You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts
is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials
, heartbreaking eulogies
, and agonizing run-ins with fascists
) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting
science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed
2006 novel Blindsight [full text]
-- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room
, the Philosophical Zombie
, Chernoff faces
, and the myriad quirks and blind spots
that haunt the human mind.
's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew
, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism
), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section
, tomorrow will see the release of
Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website]
, the long-delayed
"sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
The Forces Of The Next 30 Years - SF author and Mefi's Own
Charles Stross talks to students at Olin College about sci-fi, fiction, speculation, the limits of computation, thermodynamics, Moore's Law, the history of travel, employment, automation, free trade, demographics, the developing world, privacy, and climate change in trying to answer the question What Does The World Of 2043 Look Like?
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]
John Wyndham: The Invisible Man of Science Fiction
) - documentary about the British science fiction writer best known for The Day Of The Triffids
Think you get a lot done?
Isaac Asimov (pronounced like "has, him, of" without the h's
) , who would have turned 87 today, wrote or edited over 500 books
, including science-fiction novels
, introductions to organic chemistry
(a field in which he held a professorship at B.U.) , indispensable anthologies
of early science fiction, jokebooks
, guides to Shakespeare
, and collections of lively essays on science
that have introduced thousands of people to the pleasures of thinking hard about the universe. He also found the time to write a few essays
and write postcards to his fans.
His story "Runaround"
, from his 1950 collection I, Robot
, is the only piece of fiction I know centered on the properties of a differential equation. His Foundation Trilogy
was given a special Hugo award
in 1966 as the best science fiction series of all time; a movie version
, to be written by Jeff Vintar and directed by Shekhar Kapur, is currently in development. Previous AsimovFilter: here
Feel like a slacker yet? Stop reading MetaFilter and get to work!
The first Transhuman Conference On the Law of Transhuman Persons:
Whether or not you believe humans are set to evolve into gods, or AI is destined to achieve self-awareness
the idea of the Transhuman
is a thought provoking concept. Philosophers have debated the nature of the self
, of the human for millennia. Is it time to start drafting new laws to govern all
possible sentient beings on this planet? or is it all just a science
? a comfortable humanist illusion
' "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!