Half way through June already, and time once more to cast our gaze around the internet.
Moving 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.
That 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
It 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.
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?
And 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.
Also 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.
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:
- NASA space probes have detected a human-made barrier around the earth.
- China’s Chang’e 3 Moon lander has produced some amazing images of the lunar surface.
- NASA has unveiled their manned mission to Mars.
- The Juno spacecraft has revealed that Jupiter is even stranger than we thought.
- There’s a new theory that aliens have star-powered spaceships.
- And another theory about aliens suggests they are communicating by neutrino beams.
From Nebula and Hugo Award–nominated Carolyn Ives Gilman comes Dark Orbit, a compelling novel featuring alien contact, mystery, and murder.
Reports of a strange, new habitable planet have reached the Twenty Planets of human civilization. When a team of scientists is assembled to investigate this world, exoethnologist Sara Callicot is recruited to keep an eye on an unstable crewmate.