Lockdown

Photograph of a crumbling prison
Photograph by Marcin Haszczu

Today is the anniversary of the closing of Alcatraz, one of the most infamous prisons of all time. So we’ve put together a short post about prisons, freedom, and their representation in sci-fi and fantasy.

-io9 covers 10 of the greatest prison breaks in sci-fi and fantasy

-An impressive review of 14 of the ‘freakiest’ prisons

-Bitch Magazine explores the concepts of retribution, punishment and freedom in the context of sci-fi prisons

-Robert Heinlein’s penal sci-fi classic ‘The Moon is a Harsh Mistress‘ will be adapted to film by X-Men director Brian Singer

-Wired writes on the new sci-fi prison comic series ‘Bitch Planet’

-Finally, the amazingly gory and hilarious Adult Swim show ‘Superjail’

Michael Pryor on why everyone should GET HARD

by Michael Pryor

Hard SF can be a hard sell. Of all the multifarious and diverse aspects of Science Fiction, Hard Science Fiction is the one most likely to get non-readers recoiling in horror. It’s the SF sub-genre most parodied, most vilified and most misunderstood.

Which is a shame because, as with most things, the best of it is superb. Hard SF discusses, foregrounds and takes seriously an aspect of modern life that is shamefully neglected in literary fiction: science and technology. If these feature in literary fiction today, it’s superficially or with, at best, a jaundiced eye. Continue reading

Gibson and the cyberpunks

A man in a leather coat with intrusive augmentationsThis week saw the anniversary of William Gibson’s birth. Gibson is one of the canonical writers of early cyberpunk fiction, and his book Neuromancer was the first to win all three of the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick awards. Today’s post hits up some of the interviews that shed light on Gibson, as well as a few nicks and nacks.

-The Paris Review provides an excellent precis of Gibson’s literary life along with an in-depth interview

-An audio interview between the BBC World Service and Gibson (49 minutes)

-Bruce Bethke, whose eponymous story gave name to the subculture, writes on the etymology of ‘cyberpunk’

-The Guardian speaks with Gibson in the wake of the release of his latest book The Peripheral

-In contrast, an interview with Gibson back from 1985, which includes a prescient prediction about Michael Jackson

-6 cyberpunk books to introduce you to the cyberpunk literary genre

-The trajectory of cyberpunk is traced by the Guardian

-A video from the Chicago Humanities Festival, where Gibson speaks on the decline of ‘Cyberspace’

-For a laugh, here’s Lorem Gibson – a website that provides filler text, ala Lorem Ipsum, based on Gibson’s work