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Elsewhere

By / June 16, 2017 / no comments

Half way through June already, and time once more to cast our gaze around the internet.

The PowerFirst up: congratulations to Naomi Alderman upon winning the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction for her novel, The Power.

In Search of Silence: The Journals of Samuel R. Delany, Volume I, 1957-1969Moving on to multiple award-winner Samuel R. Delany, whose early short novel, Empire Star, is the starting point for this discussion of reading vs experience; though the hub of the discussion is the way the same events are described in his memoir, The Motion of Light in Water and in his recently published journals, In Search of Silence. The journals are also discussed in this essay on Delany’s Life of Contradictions.

Delany is also the author of this autobiographical essay, “Ash Wednesday“. In dialogue with that essay, there’s also this interview with Delany conducted by Junot Diaz.

MooncopThat essay and interview are published by Boston Review, for whom Diaz is editing a series of features on global and critical dystopias. The series gets off the ground with this podcast and interview by Diaz, and the series also includes two pieces by John Crowley: “Stranger Things“, which is a review of Flying Saucers are Real! by Jack Womack and Mooncop by Tom Gauld; and “Inside Every Utopia is a Dystopia“, a review of The Man Who Designed the Future by B. Alexandra Szerlip, a biography Norman Bel Geddes who designed the Futurama exhibition at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

One the same subject, here’s the New Yorker arguing that this is a golden age for dystopian fiction.

Walkaway: A NovelMeanwhile, Cory Doctorow (whose most recent novel is Walkaway) takes in everything from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Robert Heinlein’s The Door into Summer, in arguing that science fiction doesn’t predict the future, it influences it.

The Sea and SummerIt is now getting on for 30 years since George Turner won the second Arthur C. Clarke Award for his superb novel of global warming, The Sea and Summer. Now here’s a memoir of the man and his book by another fine Australian writer, Lucy Sussex.

A Wrinkle in Time: 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet)Asked to define science fiction, Madeleine L’Engle replied: “Isn’t everything?” Here’s a fascinating portrait of the author of A Wrinkle in Time.

Critic Mark Bould has been writing a series of blog posts about J.G. Ballard’s connections with the cinema. Here’s one I knew nothing about, though it does raise some interesting images: Ballard was apparently hired by Francis Ford Coppola as a script doctor for a crucial scene in Apocalypse Now. Doesn’t that make a strange film even stranger?

The War in the AirAnd speaking of blogs, Adam Roberts has now got around to The War in the Air in his thorough and unfailingly fascinating re-read of everything by H.G. Wells.

The Berlin ProjectAlso this last month or so has seen the publication of the latest novel from Gregory Benford. The Berlin Project is described, in this interview at Scientific American, as an alternate history of the atomic age.

Still with Gregory Benford, here’s a rather delightful anecdote about his meeting with Kurt Vonnegut.

Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, with a Journal of a Writer’s WeekImagination is “the true fire, stolen from heaven”; this review of Words Are My Matter by Ursula K. Le Guin discusses how literature is the most useful guide to life.

China Mieville has never seen The Sound of Music, and other revelations at the Times Literary Supplement.

Finally, an impressive number of authors, from Ada Palmer to Neil Gaiman, from David Brin to Justina Robson, from Marge Piercy to Pierce Brown, from Larry Niven to Margaret Atwood, and all points in between, have been lined up as the Science Fiction Advisory Council for the XPrize.

Finally, as ever, here are some fascinating science stories that should spark the imagination of any sf writer:

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Paul

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