Orson Scott Card's Unaccompanied Sonata [Google Books]
, which he has called one of his favorite short stories, is an darkly enchanting tale about a boy who, at a young age, is taken from his family and brought to a house deep in the forest...
posted by Rory Marinich
on Jun 4, 2013 -
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 -
Now the future is a kind of attenuating peninsula; as we move out on it, one side drops off to catastrophe; the other side, nowhere near as steep, moves down into various kinds of utopian futures. In other words, we have come to a moment of utopia or catastrophe; there is no middle ground, mediocrity will no longer succeed. So utopia is no longer a nice idea, but a survival necessity. "Remarks on Utopia in the Age of Climate Change,"
from Kim Stanley Robinson. Previously.
posted by gerryblog
on Dec 22, 2011 -
How do you build a mouse Utopia?
In 1972, John B. Calhoun
detailed the specifications of his Mortality-Inhibiting Environment for Mice: a practical utopia built in the laboratory. . . . To its members, the mouse civilization of Universe 25 must have seemed prosperous indeed. But its downfall was already certain—not just stagnation, but total and inevitable destruction.
posted by saladin
on Aug 18, 2011 -
Cult books come and cult books go - that's part of what it means to be a cult book. A few keep reappearing, however. They get discovered over and over by successive waves of admirers. After the third or fourth reappearance, the suspicion begins to arise that this isn't a cult book, after all. It's a masterpiece with problems. Islandia is such a book.
- Noel Perrin, "The Best of All Imaginary Islands" [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Jul 18, 2011 -
Slavoj Žižek recently
gave five talks under the title Masterclass - Notes Towards a Definition of Communist Culture. It sez 'ere, "The master class analyses phenomena of modern thought and culture with the intention to discern elements of possible Communist culture. It moves at two levels: first, it interprets some cultural phenomena (from today’s architecture to classic literary works like Rousseau’s La Nouvelle Heloise) as failures to imagine or enact a Communist culture; second, it explores attempts at imagining how a Communist culture could look, from Wagner’s Ring to Kafka’s and Beckett’s short stories and contemporary science fiction novels." Audio of Zizek's talks and subsequent discussion is now online: Part I Utopias
; Part II Architecture as Ideology
; Part III Wagner’s Ring as a Communist narrative
; Part IV Populism and Democracy
; Part V Environment, Identity and Multiculturalism
. Those who like to watch the beard in motion will find links to video of some of the talks posted here
posted by Abiezer
on Jun 22, 2009 -
"The plans for Victory City
have evolved over a period of 38 years, nurtured by the vision and dedication of Victory City's inventor, Orville Simpson II
]. Mr. Simpson conceived of the general idea of Victory City in 1936, when he was only 13 years old. Afraid of being ridiculed, Mr. Simpson kept his ideas about designing and building the City of the Future to himself … a secret vision he held in his mind... It wasn't until 1960 — after he had embarked on a lucrative career in real estate investing and apartment building management — that Mr. Simpson decided to make his ideas about Victory City known to the general public."
posted by Miko
on Dec 7, 2008 -
We already talked
(self-link, sorta) about Zeitgeist: The Movie
. Its author, Peter Joseph, recently released Zeitgeist: Addendum
. (beware: last two links are two hour movies) This time, it’s about money and debt, scarcity and resources. The first, financial part may look like an extended Ron Paul
ad, but then there’s a sudden turn towards resource-based utopian techno-communalism, and an endorsement for The Venus project
. It seems to me like "Kropotkinian anarchism meets The Matrix". In these rough times
, is it time for a big leap? [Also announced: The Zeitgeist Movement
, still not active]
posted by Baldons
on Oct 7, 2008 -
I had always wondered why Jim Henson did The Muppet Show
in England, after years of successful collaboration with The Children's Television Network
in NYC. As a then 9-year old, I felt a kind of betrayal that I couldn't exactly put my finger on. As some little punk kid, what did I know about the financing of entertainment?This analysis of The Jim Henson Co. as a globe-trotting band of gypsies goes a long way to explain the oddness of The Muppet Show
and the change in tone that resulted when the puppets moved from Sesame Street
to Lew Grade's London soundstages.
posted by vhsiv
on May 6, 2005 -
is where it's at. Unfortunately, despite how many people seem to be interested in it, there's very little documentation concerning the subject. The only books I can think of are Yesterday's Tomorrow (1984, MIT Press), Metropolis of Tomorrow by Hugo Ferriss and Impossible Worlds by Stephen Coates, and I don't know of any website on the subject.
posted by Kevs
on Nov 19, 2000 -