AMAZING NEWS: 01/31/21

Today’s highlight? Scientists warning that we can’t control AI and Generals demanding that weshouldn’t control AI.

Astronomers identify a stellar system comprised of three binary pairs, and they’re all eclipsing binaries.

First they got rid of vellum, then illuminated manuscripts;  then they dropped cursive writing and now?  Now they’re dropping Chaucer.

An interview with Jeff VanderMeer references Thoreau, Kerouac and Pat Frank.

Charles Saunders obit:  Pioneered black heroes and themes.

Avi Loeb, Harvard Astronomer, out on an asteroidal limb

New Dune Trailer.  (This has been dragging on for so long, I hardly care anymore)

Mrytle Douglas:  Cosplay Pioneer.

Artist Ron Miller unearths a cut-a-way illustration of the von Braun space station (familiar to space and SF fans of the 50s & 60s)

Japan considers changing copyright rules in the face of Cosplayer featuring copyrighted characters

PR for the new DragonLance series

Stupefying Stories reviews The Day of the Triffids

Hey!  THIS might be a good idea:  Ban MAGA from Conventions

The Latest News about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

FANAC.org presents The Genie.  A short film featuring Forest J Ackerman and Fritz Leiber

First Native American wins Caldecott Medal

Star Trek: Lower Decks.  A Review

Paradox-Free Time Travel?  Mathematically, it appears to be possible.

Robots iz 100.

Edward Marsh adds to the SDSU Library

The Anthropocene is experiencing a major extinction event, starting with the insects

Babylon 5 has been remastered

A declaration from leading scientists has proclaimed that animals share awareness

Science Fiction Dictionary unveiled

A new study suggests that humans will not be able to control AIs.  Well DUH.

The age of the rich bitch in orbit is upon us:  Private Crew to take Private Company Rocket to the ISS.

“Heh-heh.  Heh-heh.”  Pee Wee Herman stars in Jurassic Park.

Shades of Andromeda Strain:  “alien” protein found in asteroid.

Paul Levinson’s The Silk Code featured by Awesome Indie Book Awards

Amazing Stories publisher interviewed by Romanian SF Magazine Utopia

A “For Real” Cloverfield sequel is announced.  Maybe.

Six Things Literary Agents Don’t Do

Trump and followers have a “shared psychosis” according to psychologists

Now when you die, you can choose Composting as an alternative to cremation and inhumation

Remember that piece up above about humans not being able to control AI?  Well, here’s a US Army General arguing that we need to take the restraints off of battlefield AI.

FROM OVER THE TRANSOM:

JMS Patreon announces the soon to be released submission guidelines for LDV.  Sign up for the Patreon to learn more.

DL Gardner passes on Valentine’s Day wishes:

Happy

Valentine’s Day

What’s more important on St. Valentine’s Day than a little love? And I would LOVE for you to read my new romance novel. A little paranormal, a little humor, a mystery, and of course a budding relationship set in a frontier town (fashioned after Port Townsend in WA).

Set in 1879 Adele’s parents are sentenced to hang for murder, She moves into an elegant home with her aristocratic aunt and uncle. Dealing with the stigma that comes from having criminal parents, Adele must adjust to an elite society more elegant than the small shellfish-harvesting community she’s accustomed to. Her uncle is coordinating an effort to bring the Northern Pacific Railway to their town and has eyes on a 900-acre property next to his mansion to be used as the depot,

Adele, given a room in a tower of her uncle’s manor, becomes curious when she witnesses a strange phenomenon in the abandoned ruins on the other side of the wrought-iron fence.

**

Grai Madison, a young architect, is about to inherit his grandfather’s estate when he is brutally stabbed and robbed. With his spirit detached, and his life hanging on by a thread, his ghost revives him, and the two hide in the rubble of his grandfather’s property, hoping to heal, to meld together, and to expose the would-be murderers.

What happens when Adele seeks to satisfy her curiosity and wanders into the neighbor’s garden?

Even if you don’t like paranormal I think you will find this story intriguing!  Hoarfrost to Roses will be available wherever eBooks are sold, and you can currently pre-order from select merchants. (more merchants added daily)


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Did you get a chance to enter the drawing for a $25 Amazon Gift Card with the Silver Dagger Book Tour? Hurry! Ends soon.

Orbit Books unveils Orbit 21 New Voices
The future looks bright for genre readers as we invite you to meet our 2021 debut authors!

Visit orbtibooks.net for our publishing schedule of 2021 debuts. We’ll be adding new titles, covers, excerpts and more as the year goes on, so bookmark this page, or follow us on social media for more updates.

 

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Clarke Center announces Clarion West Winter Program

Clarion Workshop
Winter Writers Series
The Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop is pleased to host the Winter Writers Series, a monthly series of conversations between Clarion alumni and instructors about the art of speculative fiction and their writing careers. These conversations, co-hosted by Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, are presented via Zoom Webinars and are free and open to the public. Each conversation will include time for Q&A with the audience.
Make sure to RSVP to each event individually via the links below:
Writing the Magic and the Real
February 24, 2021, 5pm PT / 8pm ET (register here)
On February 24th, join us for a conversation between Andrea Hairston, Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi and Sanjena Sathian about how they approach blending elements of realism—including historical events and contemporary culture—and the fantastic in their fiction.
Andrea Hairston is a playwright, novelist, and scholar. She has published three novels: Will Do Magic For Small Change, a finalist for the Mythopoeic, Lambda, and Tiptree Awards, a Massachusetts Must Read, and a New York Times Editor’s pick; Redwood and Wildfire, winner of the Tiptree and Carl Brandon Awards; Mindscape, winner of the Carl Brandon Award. Lonely Stardust, a collection of essays and plays, was published by Aqueduct press. Her play, Thunderbird at the Next World Theatre, appears in Geek Theater — 15 Plays by Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers. “Griots of the Galaxy,” a short story, appears in So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Visions of the Future. A novelette, “Saltwater Railroad,” was published by Lightspeed Magazine. “Dumb House,” a short story appears in New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color. Andrea has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her newest novel, Master of Poisons, was published by Tor/Macmillan in 2020. In her spare time, Andrea is the Louise Wolff Kahn 1931 Professor of Theatre and Africana Studies at Smith College and the Artistic Director of Chrysalis Theatre. She bikes at night year round, meeting bears, multi-legged creatures of light and breath, and the occasional shooting star.
Kiik Araki-Kawaguchi writes dreampop speculative fictions and darkwave minimalist poetry that can be enjoyed on a bus ride or in line for coffee. All his best stories have something to do with talking insects. His best poems are X-Men fan fiction. He is the author of DISINTEGRATION MADE PLAIN AND EASY (1913 Press) and THE BOOK OF KANE AND MARGARET (FC2 / UAP).
Sanjena Sathian was raised in Georgia by Indian immigrant parents. She’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, an alumna of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, and a former Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow. She has also worked as a journalist in San Francisco and in Mumbai. Her award winning short fiction appears or is forthcoming in Conjunctions, Boulevard, Joyland, Salt Hill, and The Master’s Review. She’s written nonfiction for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Food and Wine, The Boston Globe, The Juggernaut, The Millions, OZY, and more. She has taught creative writing to high school, college, graduate, and post-graduate level students in Iowa, Alaska, India, and New Zealand. Her debut novel, Gold Diggers, will be released by Penguin on April 6, 2021.
Science Fiction: Balancing Worldbuilding and Narrative
March 24, 2021, 5pm PT / 8pm ET (register here)
Join us for a conversation about the art of creating science fictional worlds and the stories that bring them to life with Cory Doctorow, Karen Osborne, and Kali Wallace, three incredible writers and Clarion alumni.
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, and journalist. His latest book is ATTACK SURFACE, a standalone adult sequel to LITTLE BROTHER. He is also the author HOW TO DESTROY SURVEILLANCE CAPITALISM, nonfiction about conspiracies and monopolies; and of RADICALIZED and WALKAWAY, science fiction for adults, a YA graphic novel called IN REAL LIFE; and young adult novels like HOMELANDPIRATE CINEMA and LITTLE BROTHER. His first picture book was POESY THE MONSTER SLAYER (Aug 2020). He maintains a daily blog at Pluralistic.net. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is a MIT Media Lab Research Affiliate, is a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at Open University, a Visiting Professor of Practice at the University of North Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group. Born in Toronto, Canada, he now lives in Los Angeles.
Karen Osborne is a speculative fiction writer and visual storyteller living in Baltimore. She is a Nebula finalist and graduate of Viable Paradise as well the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. Osborne has won awards for her news & opinion writing, and her short fiction appears in Uncanny, Fireside, Escape Pod, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and more. Architects of Memory is her debut sf novel and its sequel, Engines of Oblivion, will be released on 2/9/21.
For most of her life Kali Wallace was going to be a scientist when she grew up. She studied geology in college, partly because she could get course credit for hiking and camping, and eventually earned a PhD in geophysics researching earthquakes in India and the Himalayas. Only after she had her shiny new doctorate in hand did she admit that she loved inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked exploring the real one. Her first novel for adults, the science fiction horror-thriller Salvation Day, is now available from Berkley. She is also the author of the young adult novels Shallow Graves and The Memory Trees and the children’s fantasy novel City of Islands. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov’s, Lightspeed, and Tor.com. She was born in Colorado and spent most of her life there, but now lives in southern California. Her newest novel, Dead Space, comes out on 3/2/21.
Other News from the Clarke Center
Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion
Empathy Fellows
We have long held that imagination enables empathy, and so we are pleased to be working with the support of the Sanford Institute’s Center for Research on Empathy and Compassion on a project to enhance the neurobehavioral effects of compassion training using immersive visual imagery.
The ability to produce mental imagery, one of the facets commonly attributed to “imagination,” varies greatly across individuals. Some individuals can produce hyperrealistic mental images while those with aphantasia cannot produce mental images whatsoever. This neurodiversity of imagination is one of the key research questions the Clarke Center is presently engaged in, and this project brings together our team’s expertise in neuroscience, psychology, visual processing, and XR development to build new systems to study how AR/VR imagery may be used to enhance visualization practices that cultivate compassion and for whom this kind of augmentative support is most impactful.
As part of the engagement with the Sanford Institute, four Clarke Center members have been named Sanford Fellows: Drs. Cassandra Vieten, Ying Wu, Robert Twomey, and Clarke Center postdoc Jon Paden.
We are grateful to the Sanford Institute for their support and to UC San Diego for enabling of this kind of important, interdisciplinary work.
Into the Impossible:
Leonard Mlodinow: My Friend, Stephen Hawking
Leonard Mlodinow was Stephen’s closest colleague in his final years. Who better to put us in the room as Hawking indulges his passion for wine and curry; shares his feelings on love, death, and disability; and grapples with deep questions of philosophy and physics. Whether depicting Hawking’s devotion to his work or demonstrating how he would make spur of the moment choices, such as punting on the River Cam (despite the risk the jaunt posed), or spinning tales of Hawking defiantly urinating in the hedges outside a restaurant that doesn’t have a wheelchair-accessible toilet, Mlodinow captures his indomitable spirit. This deeply affecting account of a friendship teaches us not just about the nature and practice of physics but also about life and the human capacity to overcome daunting obstacles.
Len received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California, Berkeley, was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the Max Planck Institute and was on the faculty of the California Institute of Technology. His previous books include the bestsellers The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time (coauthored with Stephen Hawking), Subliminal (winner of the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award), and War of the Worldviews (with Deepak Chopra), as well as Elastic, Euclid’s Window, Feynman’s Rainbow, and The Upright Thinkers.
For more information, follow host Brian Keating:
Leonard Mlodinow: My Friend, Stephen Hawking
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