The CBCBooks contest I mentioned in my last entry was to send tweets from 100 years hence. CBC Books has been publishing ones selected by the SFCanada collective (which thus makes me Five of Six), grouped by subject. Enjoy!
. . . more to come.
The overall winner of the competition, as chosen by Robert J Sawyer, will be announced on October 31.
For the latter part of this month, CBC (Canada Broadcasting Corporation) has turned its Canada Writes pages over to the SFnal set, in “Canada Writes – a Sci-Fi Odyssey“.
I’m a bit late on this (one of those weeks when I growl “You did this to your own self,” at my own pathetic put-upon face in the mirror) but here are the entries so far.
And yes, my name is there! I get to stand under the Twitterfall on Wednesday as one of the readers for their Twitter competition. (Further details, including theme, coming soon).
Readercon is imminent (Burlington, MA), and I have posted my schedule over at my main website. I have six panels, wide range of topics:
- Subversion through friendliness
- Podcasting for the Speculative Fiction Author; Or, Will the Revolution Be Recorded?
- Kurzweil and Chopra, Ghosts in the Same Shell
- Making Science Sound Like Science
- Paranormal Plagues
- Mapping the Parallels
Notes from a panel at last week’s Farthing Party. titled “Generation Starships”, description, “Are we there yet?” (anyone who has ever traveled with a child, or traveled as a child, knows that one), and the panelists were Alec Austin, Jo Walton, Debra Doyle, Helen Wright, Marie Bilodeau, and myself.
Jo kicked off by saying that there had been a panel at August’s Pi-Con (the con with the unscheduled hurricane track), with a guest from the 100 year starship project, and there’d been a discussion as to who the ideal group to send on such a project (NB: monks have might have a social advantage, but hey, it’s supposed to be a generation ship). So we talked about that, and other things, and tossed around the names of books.
Various points touched on in passing:
- who the ideal crew might be: Tibetans, Tibetan monks, Jesuits. Homogenous group with a common mission. Do consider future generations. Do not send all celibate monks. [AS thinks: . . . unless you come up with a tech solution]
- the ethical aspects of choosing to board a generation ship, in making that choice for one’s descendants (and whether that differs substantially from the choice one makes in emigrating at all, or indeed in choosing to have children)
- how to maintain the traits in subsequent generations that the first generation were selected for, ie, the willingness to get on a generation ship [AS thinks: cloning would at least ensure the genetic substrate was there], and how to maintain morale in the first generation themselves, young adventurous people who were committing to spend the rest of their lives in a small, constrained environment.
- whether an authoritarian regime is the only means of ensuring that the generations-long project will not be abandoned or altered
- whether an authoritarian regime is an inevitable (d)evolution of governance in a small closed society in a hostile environment
- whether the development of a caste or guild system is inevitable, to protect/ensure the transmission of essential knowledge
- the need for a solid education (Jesuits again) to ensure that critical skill sets are maintained, and a local folklore for transmission of the needed cultural attributes
- how the generation ship could protect itself against acts of sabotage or terrorism from a single disaffected individual or small group, whether a suicidally depressed crewperson or psychotic captain [AS thinks: need very sound psychiatry department]
- the need for training and socialization in how to get along with each other. One of the audience (Theresa Neilsen Hayden) had just returned from a trip to the Netherlands, where conflict resolution is taught in school, with beneficial effects
- how large the population needs to be to maintain a healthy society. City size? [I quite liked the idea of launching Montréal into space. Particularly when contemplating winter] Asteroid size.
- various points at which a generation ship story is told: beginning of the voyage, during the voyage, end of the voyage
Fiction mentioned (probably incomplete):
- James SA Corey, Leviathan Wakes
- Ben Bova, Exiles trilogy (Exiled from Earth; Flight of Exiles; End of Exile)
- CJ Cherryh, Foreigner novels.
- Greg Bear, The Forge of God; The Anvil of Stars
- Robert A Heinlein. “Orphans of the Sky.”
- Joe Haldeman, Tricentennial.
- Poul Anderson. “Goal at the Starbow’s End.”
- David Brin and Gregory Benford. “Heart of the Comet”
- Ursula le Guin. “Paradise is lost.” in The Birthday of the World.
- Elizabeth Bear. Jacob’s Ladder books (Dust; Chill; Grail)
- Gene Wolfe. Book of the Long Sun.
- Molly Gloss. The Dazzle of Day.
- Ken McLeod. Learning the World.
- Alexei Panshin. Rite of Passage.
Books bought. Severely limited by wish to carry on luggage. I was getting into Montréal after midnight and I did not want to wait up to 45 minutes for my luggage to appear.
- Kilpatric, Nancy (ed). Evolve Two: Vampire stories of the future undead. Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.
- Czerneda Julie, MacGregor Susan (eds). Tesseracts 15. Edge Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing. Very good anthology of YA short stories.
- Marley, Louise. Mozart’s Blood. Kensington.
- Mallet, Nathalie. The King’s Daughters. Nightshade.
On the way to When Words Collide, Calgary: Montréal to Toronto, Toronto to Calgary.
Un-tweets (because what’s the point of sending a tweet out hours after the fact):
- Reminded of the downside of morning flights: Generous helpings of newspapers, all around, fresh from the presses. Ink makes my nose sting.
- Somehow cannot look down at yellow and green quilted landscape with frothy clouds on top without seeing the primeval or post-apocalyptic version.
- Also cannot look down at suburban sprawl without seeing pathology slides, all these nests of cells. Toronto doesn’t look terribly high grade.
- The 1962 movie of “Day of the Triffids” has title, triffids, meteors, mass blindness, and character-names. As to the rest, leftover war-movie footage?
In-flight reading (preparation for my panel on doctors in SF):
- Westfahl G. No cure for the future: disease and medicine in science fiction and fantasy. Westport Conn.: Greenwood Press; 2002. In particular, “No Cure for the Future: How doctors struggle to survive in science fiction” (Hampton and McKay), “Doctors of the Mind: Effective mental therapy and its implications (Greg Bear), “From Dr. Frankenstein to Dr. McCoy: MDs and PhDs in science fiction” (Miller).
- Sleight G. Review: No Cure for the Present, Either. Science Fiction Studies. 2004 Mar;31(1):156-161. (a review of No Cure for the Future)
- Kirby DA. The New Eugenics in Cinema: Genetic Determinism and Gene Therapy in “GATTACA.”Science Fiction Studies. 2000 Jul;27(2):193-215. (Kirby’s publication list, with links to his other writing on scientists and film).
- Orizio G, Gelatti U. Do mechanical doctors dream of electric sheep? Using science fiction to look into the future of public health. J Public Health (Oxf). 2010 Jun;32(2):288-290.