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February 22 2014


February 10 2014


Reading Envy: Reading Envy Podcast 002: Return of the Euthanized Book

February 05 2014


Sword and Laser Podcast 161: What Harry Potter Stole from Earthsea - Boing Boing

[The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres.] This time around we're kicking off our February book pick, A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Le Guin. If you're looking for the first tale a of a boy who attends a school of wizardry, we've got the goods, as well as what Ms. Le Guin, who wrote her book in 1968, thinks of Ms. Rowling. Plus The Clarion Workshop deadline is looming and USC and Intel make one author's world come alive. Sword and Laser is not just a podcast; we’ve also been a book club since 2007! Each month we select a science fiction or fantasy book, discuss it during kick-off and wrap-up episodes of the podcast, and continue that discussion with our listeners over on our Goodreads forums. So come read along with us, and even get a chance to ask your questions to the authors themselves!

January 30 2014


Arthur C. Clarke’s Technologies

In our previous episode, we introduced Arthur C. Clarke, the amazing man and science fiction writer. Today we’ll be discussing his legacy and ideas on space exploration. You’ll be amazed to hear how many of the ideas we take for granted were invented or just accurately predicted by Arthur C. Clarke.

January 19 2014


Iain Banks, in conversation with The Open University (full) - YouTube

Free learning with The Open University http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=2748 --- Author Iain Banks talks to Open University Lecturer in Creativ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAwVkQ-0_u0

Google Play presents: Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds, and Peter F. Hamilton - YouTube

Bestselling British science fiction authors Iain M. Banks, Alastair Reynolds and Peter F. Hamilton have came together for a unique Science Fiction Hangout on... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZnZnza8Kng

January 17 2014


On Such a Full Sea by Chang-Rae Lee

Chang-Rae Lee talks about his new novel, On Such a Full Sea, set in a future, when a long-declining America is strictly stratified by class. Abandoned urban neighborhoods have become high-walled, self-contained labor colonies. The members of the labor class work to provide quality produce and fish to elite villages. In this world lives Fan, a female fish-tank diver, who leaves her home in the B-Mor settlement (once known as Baltimore), when the man she loves mysteriously disappears. http://www.wnyc.org/story/such-full-sea-chang-rae-lee/

January 16 2014


S&L Podcast - #64 - Interview with N. K. Jemisin

This episode we get the distinct pleasure of chatting with N. K. Jemisin, author of our last book pick, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. We'll discuss a little about her writing process, how she invented the world her characters inhabit, and even get a bit political. Or at least social judicial. We also go over the books that are coming soon in the science fiction and fantasy world, and annouce the winner of the recent poll on Goodreads for our next book, which was up against some pretty tough competition in the "science fiction written by a female author" category. No recap on Game of Thrones this week, but it'll be back next time! And we'll have plenty to talk about, trust us.   CALENDAR 6/3/2011 The Book of Transformations by Mark Charan Newton Tor 6/7/2011 Robopocalypse: A Novel by Daniel H. Wilson 6/7/2011 Hot and Steamy: Tales of Steampunk by Jean Rabe 6/7/2011 Jim and the Flims, Rudy Rucker (Nightshade Books) 6/15/2011 The Uncertain Places, Lisa Goldstein (Tachyon Publications) 6/15/2011 Leviathan Wakes, James S.A. Corey (Orbit) INTERVIEW Questions for NK Jemisin BOOK KICK-OFF NEXT WEEK! Book will be--- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins ADDENDUMS This podcast is brought to you by Audible.com the internet’s leading provider of audiobooks with more than 75,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to audiblepodcast.com/sword.S&L Podcast - #64 - Interview with N. K. Jemisin http://swordandlaser.com/home/2011/6/1/sl-podcast-64-interview-with-n-k-jemisin.html

January 13 2014


Vernor Vinge: What If the Singularity Does NOT Happen? - The Long Now

Non-Singularity scenarios Vinge began by declaring that he still believes that a Singularity event in the next few decades is the most likely outcome— meaning that self-accelerating technologies will speed up to the point of so profound a transformation that the other side of it is unknowable. And this transformation will be driven by Artificial Intelligences (AIs) that, once they become self-educating and self-empowering, soar beyond human capacity with shocking suddenness. He added that he is not convinced by the fears of some that the AIs would exterminate humanity. He thinks they would be wise enough to keep us around as a fallback and backup— intelligences that can actually function without massive connectivity! (Later in the Q&A I asked him about the dangerous period when AI’s are smart enough to exterminate us but not yet wise enough to keep us around. How long would that period be? “About four hours,” said Vinge .) Since a Singularity makes long-term thinking impractical, Vinge was faced with the problem of how to say anything useful in a Seminar About Long-term Thinking, so he came up with a plausible set of scenarios that would be Singularity-free. He noted that they all require that we achieve no faster-than-light space travel. The overall non-Singularity condition he called “The Age of Failed Dreams.” The main driver is that software simply continues failing to keep pace with hardware improvements. One after another, enormous billion-dollar software projects simply do not run, as has already happened at the FBI, air traffic control, IRS, and many others. Some large automation projects fail catastrophically, with planes running into each. So hardware development eventually lags, and materials research lags, and no strong AI develops. To differentiate visually his three sub-scenarios, Vinge showed a graph ranging over the last 50,000 and next 50,000 years, with power (in maximum discrete sources) plotted against human populaton, on a log-log scale. Thus the curve begins at the lower left with human power of 0.3 kilowatts and under a hundred thousand population, curves up through steam engines with one megawatt of power and a billion population, up further to present plants generating 13 gigawatts. His first scenario was a bleak one called “A Return to MADness.” Driven by increasing environmental stress (that a Singularity might have cured), nations return to nuclear confrontation and policies of “Mutually Assured Destruction.” One “bad afternoon,” it all plays out, humanity blasts itself back to the Stone Age and then gradually dwindles to extinction. His next scenario was a best-case alternative named “The Golden Age,” where population stabilizes around 3 billion, and there is a peaceful ascent into “the long, good time.” Humanity catches on that the magic ingredient is education, and engages the full plasticity of the human psyche, empowered by hope, information, and communication. A widespread enlightened populism predominates, with the kind of tolerance and wise self-interest we see embodied already in Wikipedia. One policy imperative of this scenario would be a demand for research on “prolongevity”— “Young old people are good for the future of humanity.” Far from deadening progress, long-lived youthful old people would have a personal stake in the future reaching out for centuries, and would have personal perspective reaching back for centuries. The final scenario, which Vinge thought the most probable, he called “The Wheel of Time.” Catastrophes and recoveries of various amplitudes follow one another. Enduring heroes would be archaeologists and “software dumpster divers” who could recover lost tools and techniques. What should we do about the vulnerabilities in these non-Singularity scenarios? Vinge ’s main concern is that we are running only one, perilously narrow experiment on Earth. “The best hope for long-term survival is self-sufficient off-Earth settlements.” We need a real space program focussed on bringing down the cost of getting mass into space, instead of “the gold-plated sham” of present-day NASA. There is a common critique that there is no suitable place for humans elsewhere in the Solar System, and the stars are too far. “In the long now,” Vinge observed, “the stars are not too far.” (Note: Vinge’s detailed notes for this talk, and the graphs, may be found online at: http://rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge /longnow/index.htm ) --Stewart Brand http://longnow.org/seminars/02007/feb/15/what-if-the-singularity-does-not-happen/

January 11 2014


An Audio Interview with Michael A. Stackpole - SF Signal

Today, Timothy C. Ward interviews Michael A. Stackpole about his new online course, Introduction to Writing: Science Fiction and Fantasy, which is still open to enrollment. The course costs $65 to enroll, then also you’ll purchase 21 Days to a Novel ($20) and his book Rogue Squadron (Star Wars X-Wing Series, Book 1) (~$6). Michael and Tim also discuss how one learns to outline, examining studies in neuroplasticity and how outlines come from a strong understanding of characters. Michael discusses higher education options for aspiring authors of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Check out the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. If you’d like to find Michael on Second Life for his office hours, search for Noble Charron, his avatar, send an IM and he’ll give you the link. You can also go to The Quillians writer’s headquarters, a great place for encouragement for NaNoWriMo. They concluded with what he’s working on: a Pathfinder book, the next book in his Crown Colonies series, and then Talion: Nemesis. Download the Michael Stackpole Interview Like this? Share!More Related posts:Free Kindle eBook: ‘A Gathering Evil’ by Michael A. Stackpole INTERVIEW: Michael A. Stackpole Talks About Military SF, the eBook Revolution and Conan the Barbarian REVIEW: At The Queen’s Command by Michael A. Stackpole Interview: CJ Cherryh Talks About Her Foreigner Series and Bringing It To Audio BrokenSea Audio Productions: A Website for Audio Fiction Fans Tagged with: Michael Stackpole • online courses • outlining • Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing • Writing Filed under: Interviews Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more! http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2013/11/an-audio-interview-with-michael-a-stackpole/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Sfsignal+%28SFSignal%29

January 10 2014


2H2K Lawyer: Science Fiction Design, Artificial Labor, and Ubiquitous Interactive Machine Learning | Ideas For Dozens

January 09 2014


Kim Stanley Robinson In Conversation

American science fiction writer, Kim Stanley Robinson, best known for his award winning "Mars" trilogy, joins Lucy Sussex at the Melbourne Writers Festival to discuss the inspiration for his work and the problems facing planet Earth. Robinson explains to his audience why it is important for everyone to know about science, especially in the face of the climate change crisis. It's a subject very close to the author's heart: virtually all of Robinson's novels have an ecological component with sustainability being one of his major themes. Robinson also defends science fiction, believing it deserves more attention by literary awards such as the Booker Prize. After all, if one of his favourite authors Virginia Woolf was a science fiction fan, why can't contemporary literary audiences appreciate the genre more? Kim Stanley Robinson is an American Science Fiction writer best known for the multi-award winning "Mars" trilogy. Other books include "The Years of Rice and Salt" and his latest book "Galileo's Dream". In 2008 Kim Stanley Robinson was listed as the TIME "Hero of the Environment". Lucy Sussex is a New Zealand born writer, researcher and editor. Sussex has published many short stories and a few novels, including "The Scarlet Rider" which won the Ditmar, Best Novel in 1997. She currently writes a review column for "The West Australian" and "The Sunday Age". http://www.abc.net.au/tv/bigideas/stories/2010/10/12/3034904.htm

January 06 2014


Cory Doctorow: Flowers From Al

Here’s part one of my 2003 short story “Flowers From Al,” written with Charlie Stross for New Voices in Science Fiction, a Mike Resnick anthology. It’s a pervy, weird story of transhuman romance. http://mostlysignssomeportents.tumblr.com/post/72469771137/heres-part-one-of-my-2003-short-story-flowers

January 03 2014


Looking Sideways Episode 6 — Leila Johnston

It’s episode 6! We’re officially into the high single digits. In this episode, I speak to writer, publisher, producer, maker and all round difficult-to-pigeonhole person, Leila Johnston. We talk about play, and making for the sake of it; that bit in the venn diagram where geeks and sci-fi cross over; the future, and what it means without the past; grassroots movements and the consumer experience; coding because you have to, and experts vs ignorance. Plus – in what is becoming a regular feature – more holiday tips. Hack Circus Sandy Noble’s Linear Clock Leila at TEDx Brighton Warhammer and Warhammer 40K Sarah Angliss in Wired Alex May on the ZX Spectrum Holiday tips! Acoustic Mirrors at Dungeoness, and Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station, Lizard Peninsula Leila’s website, Finalbullet.com http://andrewsleigh.com/1651

December 30 2013


4.20 - Lawrence Miles | SCI-FI-LONDON Film Festival

Andrew Hickey talks to Lawrence Miles about his work, including Doctor Who novels Christmas on a Rational Planet and Alien Bodies http://www.sci-fi-london.com/podcast/2013/12/420-lawrence-miles

December 29 2013


95- Future Screens are Mostly Blue | 99% Invisible

We have seen the future, and the future is mostly blue. Or, put another way: in our representations of the future in science fiction movies, blue seems to be the dominant color of our interfaces with technology yet to come. And that is one of the many design lessons we can learn from sci-fi. Designers and sci-fi aficionados Chris Noessel and Nathan Shedroff have spent years compiling real-world lessons that designers can, should, and already do take from science fiction. Their new book, Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons From Science Fiction is a comprehensive compendium of their findings. All music (after pledge preamble) is by OK Ikumi. Podcast: Download (Duration: 24:49 — 22.8MB) http://99percentinvisible.prx.org/2013/11/21/95-future-screens-are-mostly-blue/

December 28 2013


Astronaut Chris Hadfield on Why Gravity Needed More Adult Diapers | Underwire | Wired.com

In the latest episode of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast astronaut Chris Hadfield discusses his love of science fiction. http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/12/geeks-guide-chris-hadfield/

December 22 2013


Born of Man and Woman, by Richard Matheson, read by Walter O'Hara

Born of Man and Woman is not a pleasant story, as it depicts a child born a hideous monster in our eyes, kept chained in the cellar by his parents, where he is beaten and abused regularly. It is, however, a memorable one, written by one of my favorite writers in the short story form, Richard Matheson, who is perhaps more famous for his television work on the Twilight Zone and other famous shows. This is a story I read as a younger teenager-- probably 13 or so, and I recall it being in one of those Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthologies edited by Robert Silverberg. It's one of those stories that sticks with you.. Matheson paints a vivid picture of the unnamed child's suffering by having him recount events in a broken journal form. At the end of the story, you have to ask yourself who the real monsters are. Third Point of Singularity: http://misternizz.wordpress.com Airy Persiflage: http://misternizz.podbean.com

December 16 2013


Lemmings, by Richard Matheson, read by Walter O'Hara

This is a very short story by Richard Matheson, a famous television writer and master of the short story form. Written as a parable about nuclear war (in 1953), it was not received well, and in some jurisdictions people actually wanted it banned. I rather like the darkly ironic tone and imagery of this short-short piece. I have always read it very differently from the author's intent, and took the allegory as representing the madness of popular culture. Go figure! Third Point of Singularity (blog): http://misternizz.wordpress.com/ Airy Persiflage: http://misternizz.podbean.com

December 10 2013


Neil Gaiman – Harlequin Valentine – Discover music at Last.fm

Listen to Neil Gaiman – Harlequin Valentine. Free mp3 download available! Harlequin Valentine appears on the album Telling Tales. Neil Richard Gaiman (born November 10, 1960, Portchester, Hampshire) is an English author of numerous science fiction and fantasy works. As of 2006, he lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. While Gaiman is most famously known for The Sandman, a series of graphic novels, many of his other works translate well to the spoken word. Gaiman is a prolific blogger and has a noted interest in music. He befriended Tori Amos early in her career after she sent him a demo tape. His latest obsession is Thea Gilmore. Thea and Tori (among others) appear on a compilation of musical works inspired by his works, entitled Where’s Neil When You Need Him? Discover more music, concerts, videos, and pictures with the largest catalogue online at Last.fm. http://www.last.fm/music/Neil+Gaiman/_/Harlequin+Valentine
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