There seems to have been a lot out there on the web lately. Partly, of course, this is because people have been responding to current events.
As, for instance, John Scalzi, author of The Collapsing Empire, does here when he says that under Trump’s presidency it’s hard to write the future. He makes the important point that too many people forget, that “science fiction has its setting in the future, but the people writing it and reading it live now, and the stories they’re writing and reading reflect the hopes and fears of whatever age the story is written in.”
This, of course, reminds me that William Gibson had to revise his forthcoming novel, Agency, when Trump won the election last year. In the meantime, he has his first graphic novel, Archangel coming out in a couple of months. It’s a time travel story about the collapse of civilisation, and here he is talking about dystopias.
Another dystopian look at our world as shaped by current events is Kim Stanley Robinson’s account of a drowned New York in New York 2140, and here’s a podcast discussion about climate change and technology and, inevitably, Donald Trump.
I wonder how much novels like New York 2140 have influenced the work of futurists, like the one who paints this picture of life in 2040, which is really only just around the corner.
And since we can’t seem to get away from dystopia in the current political climate, here’s Cory Doctorow talking about dystopias in the context of his latest novel, Walkaway. And while we’re on the subject, here’s Doctorow again talking at Arizona’s Center for Science and the Imagination.
Another of the big current novels is John Kessel’s The Moon and the Other, and here he is talking about influences and challenges and teaching science fiction.
One of the things we’re always trying to do on this blog is point out that science fiction is an international literature, and you can now find great stuff everywhere in the world. You might start, for instance, with this brief history of science fiction in India, written by Sami Ahmad Khan, author of Aliens in Delhi.
Meanwhile, Geoff Ryman has taken over The Manchester Review for a special issue devoted to African science fiction. It is packed with an amazing selection of stories by Lauren Beukes, Nnedi Okorafor, Tade Thompson and Nick Wood, plus a host of other Africa writers who deserve to be much more widely known.
Finally, it looks like Omni Magazine is about to rise from the dead, and the rumour (which isn’t mentioned in this article) is that Ellen Datlow will be returning as editor.
And, as ever, there are weird and astonishing stories emerging from the world of science that should provide fodder for any sf writer out there:
- NASA’s Juno probe has sent back amazing images of Jupiter’s big red spot
- NASA has also released video of Pluto and its moon, Charon
- Mysterious radio signals have been detected from a star just 11 light years away
- Chinese researchers have used quantum teleportation to send a photon into space
- And new research suggests that time travel is mathematically possible.
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.