gvdub: (Alien)
It seems that i09 is touting Kanye West as the 6th most influential person in science fiction in their Power List of movers and shakers in SF.

'scuse me? Kanye West? (shakes head in puzzlement) Does everybody who uses Autotune as an effect get to be on the list? Because I'm not too proud to lay down a track with some funky robot action. Really.

Then again, it's the time of year when everybody comes out with year end lists designed to boost their readership by making people sputter and point their friends at the website/magazine/whatever and say "Can you believe this stuff?" In which case I'm just helping them out by increasing page views.

I think I'll go listen to some Hawkwind now. At least they had Michael Moorcock writing lyrics for them.
gvdub: (Alien)
This video (which doesn't allow embedding) just freaks me out. The way the quadraped robot is able to correct itself when pushed, when slipping on ice, and when climbing over rubble is pretty amazing. I guess the future is closer than we think.
gvdub: (Alien)
Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I find the possibilities of this story fascinating. If DNA-like structures can indeed evolve and duplicate themselves in clouds of interstellar dust, who's to say that the process of evolution couldn't continue from there to actual intelligence of some kind? Of course, this whole thing is based on computer modeling – it's not as if they've actually found any of these things, just proven (they think) that such a thing could exist. It could bring a whole new meaning to the idea of dust bunnies, though, couldn't it?
gvdub: (Default)
Yeah, I bit on this one, ganked from [livejournal.com profile] jbriggs, [livejournal.com profile] asimovberlioz and others.

Instructions: "This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club. Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished, and put an asterisk beside the ones you loved."

Here it is )

Note: I have never not finished a science fiction book I have started (and only a bare handful of books in general).
gvdub: (Default)
Last week Charlie Stross posted this response to Kristine Kathryn Rusch's call in her article (published in Asimov's) "Star Wars on Trial" in which she suggested that SF return to its roots (pulp fiction) to try and hold on to shrinking readership.

I have to agree with Mr. Stross on this one. Pandering to nostalgic longing for the lost, pulp past might cause a temporary bump in readership among readers who grew up with the carrot of technocracy dangling before them while they dreamt of being the heroic polymath engineer, but it won't last and will make the genre even less relevant to the modern reader.

Why have i kept reading sf (and for the moment, let's read those initials as "speculative fiction", not necessarily "science fiction" ) for all these years? Certainly not because it summons up a vision of the future that was dragged from somewhere in the past. That type of attempt at scientific fortune-telling is probably my least favorite type of sf (well, next to straight military sf that recasts famous military encounters of the past somewhere else in the universe). That's not the "what if?" that appeals to me. I don't necessarily believe that "what if?" is what makes sf unique. After all, isn't all fiction about "what if?" when you come right down to it. So it's got to be something else. What is it?

For me, though I will admit to being a science geek, it's the potential for freedom and exploration that keeps me coming back for more. It's the same reason that I love Borges and Marquez - Burroughs and Boyle every bit as much as I love Stross, Banks, Stephenson, Zelazny, and Wolfe. Good fiction has the power to explore humanity's strengths and foibles in a way that other media can''t (or hasn't figured out how to yet). Fiction challenges every reader to see through different eyes - think different thoughts than they normally do. Speculative fiction can simply do it on a potentially much larger palette and pick a different color set with which to work (to extend a metaphor to the breaking point).

So, yeah, those of us who read and write sf are definitely slaving away in an increasingly smaller ghetto, if you look at the strict numbers of what's sold as "science fiction", and it may get smaller still. But I look at a number books being sold as mainstream, and I see threads that not that many years ago would have consigned the book to the sf racks at the back of the store. What's being sold as sf may getting smaller in number, but what' s being sold as something else that's really specfic - that seems to be growing.


gvdub: (Default)

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