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Sep 01, 2015
I'll be talking fiction as futurism
Wednesday, Sept. 30, I'll be speaking at the Foresight & Trends conference in Los Angeles. My topic? The same subject on which I wrote my Master's thesis: the use of fictional narratives in foresight studies. This time, though, I'll be getting recursive by reciting several possible "plotlines" that exemplify different aspects of the method. The full agenda description for my talk is:
Plotlines: Using Stories to Analyze the Future
Acclaimed science fiction writer and futurist Karl Schroeder will describe the plotlines of three possible novels. Each of the stories captures the complex essence of one emerging megatrend. Together, they reduce what might be a long, tedious analysis of demographics and drivers to something vital and easily memorable. The stories are, “Decapitation,” about blockchain technology and how Distributed Autonomous Corporations put a company’s CEO, CFO, and upper management out of work; “The Lady (almost) Vanishes,” about how emerging tech is making it impossible for people to disappear; and in “The Garbage Miners,” how a strike by workers who convert trash into feedstock for 3d printers nearly shuts down the country.
So, the talk serves a double purpose--to describe the technique, and to show it in action. I hope you can be there!
Aug 19, 2015
Last minute flight changes. Grrr
It doesn't look like I'll be able to make my Sunday book signing at Sasquan. I'm trying to make other arrangements, but meanwhile, if you want something signed, plan to waylay me after one of my other panels, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, or arrange an alternate meetup. I'll keep you updated as this situation evolves.
Aug 13, 2015
An apocalypse just for you, coming Sept. 15, 2015
John Joseph Adams' glorious climate-change anthology Loosed Upon the World will be coming out this September from Saga Press. The book has stories by Kim Stanley Robinson, Paolo Bacigalupi, Robert Silverberg, Greg Benford and lots of other. I have two stories in the anthology: "Kheldyu," my most recent and most pessimistic Gennady Malianov piece, and "Mitigation," the open-Arctic-ocean romp that Tobias Buckell and I wrote together.
Climate change isn't your ordinary apocalypse, since it's actually already upon us. It's a slow, nearly imperceptible alteration of all our affairs--"boiling the frog" but not necessarily all negative. It's not a destroyed world that results, but a reconfigured one. Loosed Upon the World explores this ambiguity with panache and energy--and a book like this is long overdue.
Jul 28, 2015
And the anthology is coming out this fall
A funny thing happened in 2015. James Bond came out of copyright... in Canada. Everywhere else in the world, as far as I know, you still have to deal with the estate of Ian Fleming to clear any new Bond books or movies--but not here. So, in an incredibly gutsy move, writers Madeline Ashby and David Nickle decided to edit together and publish an anthology of brand new James Bond stories... which they have done. The anthology is coming from the ballsiest publisher on the planet, Chizine Publications, and is called License Expired: The Unauthorized James Bond. You'll be able to buy and read it in November... if you're in Canada.
This is going to be one of the most talked about anthologies of the year. --Not because it's about Bond, but because the stories are good. Great, some of them. I have one, "Mosaic," and I'll make no claims for its quality, but with authors like Charles Stross contributing, and completely new and daring takes on Bond, his exploits and foibles, this is collection is huge fun. I'm proud to be a part of it.
Jul 17, 2015
I'll be at Worldcon this year. Here's how to find me.
I hope to see you in Spokane. Here's what I'll be doing:
The Changing Face of Hard Science Fiction
Thursday 16:00 - 16:45, Bays 111B (CC)
Hard science fiction has roots that at least go back to Verne, and it's been a major part of the field -- some would argue it's been the center of the field, or even the only real SF -- since at least the 1940s. But like the rest of SF, it has evolved and change. Where is it now and where is it going?
The Future of Government
Thursday 17:00 - 17:45, 300B (CC)
We like to think that US democracy is the ultimate and best form of government. But the world has seen many different forms of government over the centuries, and even today many different forms exist around the world. What will governments in the US and other countries be like in the next 10, 50, or 200 years? How will changing technologies and world conditions (e.g., climate change) affect those forms? Are there forms of government that have been proposed that have never existed in the real world, but might?
Genre and the Global Police State
Thursday 20:00 - 20:45, 300C (CC)
Thanks to the Five Eyes -- the joint intelligence sharing treaty between the USA, UK, Australia, and others -- and the total penetration of the internet by NSA/GCHQ monitoring, we now live in a society that is a secret policeman's dream. Wikileaks and then Edward Snowden blew the lid off the scandalous subversion of western democracies by unaccountable secret government agencies. In past decades, SF and fantasy provided a vehicle for trenchant social and political commentary on on-going cultural changes (consider "The Forever War" as a comment on Vietnam), but where are the genre works dealing with the global police state?
and Futurism (Moderator)
Friday, August 21 2015, 1:00 pm
with Trina Marie Phillips, Matt Wallace
Friday, August 21 2015, 4:00 pm
Saturday, August 22 2015, 12:00 pm
Climate Change and Health
Sunday 11:00 - 11:45, Bays 111B (CC)
The climate is changing in ways that have big implications for the future well-being of humans. There will be direct effects (e.g., heat stress) and indirect effects (e.g., disease-carrying mosquitos moving northward). The panelists will discuss what is happening now, what we can expect in the near future, and what might occur down the road if climate change continues on its present course.
Autographing CANCELLED - TRYING TO RESCHEDULE
Sunday 12:00 - 12:45, Exhibit Hall B (CC)
Analog is one of the oldest, most prestigious SF magazines
I've been awarded the 2014 Analytical Laboratory award for Best Fact Article for my piece, "Lockstep: A Possible Galactic Empire," first published in May, 2014. You can read up about the awards and the full listing of recipients here.
This award might not be well known outside SF circles, but for me, it's huge. Analog is, after all, the quintessential Golden Age SF magazine, first appearing as Astounding in the 1930s. This is the magazine famously edited by John W. Campbell, who shepherded the careers of people like Isaac Asimov and another southern Manitoban SF writer from the Mennonite community, A.E. van Vogt. Many of the most prominent names in science fiction had their first publications in Analog. To be honoured with an award from this magazine fulfills one of my bucket-list dreams.