Time to check out what is happening elsewhere on the web.
The other day we wrote about the “Great Peculiars” of science fiction, one of which was Howard Waldrop, (whose best short fiction is collected in Things Will Never be the Same and Other Worlds, Better Lives), so it’s good to see this profile of a writer whose mind and whose fiction are stuffed full with odd and fascinating information.
If we were purely to restrict ourselves to the way they thought rather than the way they wrote, another candidate for Great Peculiar would surely be Philip K. Dick. Here you can watch Dick talk about the curious “pink light” vision that informed much of his late work, including the VALIS trilogy of VALIS, The Divine Invasion and The Transmigration of Timothy Archer.
Dick, of course, is best known as the author of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was adapted as the film Blade Runner, now consistently recognized as one of the best sf films of all time. Blade Runner is back in the news because the sequel, Blade Runner 2049 has just been released, to generally very positive reviews. In the flurry of pieces relating to those films, a couple of interesting ones caught our eye. This one asks why the film was called Blade Runner in the first place, a question that takes us back to a now little-known sf writer called Alan E. Nourse, who wrote a medical sf thriller called The Bladerunner. While this one uses the new Blade Runner film as a springboard for looking back at Tarkovsky’s Stalker which was in turn based on Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky.
Going back even further into history, there a suggestion that the first ever science fiction convention was held at the Royal Albert Hall in 1891. Now that claim doesn’t really hold water, nevertheless, this gathering inspired by Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1871 novel, The Coming Race (a novel which, incidentally, featured an energy source called “Vril” which in turn was in turn incorporated into the name of a brand-new beef drink, Bovril), is certainly an historical curiosity.
Here’s a profile of Nnedi Okorafor, whose novel Who Fears Death is being adapted for television series with George R.R. Martin as Executive Producer; who is writing a comic for Marvel with a black female superhero; and who is speaking at TED conferences.
And here’s another interview for you to listen to, this time with William Gibson, author of the forthcoming novel, Agency. Here he talks about real-world issues, like money and access to technology, that have a remarkable resonance in his fiction.
And another interview: John Joseph Adams, Series Editor of The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy, talks about the current state of the genre, ad in particular the question of whether we are living in a dystopia.
Finally, before we move on to the science part of our post, there’s a database being compiled of Aromatic and Asexual characters in speculative fiction, which looks like it could be an interesting project to follow.
And as promised, there is some really exciting science news that has come out lately, particularly about the Moon, that should lead to interesting ideas for the sf writers among you:
- Newly discovered caves on the Moon could provide a base for human explorers.
- And it could be even more worth exploring because it once had an atmosphere.
- What’s more, the Moon isn’t alone, it has a tiny partner.
- In lunar orbit, the Russians will be helping with the Deep Space Gateway space station.
- Further out in the solar system, there’s another planet with a ring.
- Half the universe’s missing matter has now been found.
- And astronomers have witnessed neutron stars colliding.
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.