Monday, May 03, 2021

All the Uplift Books are back in print and improved! New SF films! And erudition about SF.

Skim down if you want the erudite links by others about science fiction as deep thought. But first... 

This month I'll be announcing a whole slew of literary wonders for your spring reading! I've already mentioned (and will again!) my two series of cool/short novels for Young Adults, the High Horizon Series and David Brin's Out of Time, both of them with among the coolest premises you ever saw in SF, let alone for vigorous minded young readers. (And those with still-young imaginations!)

Also recently I touted my latest nonfiction work: VIVID TOMORROWS: Science Fiction and Hollywood! A mix of classic reveiws and rants about your favorite and most-hated flicks... but also careful ponderings of how the medium - for all its faults - is responsible for much of the vigor and progress of our times! Especially science fiction films, which have arguably helped save us all through self-preventing prophecies. A cornucopia of concepts.

Now here comes the re-release of all my Uplift titles - re-edited, with new, bold covers and new introductions, from Open Road Media. These include the original trilogy: Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War...

...a saga that then continues in the second trilogy, starting with Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, and Heaven's Reach, starting with a planet of refugees but then carried (along with a crew of dolphins and their many-raced friends) across five galaxies in convulsion! Available in both paperback and ebook versions. Enjoy!

And yes, these trade paperbacks are high quality and collectable. And your best bargain in terms of pennies per hour of pleasure... or per mind-blowing idea!

Want something even better and even more collectable?  How about my top short fiction (my best work, I'd say) gathered together at last in The Best of David Brin? And that's only half of the cool items I'm releasing, that will (I hope) help to make 2021 another kind of 'best of' for you!

And would you like the full NEWSLETTER I am about to send out?After 6 of the busiest months of my professional life, with TWELVE projects all hitting at the same time(!) I'm about to send out my annual full NEWSLETTER. I promise, I only do these once or twice a year! And this time there will be so much news!

A beautiful re-issue of seven Uplift Novels with gorgeous covers, errors corrected and new introductions! My nonfiction tome arguing that sci fi films have saved the world, many times! ... a sci fi comedy, a stage play, and TWO series of fun novels for teens and those who are young at heart! And more...
Sign up and I promise there'll be at least one item of interest to you. Here's the link. And did I say I'll send these rarely? They're too much work! 


 == So will we see a movie, already? ==

Robotic, animatronic dolphins?  Uncanny realism! Truly amazing, just $3 million each, in prototype! Less, soon. And did I say uncannily realistic? And what does this do to the tradeoffs to doing a Startide Rising movie?

Well, there's always talk. Only now the talk is almost sounding... well... plausible.

== Speaking of Sf flicks... and erudition about SF! ==

We watched and enjoyed the scientifically meticulous "Stowaway" on Netflix... a carefully re-adjusted and updated version of Tom Godwin's classic "The Cold Equations," with some surprises.

And the Hillary Swank one-season series "Away," which coulda done with a somewhat lower ratio of tearful, soapy stuff to science and sci fi.  But we enjoyed it and wish it had continued.

Here's a preview of another apparently meticulous or at least well-verbiaged film about a first interstellar colony.  Overwrought premise, of course. Even if the Earth's atmosphere were soaked in sulfuric acid, vastly more folks could live under the sea than on the planet one star away that this flick will portray. Still... looks to be fun.

I mentioned that my new nonfiction book has more original concepts and peeks behinf the curtain than you could shake a thunb (up or down) at! Still there are interesting deep-scholarship dives into written SF worth perusing.  For example: an important essay by Christopher Hitchens on “Why Orwell Matters” dives into the lessons about despotism and its tools that you’ll find in all three of the great author’s mightiest works, so powerful that I call them among the greatest “self-preventing prophecies.” 

Professor Tom Lombardo is podcasting a very informative and erudite series of lectures (and part one is now a book) on the roots and evolution of science fiction, from ancient myths to Mary Shelley and Verne, to Stapledon and so on, with lots of names and links I never heard of. The first 3 lectures are free and the rest cheap at $15.

Ezra Klein offers a cool interview with my colleague, the epic short story writer (e.g. “The Arrival”) Ted Chiang.

And here's fun and cogent and wise interview with rising sci fi star Eliot Peper about the essential purpose and function of sci fic.

AGain, it's trivial to sign up fot my just-once or-twice-per-year NEWSLETTER

Be seeing you around...


duncan cairncross said...

Continuing from the conversation in the last posting

The west is going "Right Wing" - IMHO this is a short term problem and is one of the effects of leaded petrol

Lead causes brain damage in children - a loss of empathy - which never heals We boomers and half of the next generation are brain damaged - in our peak crime years we doubled the homicide rate - now in our "peak voting years" we give you BREXIT, Trump and a slide to the right - but the non brain damaged generations are approaching the ages where they will get of their butts and vote so it will be a short term problem

What would have happened if the war had ended with Germany occupying most of Europe?

Back in Roman days that would have given the new "Empire" a large population to provide fighting men

IMHO that time is long gone - instead those conquered countries would have provided a drain the whole wealth of Germany would have drained away just keeping them in order

The USSR did manage to make something of a profit from its conquered countries but mainly because for most it was a "liberator"
And even that "profit" is debatable

Today conquering a country and hoping to make any type of "profit" is wishful thinking
Individuals (Cheney) and companies may make a profit but the "Conquering Country" will LOSE

Tony Fisk said...

Creideiki rules!
Not sure if I'm already subscribed or not (as you say, infrequent mailings). Am now.*

* What do you have against robots? Do you not serve their kind on May 4?

toduro said...

"For All Mankind" flew into my radar screen a few days ago.

Would welcome opinion(s) from the community here on how good/bad it is.

According to IDMB:

"In an alternative version of 1969, the Soviet Union beats the United States to the Moon, and the space race continues on for decades with still grander challenges and goals."

 Ashley said...

Cool for cats, as the kids say, or not. I don't know. I just imagine things.

Anyway, another film I caught the other night on Netflix that was positive SF for a better future'ish was Time Trap. Better than TeneT, which while visually stunning and very clever, too clever for its own good, failed abysmally on could I care about the character front.

And congrats on the bew covers, re-release and edits.

Der Oger said...

Duncan Cairnross:
The west is going "Right Wing" - IMHO this is a short term problem and is one of the effects of leaded petrol

I respectfully disagree. While I don't rule out that lead may be a contributing factor, it is a multitude of aspects and dynamics that influence the issue.

I am fond of quoting "14 Points of Fascism" both by Lawrence Britt and Umberto Eco, both as a tool of determining whether a system is or becomes fascist/authoritarian, and a way to determine possible remedies and starting points to avoid that fate.

Robert said...

From last posting: you do have to oppose their attempts at undermining America and not worry about whether you hurt their feelings in the process

Not an American, so there's little I can do. All my efforts are going into stopping the craziness that's leaking across the border…

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

What do you have against robots? Do you not serve their kind on May 4?

Shouldn't that be "May the fourth"? :)

Larry Hart said...

Tony Fisk:

Not sure if I'm already subscribed or not

Well, if you were already subscribed under the same e-mail, it would have told you that. At least it did for me.

Larry Hart said...

scidata under the previous post:

Don't be too hard on yourselves. The AAAS, Planetary Society, BOINC, and many other American bodies are working very hard on that exact goal. And I lived and taught in Chicagoland long enough to see your good side.

I don't doubt that America has its good side. I love my country. But even though the decent people outnumber the deplorables, the Constitutional design of our government gives the deplorables an outsized influence over policy, and essentially a veto over anything they'd care to exercise it over. 41 Senators out of 100 aren't enough to pass legislation, but they are enough to obstruct any legislation, and obstruction is all that the deplorables are interested in.

We have our share of reprobates up here too. I've even heard the theory that Trump was originally inspired by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. Don't ask.

The story about Rob Ford did get some press down here at the time. I don't remember all of the details, but I do remember it was kind of gross and hilarious at the same time. And yes, the Trumpiness was evident, in his case as well as Britain's Boris Johnson. Your countryman Dave Sim would be seeing echoes and reflections all over the place.

Larry Hart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

..a saga that then continues in the second trilogy, starting with Brightness Reef, Infinity's Shore, and Heaven's Reach, starting with a planet of refugees but then carried (*** see below ***) across five galaxies in convulsion! Available in both paperback and ebook versions. Enjoy!

It's your judgement and all how you want to promote your own work, but I'm glad I didn't have the bolded parenthetical spoiled for me when I read Brightness Reef for the first time. The fact that it's a surprise toward the end,--and even so, only hinted at until the next book--is part of the charm.

Duncan Ocel said...

@Larry Hart "I love my country"

Is love really a verb that can be applied to countries/nations/states? Of the greek variants, ( "philia" seems the most likely to possibly apply, but that's only if a country can be reimagined as personally as an immediate community.

Larry Hart said...

Duncan Ocel:

Is love really a verb that can be applied to countries/nations/states?

I love the idea of what America is supposed to be, as exemplified in Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca, and "Captain America" comic books of the 1970s.

Admittedly, the real thing has lost some of her charms, having acquired a taste for the jackboot. But then I've never been good at letting love go. I keep hoping she'll come to her senses.

Tony Fisk said...

@Larry Hart

What do you have against robots? Do you not serve their kind on May 4?

Shouldn't that be "May the fourth"? :)

Well, yes, if the rest of the sentence isn't hint enough for you.

Given that FB is about to give the thumbs verdict on the former resident, I can only hope May 5 doesn't have a real reason to be known as 'Revenge of the Fifth'!

David Brin said...

Right after May the Fourth comes Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates a dramatic victory over a different 'evil empire' - a victory achieved by normal heroes and not by Lucasian demigods. So does that make today "Revenge of the Fifth"?

Does Tequilla even come in fifths?

Larry Hart said...

As a summer person, I can't wait for the Return of the July.

Jon S. said...

Tequila means that the following day is Revenge of the Sixth.

Larry Hart said...

A while back, there was a link posted here to a tongue-in-cheek article asserting that our written history of WWII was obviously fictional because too many of the names involved were obviously symbolic.

To that list of impossible-to-believe synchronistic names, I would add the "Bell" telephone system and "Pasture-ized" milk.

Someone is writing this stuff.

Daniel Duffy said...

Apparently if mankind ever encounters Alien intelligences it will be because we have created them by uplifting:

60 Million Stars and Not One Alien Detected

>Looking for aliens along a line of sight that extends from Earth to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way comes with advantages and disadvantages.

>The advantage is that the density of stars increases with distance to the galactic center. Accordingly, this line of sight “offers the largest number of potentially habitable systems of any direction in the sky,” according to the study. What’s more, the relatively close proximity of these stars to each other could “accelerate development of interstellar communication and travel,” which could contribute to the rise of “advanced space-faring societies,” as the SETI scientists write in their paper.

>The disadvantage is that things get a bit hairy beyond a certain point. Like the solar system, the Milky Way has its own habitable zone, beyond which life cannot emerge. Indeed, the inner region of our galaxy (i.e. the region outside the galactic habitable zone) is a high-radiation environment filled with gamma rays, exploding supernovae, and clouds of gas that reach millions of degrees. The hulking supermassive black hole at the galactic core presents another hazard entirely.

Ok, let's crunch the numbers. 60 million is about 1/2000th of the number of stars in the Milky Way. So roughly speaking, if their were 2,000 alien civilizations in the galaxy we might have seen one with this past survey.

According to the latest update of the Drake equation, we may need to do a lot more looking:

>In effect, this means their revised equation takes into account the idea that a planet must exist for around 5 billion years in the habitable zone around a star before it can develop intelligent life with the capability to communicate across the universe. The duo placed three different sets of limits on these "suitable planets" harboring life with weak, moderate and strong categories with different time frames for life to arise.

>When plugging the strongest limits and numbers into their complex new equation, which they dubbed the CETI Equation, the data reveals there could be a minimum of eight CETI civilizations within the Milky Way. Such an estimate is relatively close to the figure of 10 that famed astronomer Carl Sagan came up with when discussing the Drake Equation on the '80s science show Cosmos.

>There is a catch: Those worlds are at least 7,000 light-years away -- making it almost impossible for us to contact them. The team estimated we would need to be actively searching for signals from space for around 6,300 years before we might receive messages from another civilization.

>On the other hand, using weaker limits, Westby and Conselice suggest there could be as many as 2,900 worlds where life has found a way that means we may be able to detect them sooner.

So we may not be absolutely alone in the galaxy, but given how vast the galaxy is if there are only a dozen or so alien civs out there then for all intents and purposes we are alone.