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November 18, 2014 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Why We Terraformed a New Home for Future Fiction: "Science fiction is an extremely powerful tool. Not for predicting the future, but for clarifying our present. We want to see that happening not just in monthly magazines, but on Reddit, Digg, and Facebook. We want fiction to be part of your feed." Vice has launched its new site for short-form science fiction, Terraform, with new stories by Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, and "exciting newcomers."
posted by jbickers (20 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
between this an Uncanny and the number of sucessfully Kickstarted sf/f/niche anthologies I've backed it feels like we've clawed the mid-market back into existence.
posted by The Whelk at 1:34 PM on November 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


From the comments on the OP (by Ellen Datlow): "Surprising that you didn't even mention OMNI reboot, which you worked for previously and published sf."
posted by asterix at 1:42 PM on November 18, 2014 [5 favorites]


Hey, this looks pretty good, and I quite like Vice, as a rule. Plus, considering my NaNoWriMo attempt is basically a lazy collection of short pieces of exactly this nature, I suspect I will beging bombarding them when I pack it in at 30k words.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:43 PM on November 18, 2014


Oh never mind it's already a seething soup of hurt feelings, partisanship, and manufactured controversy, fucking forget it.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:45 PM on November 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


with new stories by Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow

Never thought I'd hear those names and think "aren't they kind of stodgy establishment figures for this?" but there you go.

Does look good though.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on November 18, 2014 [3 favorites]


At first I thought this was a post all about the idea of Terraforming which immediately made me think of this amazing manga.

Terra Formars:
In an attempt to colonize Mars, 21st century scientists tasked with terraforming the planet seed it with a modified algae to absorb sunlight and purify the atmosphere, and cockroaches whose corpses spread the algae across the planet as they feed.

Five hundred years later, the first manned ship to Mars lands and its six crew members are attacked by giant mutated humanoid cockroaches with incredible physical strength, later labeled "Terraformars"; the crew is wiped out after sending a warning back to Earth. Decades later, a multinational expedition is sent to exterminate the mutated bugs and take control of the red planet only to be vanquished as well, except for two survivors who manage to return to Earth, one swearing to return and avenge their fallen companions. As a third expedition is assembled, questions are raised about the true origin of the Terraformars and their connection with a deadly virus afflicting mankind.
Still pretty cool.
posted by Fizz at 2:46 PM on November 18, 2014


aren't they kind of stodgy establishment figures for this?

If you aren't Stephen King, you're gonna be Norman Spinrad.
posted by localroger at 3:51 PM on November 18, 2014


Oh never mind it's already a seething soup of hurt feelings, partisanship, and manufactured controversy, fucking forget it.

Please elaborate, I thought this was pretty cool
posted by Renoroc at 5:37 PM on November 18, 2014


More outlets for quality sf are a good thing, of course, but it strikes me that a more elegant way of doing it, given the way people use their portable devices, would have been great. Something other than what is effectively, in format, a blog -- reverse chronological posts in a series, on a page.

Something like a custom cutdown version of Flipboard that presents an attractive and relatively intuitive UI, magazine style, regardless of the device you're reading on, man, that would be a thing. Way way higher investment upfront in terms of development to do it, though, of course. Still -- I do all may fiction-reading for pleasure on my iPad, and to be able to just pop open a Terraform app that looked and worked as well as Flipboard and just had the latest stories Right There, well, that would be pretty cool. Particularly if you could load up the latest (weekly, say) set of stories for when you're wifi-less.

I guess I could get nearly the same thing by visiting the site on the IPad in the browser of my choice if I had a network connection, but, oddly, doing that (at least for this kind of purpose) is starting to feel a little clunky and old-school.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:51 PM on November 18, 2014


Please elaborate, I thought this was pretty cool

Just the comments section. I know, I know, comments sections, what a surprise, but come on. Can't anything just exist these days without everyone needing to have a say about it?
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:26 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Can't anything just exist these days without everyone needing to have a say about it?

He said, on Metafilter. ;-)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:40 PM on November 18, 2014 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but that's like 50-80% of what Metafilter is for, despite what it says on the tin. Can't we just have a nice little website that's got sci-fi short stories on it and that's it, that's the thing?
posted by turbid dahlia at 6:49 PM on November 18, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh never mind it's already a seething soup of hurt feelings, partisanship, and manufactured controversy

Yes, it is indeed a thing on the internet about science fiction.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 7:52 PM on November 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I feel your disappointment, turgid dahlia, of course. It's not a new thing to say, but other than at a few oases like MeFi (mostly), or (for me) some virtual spaces I've actually homesteaded for myself and like-minded friends, I'm very much in comments-avoiding, selective-read-only-mode these days. So damned much of the internet is such a seething shitstew of stupidity and spite, well, it's just exhausting and depressing.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:03 PM on November 18, 2014


Okay, having read about this earlier elsewhere, I'm feeling a bit frustrated with all the snark about how hateful the comments are.

The general thrust of the comments I've read, there and elsewhere, has been that the basic premise — "there isn't much short science fiction available online" — is laughable. There is a LOT of short science fiction available, in both written and audio (podcast) form. So whatever merit there may be in providing another platform for short SF online, Vice did kind of put their foot in their mouth with the weirdly, there’s a distinct dearth of science fiction in its purest, arguably its original, form—short fiction bit.
posted by Lexica at 9:10 PM on November 18, 2014


I'm feeling a bit frustrated with all the snark about how hateful the comments are.

Precisely one person has complained here. I sympathized, but only in the general sense. I haven't even read any of the comments at the site in question.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:40 PM on November 18, 2014


The comments are justifiably snarky, as this thing set itself out as the saviour of short science fiction stories when we're already living in a new golden age of short sf, thanks to sites like Uncanny, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, undsoweiter. It also had a dodgy grasp on sf history, what with thinking short sf got established in the fifties/sixties when it was three-four decades earlier.

It's never a good thing when a new venture has to start out with dissing the competion, let alone denying its existence, especially when aimed at an audience that may not be as familiar with it and foolish to do so on the internet, where people who are familiar with the existence of other short story sites are just a tweet away.

The initiative itself might be a good thing, what with aiming itself at an audience (VICE/Motherboard readers) who are interested in but not that knowledgeable about written sf.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:02 AM on November 19, 2014 [6 favorites]


At first I thought this was a post all about the idea of Terraforming which immediately made me think of this amazing manga. Terra Formars.

It has an ongoing anime adaptation, too. Noone seems to be liking it, though.
posted by procrastinator at 4:45 AM on November 19, 2014


Can't anything just exist these days without everyone needing to have a say about it?

Same as it ever was.
posted by aught at 5:57 AM on November 19, 2014


Holy moly, this reeks of a vanity project.
posted by Sphinx at 6:26 AM on November 19, 2014


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