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Elsewhere

By / May 12, 2017 / no comments

Time for yet another round up of the things we’ve spotted around the web.

The Jewels of AptorLet’s start with Samuel R. Delany. Nisi Shawl has been doing an expanded course on the history of black science fiction, and her most recent post brings us to Delany’s first published novelThe Jewels of Aptor.

Labyrinths (New Directions Paperbook)There’s a good argument to be made that Delany is one of the best contemporary sf writers, but there’s a better argument to be made that Jorge Luis Borges is the most important writer of the 20th century, as this piece from a couple of years ago proposes. If you want to make your own mind up, you really should read his classic collection, Labyrinths.

Speaking of important contemporary writers, there can be few who are as good at capturing the zeitgeist as William Gibson. And here, and again here, we find that he actually had to re-write his new novel when Donald Trump won the Presidential election. Talk about being up to date. The new novel, Agency, is due to be published next January.

A Modern UtopiaIf we’re going to talk about great science fiction writers, of course, we’ve always got to remember H.G. Wells. Adam Roberts is continuing his reading of all of Wells’s fiction, which has so far brought him to The Food of the Gods (which he writes about here) and A Modern Utopia (which he writes about here). And, typically, he’s also written as short story, “The Imposter“, as a pendant to A Modern Utopia, and there’s another story, “In the Night of the Comet“, which is a sequel to In the Days of the Comet, even though he hasn’t got around to writing about that novel yet.

And while we’re on the subject of Wells, we learn that the BBC is set to make a three-part series based on The War of the Worlds, which is, unusually, intended to be faithful to the novel by being set in Victorian England. And it’s being written by Peter Hartness, who wrote the dramatisation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which is at least promising.

Speak GigantularOf course, there’s much more to science fiction than what is written in Britain or America. It turns out, for instance, that science fiction has been written in the Philippines for something like 70 years. This essay points to some of the speculative technologies that have appeared in Filipino sf, and look out for the links to some great stories.

Speaking of non-Anglophone sf, here’s an interview by Anne Charnock, whose most recent novel is Dreams Before the Start of Time, with Irenosen Okojie, author of the highly acclaimed collection Speak Gigantular which was shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Prize.

Voyage to Venus, Part 1 (Dan Dare: Pilot of the Future)Any science fiction fan of a certain age, particularly if they were brought up in Britain, probably grew up on Frank Hampson’s Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future in Eagle. So here’s a rare interview with David Motton, one of the people who wrote for Dan Dare.

The Gashlycrumb TiniesAnd while we’re on the subject of illustration, here’s a fascinating insight into Edward Gorey, creator of such bizarre classics as The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

Pulp sf, the sort of straightforward, muscular stories that appeared in crudely printed magazines with garish covers between the 1920s and the Second World War. But were they really the way we now imagine them to be. Here are the top misconceptions that people have about pulp sf.

Here’s an article that isn’t actually about science fiction, though it probably directly affects anyone who wants to read those pulp sf stories, and a lot more besides. It turns out that Google has a library of 25 million books, and nobody is allowed to read them. Find out the full story here, it’s a long essay but it’s well worth your time.

Finally, our usual round-up of science news that just could provide the vital spark for a great science fiction story.

NASA has announced that one of the moons of Saturn could support life.

The European Space Agency and the China National Space Administration are planning to co-opoerate on a Moon Village.

The Cassini Probe has sent back some spectacular images from its journey through the rings of Saturn.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute reckon we could reach Sirius in just 69 years.

We may actually have evidence of the Multiverse.

Scientists may have achieved counterfactual quantum communication.

And now there’s a viable mathematical model for a time machine – though of course you already knew that …

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