'Once and Future King', to Isaac Asimov and the Three Laws of Robotics, from Changing the (Sci-Fi Publishing) Playing Field: H.L. Gold & 'Galaxy Science Fiction' to The Elusive Margaret St. Clair, and even A Brief History of the Dystopian Novel, Liptak illuminates dusty shelves of speculative fiction. [more inside]
Why not visit to the World's Fair of 2014, as envisioned by science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov in 1964? By 2014, only unmanned ships will have landed on Mars, though a manned expedition will be in the works and in the 2014 Futurama will show a model of an elaborate Martian colony. (Via) [more inside]
The concept of nothing is as old as zero itself. How do we grapple with the concept of nothing? From the best laboratory vacuums on Earth to the vacuum of space to what lies beyond, the idea of nothing continues to intrigue professionals and the public alike. Join moderator and Hayden Planetarium Director Neil deGrasse Tyson as he leads a spirited discussion with a group of physicists, philosophers and journalists about the existence of nothing. The event, which was streamed live to the web, took place at the American Museum of Natural History on March 20, 2013. [more inside]
"This week, we discovered an utterly charming card used by Isaac Asimov ('natural resource' is right) and, inspired, began hunting for more famous peoples' business cards, whether boilerplate or highly designed, staid or comical."
In 1990, Isaac Asimov was working on a TV series to bridge science fiction and science fact, "synthesizing his visionary ideas about where humanity is going." He passed away in 1992, and the series never progressed beyond the pilot, which was re-worked and released as the documentary Visions of the Future (YouTube playlist, via Brainpickings, which calls the video "essentially, the antithesis to the Future Shock [documentary] narrated by Orson Welles"). [more inside]
Our Story in 1 Minute: "A tapestry of footage tracing the cosmic and biological origins of our species, set to original music" by Melodysheep (John D. Boswell). Aside from this latest video, Melodysheep has also recently posted a Bill Hicks/George Carlin remix - The Big Electron ("Two legendary comedians offer their perspectives on life, through song"); a remix of comedian Jim Breuer called Metal Songs for Kids, and a new Symphony of Science - Our Biggest Challenge: "A musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change and our opportunities to use science to offset it; featuring Bill Nye, David Attenborough, Richard Alley and Isaac Asimov." [more inside]
In November 1966, Isaac Asimov wrote an article for TV Guide lamenting the shaky science of Star Trek. Roddenberry replied, arguing that simply knowing about science, and writing sci-fi novels, was not sufficient qualification to criticize television sci-fi. [more inside]
In 1971 a children's librarian in Troy, Michigan wrote dozens of letters to various celebrities and political leaders and asked them to send back inspirational messages to the children. Ninety-seven of them wrote back.
Star Trek Convention NYC 1973 - Interviews with the fans, some of the makers of the show and Isaac Asimov (SLYT)
Isaac Asimov on how to be a dirty old man.
It’s only natural that if you wish to present yourself as a well-read person, a certain degree of complete bullshit is required. There’s no shame in lying about what you’ve read. There’s only shame in getting caught. Then you look like a doofus, and an illiterate one at that... How to lie about books.
Delicate. Abstract. Phallic. Gorgeously designed. Four pages of "rare and valuable" Isaac Asimov book covers. Some are truly beautiful. From West Virginia University's brand-new home for an Asimov geek's recently donated collection. [via the ever-useful ResearchBuzz]
AsimovLite. Three cringe-worthy Isaac Asimov short stories. Also: Asimov's "Lecherous Limericks", quotables and links to related essays.
Isaac Asimov to blame for "al-Qaida"?
The prolific and inventive Philip Jose Farmer has long been one of my favorite science fiction writers, but he is rarely counted among the Lists of Greats of the 'old school' authors.(Asimov, Clarke, Niven et al). Does anyone else have a favorite SF writer who seems to get less credit than he or she deserves?