12 DEC 2017 by ideonexus

 Two Kinds of Science-Fiction Innovations

Most common are the fictions that begin with Jules Verne, and concern the single artifact—a submarine, flying machine, or death ray—and its consquence for all of humanity. These extraordinary voyages—to use Verne's term—play along the fault line between what we think we are and what we can do. Nemo is no accident, or a tragic figure, but the natural consequence of the intersection between present-day humanity and extraordinary technology. Even 2001: A Space Odyssey plays on the same t...
Folksonomies: futurism science fiction
Folksonomies: futurism science fiction
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07 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Scientists in New Atlantis

"These are (my son) the riches of Salomon's House. "For the several employments and offices of our fellows; we have twelve that sail into foreign countries, under the names of other nations, (for our own we conceal); who bring us the books, and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call Merchants of Light. "We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books. These we call Depredators. "We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical...
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 1937 Description of Lightspeed Travel

After a while I noticed that the sun and all the stars in his neighborhood were ruddy. Those at the opposite pole of the heaven were of an icy blue. The explanation of this strange phenomenon flashed upon me. I was still traveling, and traveling so fast that light itself was not wholly indifferent to my passage. The overtaking undulations took long to catch me. They therefore affected me as slower pulsations than they normally were, and I saw them therefore as red. Those that met me on my hea...
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 The Receiving Set

In radio and television, for instance, the Other Men were technically far ahead of us, but the use to which they put their astounding inventions was disastrous. In civilized countries everyone but the pariahs carried a pocket receiving set. As the Other Men had no music, this may seem odd; but since they lacked newspapers, radio was the only means by which the man in the street could learn the lottery and sporting results which were his staple mental diet. The place of music, moreover, was ta...
Folksonomies: science fiction
Folksonomies: science fiction
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 A Completely Passive State of Being

During my last years on the Other Earth a system was invented by which a man could retire to bed for life and spend all his time receiving radio programs. His nourishment and all his bodily functions were attended to by doctors and nurses attached to the Broadcasting Authority. In place of exercise he received periodic massage. Participation in the scheme was at first an expensive luxury, but its inventors hoped to make it at no distant date available to all. It was even expected that in time...
Folksonomies: science fiction
Folksonomies: science fiction
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 The Need for Science-Based Organization

Some time shortly after the invention of the graphical Internet, it became ripely apparent that humanity was fucking itself with its own technology and was on the fast path toward societal morbidity. We maximized energy extraction without perfecting clean use, accelerated manufacturing technologies and global supply chains without developing socioeconomic models to cope with the disruptions, and modified life itself without having any perspective on what modifications would actually, in the ...
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29 DEC 2016 by ideonexus

 The Irrelevance of Current Events

Chang told him that there were other books published up to about the middle of 1930 which would doubtless be added to the shelves eventually; they had already arrived at the lamasery. "We keep ourselves fairly up-to-date, you see," he commented. "There are people who would hardly agree with you," replied Conway with a smile. "Quite a lot of things have happened in the world since last year, you know." "Nothing of importance, my dear sir, that could not have been foreseen in 1920, or that wi...
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29 DEC 2016 by ideonexus

 Science Fiction Gave Literature New Frontiers

The shift in subject matter from westerns to science fiction was probably already underway when Burroughs began writing. The frontier, which had been such a key feature of American popular fiction, was rapidly disappearing, and writers had begun looking for new frontiers—hence, the increasing number of stories about lost civilizations in unexplored parts of the world. But even the unexplored parts of the world were shrinking rapidly, and as new technologies, such as aircraft and rocketry, b...
Folksonomies: history science fiction
Folksonomies: history science fiction
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Burroughs "Princess of Mars" even has the protagonist go from the Western frontier to a Martian desert. Wastelands are frontiers as well.

29 DEC 2016 by ideonexus

 How Science Fiction Got Its Start with Frakenstein

It’s not completely fanciful to say that science fiction began with three things: a dead frog, a volcano, and a teenage bride. The dead frog was one that an Italian physician named Luigi Galvani was experimenting with in the 1780s, when he found that a mild electric shock could cause the frog’s leg to twitch. It was just an induced muscle reflex, but it suggested that there might be a connection between electricity and life. The volcano was Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which exploded in ...
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09 JUN 2016 by ideonexus

 Cyberpunk and Post-Cyberpunk

Cyber is now an intrinsic part of our lives in ways that build off of, parallel, and contradict what was imagined in the early days of the genre. Looking up the etymology of the word cyberpunk I found this gem: “Cyber is such a perfect prefix. Because nobody has any idea what it means, it can be grafted onto any old word to make it seem new, cool — and therefore strange, spooky. [New York magazine, Dec. 23, 1996]” We do seem to be past that point. Snapchat (or whatever else I’m missin...
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