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In the name of Defense.

In December 1974, New York Times reporter Seymour Hersh's front-page account (paywall) of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program documented their illegal domestic intelligence operations against the antiwar movement and other dissident groups in the United States. The article eventually prompted investigations by the Rockefeller Commission and the Church and Pike committees. "There have been other reports on the CIA's doping of civilians, but they have mostly dished about activities in New York City. Accounts of what actually occurred in San Francisco have been sparse and sporadic. But newly declassified CIA records, recent interviews, and a personal diary of [George H. White,] an operative at Stanford Special Collections shed more light on the breadth of the San Francisco operation." SF Weekly: "Operation Midnight Climax: How the CIA doped San Francisco citizens with LSD." MK-ULTRA: Previously on Metafilter. (Via)
posted by zarq on Mar 26, 2012 - 29 comments

Revenge Of The Fan Fic

One of the most popular stories on the Amazon Kindle marketplace is ...Wesley Crusher Slash Fic?. (i09)
posted by The Whelk on Mar 10, 2012 - 23 comments

In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.... and mega cities and future cops and cyborgs and deathgames and time-travelling dinosaur hunters and mutant bounty hunters and....

British sf tabletop miniature wargame Warhammer 40,000 is 25 years old today, British sf anthology comic 2000AD is 35 years old tomorrow [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 25, 2012 - 85 comments

Tobe Hooper's "Lifeforce"

... it’s no exaggeration to say that LIFEFORCE tosses everything in but the kitchen in an attempt to entertain you. Actually, scratch that, it tosses everything including the kitchen sink. By the time the movie is complete, you may have to watch it again just to verify that you actually saw what you just saw. The movie is a mess of enormous proportions which I absolutely loved.* (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Feb 6, 2012 - 59 comments

John Christopher [1922-2012]

Samuel Youd, who wrote under the name John Christopher, has passed away. [more inside]
posted by Chrysostom on Feb 6, 2012 - 53 comments

New masters

SF versions of famous artworks
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Feb 5, 2012 - 31 comments

The Star Pit

The Star Pit, a radio play by Samuel R. Delany, based on his short story. Notes on the production.
posted by Artw on Jan 10, 2012 - 8 comments

"We fall into genre wars, of literature versus science fiction, and I don't think it's a real war." - Lauren Beukes

The Guardian interviewed four science fiction authors on the theme of the current state of SF. These authors are, in order, Lauren Beukes, Michael Moorcock, Alistair Reynolds and Jeff Noon, the latter two being interviewed together. Opinion ranges from bullish to crotchety, with plenty of shades and nuances.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 8, 2012 - 41 comments

Deus Est Machina

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 - 39 comments

The Victorian Hugos

The Victorian Hugos: "Over the next several months, in open imitation of Jo Walton's splendid "Revisiting the Hugos" series at Tor.com, I'll be reviewing science fiction and fantasy works from 1885 to 1930 and deciding which novels and short works would have received the Hugo had a Worldcon been held that year and which novels and short works should have received the Hugo–often not the same thing." 1885 1886 1887 1888
posted by Lentrohamsanin on Dec 8, 2011 - 12 comments

49ers-least talked about comeback story?

The 49ers are back, but who's paying attention? Sitting on top of a weak NFC West, is the Niner's impressive rise going overlooked? [more inside]
posted by Carillon on Nov 15, 2011 - 77 comments

That which does not kill us makes us stronger

> comp.basilisk - Frequently Asked Questions :: Is it just an urban legend that the first basilisk destroyed its creator?
Almost everything about the incident at the Cambridge IV supercomputer facility where Berryman conducted his last experiments has been suppressed and classified as highly undesirable knowledge. It's generally believed that Berryman and most of the facility staff died. Subsequently, copies of basilisk B-1 leaked out. This image is famously known as the Parrot for its shape when blurred enough to allow safe viewing. B-1 remains the favorite choice of urban terrorists who use aerosols and stencils to spray basilisk images on walls by night. But others were at work on Berryman's speculations...
[more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 6, 2011 - 88 comments

“Why do we eat shrimp and crawfish but not their brethren on land?”

The San Francisco Street Food Festival is an annual Summer event in the Mission District that features around 60 different Bay Area vendors and is attended by tens of thousands of foodies. This year the usual mainstays were joined by Don Bugito, which served up insect-based dishes and billed itself as the first "PreHispanic Snackeria." When the food truck commences permanent operations this month, it may be the first eatery in the country devoted exclusively to preparations involving insects. But they're not the only entomophagy pioneers in San Francisco, where Bug Cuisine is Booming. So just how tasty are insects? (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 5, 2011 - 30 comments

Many Lives, Furnished in Middle-Period Moorcock

Intrigued by the trolley problem? Here is a link to the full text of Michael Moorcock's 1971 SF novel Breakfast in the Ruins. Moral conundrums at the end of every chapter for you. [more inside]
posted by infinitewindow on Oct 17, 2011 - 43 comments

It's alive!

The beta version of the SFE (The Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction) has just gone live (blog - What is a beta text? Some philosophy, Some history…)
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 10, 2011 - 22 comments

The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.

The Flat Streets of San Francisco Photographs by Dan Ng.
posted by grouse on Oct 10, 2011 - 36 comments

Deja Vu

EVERYTHING IS A REMIX tackles the truly numerous amount of references, call-backs, remixes, quotations, scene mimics, and inspiration parallels found in The Matrix (via) [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Oct 6, 2011 - 65 comments

Walt Disney's "The Black Hole"

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 - 106 comments

The President will be addressed as Your Brilliance or Your Luminosity.

Section 1. In the event of the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, the surviving members of the CUSFS shall be formed into a clan, henceforth referred to as 'the Clan.' The surviving members of the Board will reconvene under the new name of The Elders Who Remember The Time Before It Changed, henceforth referred to as 'the Elders.'
The Columbia University Science Fiction Society's Constitution and Bylaws. [more inside]
posted by pts on Sep 15, 2011 - 26 comments

Logan's Run

Logan's Run is a 1976 science fiction film... It depicts a dystopian future society in which population and the consumption of resources are managed and maintained in equilibrium by the simple expediency of killing everyone who reaches the age of thirty, preventing overpopulation. (related 2004 post worth clicking through for) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Sep 3, 2011 - 121 comments

Brave New Beige

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 - 32 comments

Traveller

Traveller is a series of related science fiction role-playing games, the first published in 1977 by Game Designers' Workshop and subsequent editions by various companies remaining in print to this day. (previously)
posted by Trurl on Jun 29, 2011 - 86 comments

Computational Theology

Author and Mefi's Own Charles Stross presents Three Arguments Against The Singularity
posted by The Whelk on Jun 24, 2011 - 188 comments

Support Telepath Local 153

The Washington Post asks: Can Mutants And Humans Really Co-Exist? Metafilter's own Mightygodking responds.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 10, 2011 - 80 comments

“—to remind us of the values we've lost, and of those that we've allowed ourselves to relinquish.”

Abigail Nussbaum, senior reviews editor for Strange Horizons, has written a series of personal blog posts on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. [more inside]
posted by kipmanley on Jun 8, 2011 - 87 comments

Rocky Star

Rocky Star was a 1990s Australian TV show that had actors lip-syncing along with a 1950s Flash Gordon-esque radio play. Mostly forgotten by absolutely everyone, two of the twenty episodes have recently turned up on youtube.
posted by dng on Jun 4, 2011 - 19 comments

Out Of This World

Out Of This World: Science Fiction But Not As You Know It is an exhibition at the British Library exploring the origins of Science Fiction, running until September. China Mieville takes a look at the exhibition for the BBC. (Out Of This World postcards - images from the exhibition) [more inside]
posted by dng on May 27, 2011 - 13 comments

The Map Of Science Fiction

The History Of Science Fiction: a submission for the 7th iteration of the Places & Spaces: Mapping Science Exhibit.
posted by ninebelow on Mar 9, 2011 - 26 comments

Recording the Star Wars Saga

Recording the Star Wars Saga (1 MB PDF) [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Mar 5, 2011 - 27 comments

Hip hop EP inspired by film Moon

Selene is a hip hop EP inspired by Duncan Jones' fine science fiction film Moon. The beats, which heavily sample Clint Mansell's score for the movie, were created by Max Tannone, best known for mashup album Jaydiohead, Doublecheck Your Head and Mos Dub/Dub Kweli. The MC is Brooklyn rapper Richard Rich.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 23, 2011 - 21 comments

Starship Schematics Database

Starship Schematics Database: dedicated to the sole purpose of archiving every single starship design ever conceived in the Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, and Space Battleship Yamato (A.K.A. Star Blazers in the USA) Universes, both official and unofficial, interesting and mediocre.
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 12, 2011 - 35 comments

What science fiction thinks of science

Six or seven stances science fiction movies take towards science. From John Holbo at Crooked Timber. [more inside]
posted by escabeche on Jan 26, 2011 - 50 comments

This isn't your grandfather's science fiction

Ted Chiang is perhaps the finest author in contemporary science fiction -- and the most rarefied. A technical writer by trade and a graduate of the distinguished Clarion Writers Workshop, Chiang has published only twelve short stories in the last twenty years, one dozen masterpieces of the genre whose insightful, precise, often poetic language confronts fundamental ideas -- intelligence, consciousness, the nature of God -- and thrusts them into a dazzling new light. Click inside for a complete listing of Chiang's work, with links to online reprints or audio recordings where available, as well as a collection of one-on-one interviews, links to his nonfiction essays, and a few other related sites and articles. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 27, 2010 - 116 comments

OMNI Magazine

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]
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 20, 2010 - 64 comments

Brains for the Baby Jesus

From 2005, a short film version of Rogue Farm by Metafilter's Own Charlie Stross. Not had your fill of biotech horror in the Highlands? Listen to an ensemble cast perform the whole thing at Balticon, or indeed, read the original story.
posted by Happy Dave on Oct 1, 2010 - 7 comments

"Anyone who shoots a real gun at you when drunk and angry is simply not husband material, regardless of his taste in literature."

Some lives of James Tiptree Jr./Alice Sheldon/Racoona Sheldon (somewhat previously). [more inside]
posted by enn on Sep 14, 2010 - 44 comments

Yes, but how is Hermione in the ring?

Inspired by the cage matches between popular characters over at Suvudu, Random House's SF/fantasy blog, Heather Zundel and friends have started a YA Fantasy version. At least 3 of the characters' authors are involved in the fight write-ups, although one author reacted differently. All I know is that I have a lot of books to check out.
posted by booksherpa on Aug 11, 2010 - 17 comments

13 Beers in 13 Miles

“Several of you told me that I was “going to die” if I drank 13 beers while running the San Francisco Half Marathon. I did not die. I puked three times, blacked out for miles 11 and 12, and needed five hours to finish. This is my story.”
posted by sveskemus on Aug 3, 2010 - 64 comments

John Gray on science fiction

War of the words - Science fiction was once driven by a faith in human ability to change the world. These days, the genre seeks to expose the illusions of everyday life. cf. near-future science fiction [1,2] & radical presentism [3] (via mr)
posted by kliuless on Jul 17, 2010 - 56 comments

ToDAY third MAY twenty-TEN come aGAIN

"For toDAY third of MAY twenty-TEN ManhatTEN reports mild spring-type weather under the Fuller Dome. Ditto on the General Technics Plaza. But Shalmaneser is a Micryogenic (R) computer bathed in liquid helium and it's cold in his vault." [more inside]
posted by shii on May 2, 2010 - 32 comments

Why Novels are a Weird Technology and Constructed Realities

Chronic Citizen: Erik Davis interviews Jonathan Lethem on Phillip K. Dick. (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 15, 2010 - 11 comments

Back to the Hugos

Back to the Hugos is a series by Sam Jordison of the Guardian Books blog where he reads and reviews old Hugo Award winners. He was once skeptical of the literary quality of science fiction but then started to examine the validity of the critical orthodoxy and is now a firm convert, as this review of The Man in the High Casle demonstrates, and now even goes to science fiction events. Among the other books he's covered so far are A Case of Conscience by James Blish, Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner and the latest review is of The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin. It's not all sunshine and roses though, The Big Time and The Wanderer by Fritz Leiber don't appeal to him and the dreadfulness of They'd Rather Be Right by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley makes Jordison doubt the value of democracy, at least when it comes to selecting litearary award winners.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 29, 2010 - 40 comments

The Great West Coast Newspaper War

The alt-weekly newspaper war in San Francisco - The titanic struggle between The Bay Guardian and SF Weekly (owned by Village Voice Media), as told by Eli Sanders of Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger.
posted by Artw on Mar 20, 2010 - 23 comments

San Francisco History buried deep within Office Depot

Where is home plate from Seals Stadium now? (Aisle 6.)
posted by serazin on Feb 10, 2010 - 21 comments

May the Holy Flow Unite Us

SF classic series Gaean Trilogy anatomy visualized, art collected, partly mapped (more here) and more.
posted by DU on Feb 9, 2010 - 18 comments

Georges Méliès, the Cinemagician

He invented or popularized a startling array of the fundamental elements of film: the dissolve, the fade-in and fade-out, slow motion, fast motion, stop motion, double exposures and multiple exposures, miniatures, the in-camera matte, time-lapse photography, color film (albeit hand-painted), artificial film lighting, production sketches and storyboards, and the whole idea of narrative film.
By 1897, in a studio of his own design and construction – the first complete movie studio – his hand forged virtually everything on his screen. Norman McLaren writes, "He was not only his own producer, ideas man, script writer, but he was his own set-builder, scene painter, choreographer, deviser of mechanical contrivances, special effects man, costume designer, model maker, actor, multiple actor, editor and distributor." Also, his own cinematographer, and the inventor of cameras to suit his special conceptions. Not even auteur directors such as Charles Chaplin, Orson Welles, John Cassavetes, and Stanley Kubrick would personally author so many aspects of their films."
Inside: 57 films by Georges Méliès, the Grandfather of Visual Effects. [more inside]
posted by Paragon on Feb 3, 2010 - 31 comments

"Mass Affect" - BioWare's Upcoming Hipster RPG

Mass Affect will offer a plethora of engaging side-quests, including bike messenger assignments, competitive coffee-brand disparagement, horrible-dancing competitions, and an interactive café-posturing minigame that involves using motion controls to keep the cover of your barely-skimmed copy of Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" within eyeshot of as many cute girls as possible.
posted by griphus on Feb 3, 2010 - 70 comments

Gosh, you've... really got some nice toys here.

Blade Runner will prove invincible My life and creative work are justified and completed by BLADE RUNNER. Thank you..and it is going to be one hell of a commercial success. It will prove invincible. (via Letters of Note) [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Jan 12, 2010 - 52 comments

If you wouldn't like living that way (in the lowest status slot in the pecking order), you're doing it wrong.

Metafilter's Own Charlie Stross asks the question; " You, and a quarter of a million other folks, have embarked on a 1000-year voyage aboard a hollowed-out asteroid. What sort of governance and society do you think would be most comfortable, not to mention likely to survive the trip without civil war, famine, and reigns of terror?" engrossing commentary follows. (via)
posted by The Whelk on Dec 11, 2009 - 156 comments

U.K. science fiction Golden Age?

The stories of now. An essay by Kim Stanley Robinson on the remarkable pool of SF talent currently working in the U.K.
posted by zardoz on Sep 18, 2009 - 37 comments

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