Today is a hell of a day to be a science fiction fan. There's a new issue of the Subterranean out, including stories from Mike Resnick, Charles Stross, and Gene Wolf. If that wasn't enough to make you proclaim today Official Do Nothing Else But Read Subterranean Day, there's even Elizabeth Bear audio, an interview with her, and original fiction. Seriously.
I was partnered with Shekhar Kapur -- who has a blog now, of all things. Huh. This seemed like a pretty spiffy idea. He was just off Elizabeth, and the canny executive's thinking was that the future, to a great degree, is a costume drama in the opposite direction. That is, there'd be lots of things that need explaining, totally different political and social situations the audience must understand instantly, and quite a lot different wardrobes and thingamabobs the audience should find fascinating rather than ridiculous.
This means that
- There was, at one time, a very good chance Foundation would make it to the screen.
- The screenwriter was someone who loves and understands not only the genre, but the source material, as well.
Right now, it seems unlikely that it will make it into production, but the fact that a studio was willing to do it gave me a Seldon Crisis in my pants.
With permission from Tor, I am making an electronic version of The Android's Dream available to US servicefolks serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and other points overseas. This e-book version is an .rtf version of the text (about 900kb) I turned into Tor (i.e., a few copyedit flubs here and there) which is easily modifiable for whatever thing folks in the field have to look at text through. This e-book version is free to them, and given with thanks for their service.
I think it's insanely cool that he's doing this, and hope to follow in his footsteps with some of my own work one day.
Cory Doctorow has a fantastic essay in Locus titled The Progressive Apocalypse and Other Futurismic Delights, about . . . well, just read it.
SF films and TV are great fonts of futurismic imagery: R2D2 is a fully conscious AI, can hack the firewall of the Death Star, and is equipped with a range of holographic projectors and antipersonnel devices — but no one has installed a $15 sound card and some text-to-speech software on him, so he has to whistle like Harpo Marx. Or take the Starship Enterprise, with a transporter capable of constituting matter from digitally stored plans, and radios that can breach the speed of light.
The non-futurismic version of NCC-1701 would be the size of a softball (or whatever the minimum size for a warp drive, transporter, and subspace radio would be). It would zip around the galaxy at FTL speeds under remote control. When it reached an interesting planet, it would beam a stored copy of a landing party onto the surface, and when their mission was over, it would beam them back into storage, annihilating their physical selves until they reached the next stopping point. If a member of the landing party were eaten by a green-skinned interspatial hippie or giant toga-wearing galactic tyrant, that member would be recovered from backup by the transporter beam. Hell, the entire landing party could consist of multiple copies of the most effective crewmember onboard: no redshirts, just a half-dozen instances of Kirk operating in clonal harmony.
Finally, one more bit from Subterranean:
This special edition of Ray Bradbury’s seminal collection, Golden Apples of the Sun, not only restores the original 1953 table of contents–including such classics as “The Pedestrian,” “A Sound of Thunder,” and “The Fog Horn”–it also features, for the first time anywhere, play versions of two of these extraordinary tales, printed in facsimile format, exactly as Bradbury originally wrote them.
As with our other Bradbury titles, Golden Apples of the Sun will be printed in two colors throughout.
The lettered edition, the only version signed by Mr. Bradbury, will contain additional material not in the numbered edition.
Limited: 300 numbered copies (unsigned): $50
Lettered: 26 signed copies, housed in a custom traycase, with material not in the numbered edition: $750
I know it's $750, but I want. I want. I want. I want. I want. I want. I want! I don't care about autographs, I really don't . . . but I met Ray Bradbury once at a dinner to honor Gene Roddenberry in the late 80s, and I chickened out when I had the chance then. There are probably a dozen authors in the universe (most of them deceased) who I would like to have signed books from, and he's one of them.
Sigh. In some parallel universe, I live a life where I can drop $750 on a signed book, just because I want to do it.
Well, it's still a great day to be a science fiction fan, isn't it?