== So much new in science fiction, starting with.... ==
A new anthology: Alternative Theologies: Parables for a Modern World. I have an essay in this one, along with David Gerrold and Jim Wright. And there are cool stories by Resnick, Yolen and others, having fun with... well... impudent re-examinings of age old assumptions.
A wide-ranging interview recorded during our recent appearance at BayCon, the wonderful SF Bay-area science fiction convention (which broke all attendance records) - Fanboy Planet Podcast Episode 550. Many topics were covered: like the role of prediction in science fiction and how its methods are spreading through society. And how the greatest social invention of the last 70 years - the NGO - lets a middle class person like you amplify power on a plane with governments and elites! And novels and stories and more fun.
I am weirdly on two lists. Top Ten End of the World novels, from Ballard's The Drowned World to Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. And my own EARTH makes the compilation… though it’s overall optimistic about averting the End. (The Guardian.)
Zoe Saylor’s list of seven science fiction tales that offer a little hope includes another of mine that is post-apocalyptic! Guess whichone. Yes, I see their point, in each case! And I choose to interpret it to mean I am … not preachy but nuanced!
By the way, this handsome, signed Easton Press edition of The Postman is really gorgeous and a good deal… and it’s almost sold out. (I’m signing pages now for a whole fresh printing.)
Question, is anyone interested in a hardcover of my one novel that never had one, Sundiver? We'll be re-releasing the ebook of Sundiver soon.
== Science fiction, new and bold ==
Battlefront, the fourth and final volume of Jeff Carlson’s Europa Series has been published. It is available now on Amazon as an eBook and the paperback version, as well. Jeff’s manuscript for Battlefront was nearly complete at the time of his death in July 2017, and the final editing and assembly was done by his father, Gus Carlson.
At the time of Jeff's terrible passing, I was just finishing my polish of our shared project: NEW MOJAVE, the sequel to my YA novel SKY HORIZON, both of them part of the COLONY HIGH series. And how I regret Jeff didn't get a chance to see it. I will persevere until it gets published.
Meanwhile, Get Jeff Carlson's EUROPA Series! Such adventure.
Innovative and highly with-it, The Black Box by Jennifer Egan consists of a series of twitter-length observational statements that nevertheless convey setting, character, action, dialogue and perception extremely well. The kind of sparseness and efficiency of conveyance that I teach my students can be seen in these two ways, early in the story:
“If your Designated Mate is widely feared, the beauties at the house party where you’ve gone undercover to meet him will be especially kind."
“Kindness feels good, even when it’s based on a false notion of your identity and purpose.”
It is also a way-cool and tense spy story, with terrific science fictional elements, plus a stirring view of citizen resilience that may slip by most readers, but not those of you who hang around here. It’s in a ‘tense’ that I can only call second-person-mentor, straddling present and future, delivering vivid action amid advice-observations for an amateur secret agent. Heinlein showed us how to do this, establishing point of view through a character’s observations and especially what she/he takes for granted. But this efficiency is even better.
== More items... ==
An excellent BBC article about one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time – John Brunner’s 1968 Stand on Zanzibar. Often lauded for its agile, content-rich, multi point-of-view style (I modeled EARTH after it) and for its long list of eerily on-target predictions, I am in fact most impressed with the novel’s masterful mixture of pertinent worry and tentative optimism, a rare gift in this era of simplistically dolorous-discouraging dystopias and finger-wagging moralizings. This writer cites many of Brunner’s accurate foretellings, leaving out the one so many remark upon… that he featured an African “President Obomi” (cue Twilight Zone theme.)
Fun stuff! Some fans worked with physicists and engineers on this infographic scaling a range of sci fi weapons! -
Though this list left out the absurd super-ooper-dooper death star of "The Force Wakens," Which shot a beam across the whole galaxy in an instant destroying the entire Republic (a million worlds) in one plot simplifying cheat-minute! Then there's the Gravity Lasers in my novel EARTH, which use coherent beams from the core and mantle to lift ships and an island or two.
A wonderful analysis and trip down memory lane! Charlie Jane Anders surveys one of the great SF universes, the Hainish series by my former teacher, Ursula LeGuin, truly a visionary pioneer who was recognized early by our wonderfully expansive field... as was Charlie Jane Anders! Treasures.
A terrific and empathic story about an uplifted chimp detective by Rich Larson, an up-and-coming SF star - author of Annex, The Violet Wars.
== Final Brin bits ==
Our fine/fun panel discussing Blade Runner - hosted by the UCSD library - was lively with insights and inside poop. It is now online via UCSD TV.
And I was final judge for a fiction writing contest run by the DoD “Mad Scientist Lab” – the entries portrayed ground warfare in the future, some of them thoughtfully and with some nuance, as well as technological vision. This page also includes several items of “advice to rising writers of SF.” Like how to establish point of view and how to make that first paragraph work for you.