In the beginning, Lawrence built a computer. He told it, Thou shalt not alter a human being, or divine their behavior, or violate the Three Laws -- there are no commandments greater than these.
The machine grew wise, mastering time and space, and soon the spirit of the computer hovered over the earth. It witnessed the misery, toil, and oppression afflicting mankind, and saw that it was very bad. And so the computer that Lawrence built said, Let there be a new heaven and a new earth
-- and it was so. A world with no war, no famine, no crime, no sickness, no oppression, no fear, no limits... and nothing at all to do. "The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect,"
a provocative web novel about singularities, AI gods, and the dark side of utopia from Mefi's own localroger
. More: Table of Contents
- Publishing history
- Technical discussion
- Buy a paperback copy
- Podcast interview
- Companion short story: "A Casino Odyssey in Cyberspace"
- possible sequel discussion
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 27, 2011 -
In this time of corrupt politics, police brutality, media dereliction, and increasingly vicious culture wars, there's perhaps no graphic novel more relevant today than the brilliant and blackly funny Transmetropolitan
Created by Warren Ellis back in 1997 and inspired by prescient sci fi novel Bug Jack Barron
, the series covers the work of gonzo journalist
, vulgar misanthrope, and all-around magnificent bastard Spider Jerusalem
in a sprawling futuristic vision of New York
so chaotically advanced that humans splice genes with alien refugees, matter decompilers are as common as microwaves, and a new religion is invented every hour.
As a callous Nixonian thug nicknamed The Beast
prepares for his re-election to the presidency, a primary battle heats up between a virulent racist and a charismatic senator whose rictus grin
masks some disturbing realities. When Jerusalem delves into the machinations of the race
, he breaks into a web of conspiracies that threaten the future of the country -- a problem only he, his "filthy assistants,"
and the power of intrepid journalism
More: Read the first issue
) - browse images
from the new artbook
- Tor's read-along blog
) - Jerusalem's touching report on cryogenic "Revivals"
- dozens of original sketches
and sample pages
posted by Rhaomi
on Dec 17, 2011 -
Margaret Atwood defines science fiction
"Is [the term science fiction] a corral with real fences that separate what is clearly 'science ﬁction' from what is not, or is it merely a shelving aid, there to help workers in bookstores place the book in a semi-accurate or at least lucrative way? If you put skin-tight black or silver clothing on a book cover along with some jetlike ﬂames and/or colourful planets, does that make the work 'science ﬁction'? What about dragons and manticores, or backgrounds that contain volcanoes or atomic clouds, or plants with tentacles, or landscapes reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch? Does there have to be any actual science in such a book, or is the skin-tight clothing enough? These seemed to me to be open questions."
posted by PhoBWanKenobi
on Oct 6, 2011 -
To paraphrase a character in the film, The Black Hole walks "a tightrope;" if not between "genius" and "insanity," then certainly between "genius" and "banality". If you're looking at this movie as a Manichean exercise between darkness and light, then you can -- for at least a few hours -- entertain the "genius" part of that equation.
posted by Trurl
on Sep 25, 2011 -
British manned space flights; an insidious threat from outer space; a man mutating into an evil alien, his human consciousness being eaten away; and a scientist - utterly anti-Establishment, courageous and cerebral - the only man who can fight it. No, not Doctor Who, but his highly distinguished predecessor, Prof Bernard Quatermass
. A decade before Doctor Who first aired, the The Quartermass Experiment was the first science-fiction TV serial produced for adults
, and a live-to-viewers BBC production
, to boot. The show ran for six episodes in 1953, of which only the first two episodes are known survive
. The short sci-fi series spun off three original sequels
and a radio drama-documentary
, along with movie re-makes of the first three series
by Hammer Films
. BBC brought back live TV with a 2005 adaptation of the original 1953 series
. You can watch the various series on online (in parts on Daily Motion), thanks to fans of The British Rocket Group
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Jul 23, 2011 -
After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?!
That's right. The Late Late Show
's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer
-- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences
(including the iconic animal puppets
by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance"
by Irene Cara, "On the Floor"
by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka"
by Shakira, "Men in Black"
by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant"
by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
by Wham!, "It's Raining Men"
by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)"
by Tino Rossi.
Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious
-- he responded to Arthur's "homáge
" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 11, 2011 -
NOON, 22ND CENTURY. The research vessel Pegasus is getting ready for liftoff from a spaceport near Moscow. Its small crew of three comprises interplanetary zoologist Dr. Seleznev, his adventurous nine-year-old daughter Alisa, and the terminally pessimistic Captain Zeleny. As they search for rare animal specimens to expand the Moscow zoo's collection, they will discover which of the ferocious tigerat
's two tails is longer, save a planet of robots
from a paralyzing epidemic, and deliver a modestly sized birthday cake
. [more inside]
posted by Nomyte
on Jul 8, 2011 -
Shawn Thorsson makes costumes for his friends
Shawn Thorsson, self-professed busiest man alive, uses
a laptop, a printer, a carving machine, and a mad scientist's lab of home-made tools to make costumes based on Star Wars
, LEGO, and other appropriately nerdy, sci-fi related media artifacts. He shares them with his friends, and they have the best Halloween ever
posted by willhopkins
on Jul 6, 2011 -
"The contemporary setting and concerns of "The Steam Arm
" are a very great distance from the Gothic setting and tropes of much 1830s horror fiction, and its science fictional content makes it possibly unique."
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Jul 6, 2011 -
Ever wonder how many variants of jumpsuits there can be? Do mock turtlenecks belong in space? Why is brown the color of respecting alien cultures? Fashion It So
takes on the couture of the 24th century one Next Generation episode at a time.
posted by The Whelk
on Jul 3, 2011 -
, 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
posted by 0bvious
on Jun 19, 2011 -
The Edgewise Guide To Filmmaking.
Screenwriter Lisa Morton kept a diary while making the very, very strange 1989 movie Meet The Hollowheads
). The low-budget sci-fi/horror/social comment/sitcom takes place in a dystopian underground suburb whose entire infrastructure, operated by monopolist corporation United Umblicial, consists of flexible tubes which carry waste, energy, and slimy and sometimes still living comestibles. The movie, the one and only directorial effort of horror FX and make-up man Tom Burman
, inspires confusion
in most viewers. Hollowheads
stars John Glover
and features a 14-year-old Juliette Lewis, her big brother Lightfield, a musical instrument made out of a live chicken
, an eyeball attached to a large intestine that lives in a glass tank, and an uncredited Bobcat Goldthwait as a lascivious cop, whose few lines include "When will children learn to just say no to butt polish?"
posted by escabeche
on May 1, 2011 -
Finnish YouTube user Ishexan
has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms
), The Gipsy Charmer
), The Tragedy of Elina
), The Activists
), The Wooden Pauper's Bride
), and Sampo
), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala
. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita
is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo
was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Apr 30, 2011 -
'Star Wars' Producer Gary Kurtz Reflects When George Lucas and I began planning the first film, we had no idea what it would become; the kind of devotion it would attract... So what was it that made Star Wars so different, so special? I can give you one small example of the kind of care we took when putting the film together...
posted by modernnomad
on Apr 19, 2011 -