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 augmentations

May 2015 Update: A fascinating (and in-depth) article from the New York Review of Books about Gibson’s works and life

This 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

Aurealis wants YOU!

Aurealis, Australia’s most successful Science Fiction and Fantasy magazine, is looking for an Editor-in-Chief to oversee the direction and management of the Aurealis digital platforms – including the Aurealis.com.au Blog and social media accounts.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • A desire to make a mark on the Fantasy and Science Fiction landscape
  • Experience writing for online publication – whether that’s blogs or digital magazines
  • An understanding of social media best practices and execution
  • The ability to manage a small group of contributors
  • Impeccable time-management skills
  • An interest in genre stories and storytelling

If you feel as though you meet the above criteria, and are interested in joining Australia’s foremost F+SF magazine, send an email to Dan at the below address with your relevant experience and your reasons for wanting to take over Aurealis Digital’s top gig.

We look forward to hearing from you.

CONTACT NAME – Dan Allan
CONTACT EMAIL – dan.aurealis@gmail.com
WEBSITE – https://www.aurealis.com.au
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/AurealisFSF
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/AurealisMag, https://twitter.com/AurealisBlog

In memoriam: Terry Pratchett

Discworld reader's guide
A reader’s guide to the discworld novels

Beloved fantasy humorist author Terry Pratchett passed away on the 12th. This post is a collection of tributes to his works and life.

An in-depth examination of what makes the discworld books great.

Pratchett’s thoughts on dementia.

Crime novelist Val McDermid eulogises Pratchett in The Guardian.

The New York Times interviews Pratchett in late 2014.

Neil Gaiman writes on anger, injustice and Pratchett.

And finally, the last three twitter posts from Pratchett’s account:

“AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER”

“Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night”

“The End.”

 

 

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Aurealis #78 is here!

Aurealis_78Aurealis-#78-cover-purple-sky-dragon_1Now in its 25th year, Aurealis keeps up its tradition of bringing you the finest in Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Issue #78 has the bracing neo-noir ‘Enfolded’, from J Michael Melican and the punchy ‘Discarded Pieces’ from David Coleman.

Terry Wood brings us visions of the future in the first part of his History of the Flying Car, and, as always, Aurealis brings you the best in reviews.

Download your copy HERE.

Apollo 9 anniversary, blasting off

apollo 9

Today marks the anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 9 mission, which was one of the manned precursors to the first successful moonwalk only 4 months later. In memory of the mission, here are a handful of posts that refer to Apollo 9 documents and books, and the Apollo series of missions in general.

The hidden importance of the Apollo 9 mission, and its fallout

Five of the best insider accounts of the Apollo moon landings

i09 discusses two new recently released books. The books describe the Apollo missions in detail, along with the reality of NASA’s financial situation at the time

A video of Earthrise as witnessed by members of Apollo 8. The video is reconstituted from audio and photographs as well as computer animation.

National Geographic’s original series of photographs of the Apollo program 

-Although it has been around for a couple of years, Chris Hadfield’s rendition of Space Oddity is something I’m always happy to come back to (even if it doesn’t relate directly to Apollo!).

The legends and the legacies of King Arthur

Original by Évrard d'Espinques

In honour of John Steinbeck’s birthday (27/02/1902-20/12/1962), today’s post is about the ongoing legacy of the Arthurian stories, as well as the men and women who have reimagined and retold Arthurian legends. Steinback’s own retelling was published posthumously in the 1976 novel ‘The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights‘.

-The top ten films about King Arthur

-The BBC discusses the history of the legends and where its past and future lie

The ten historical and archaeological sites that hint at Arthur’s very real past

-A serialisation of The Once and Future King, performed by well known writer and presenter Brian Sibley, and produced by the BBC

A posthumous look back at Mary Stewart’s illustrious career including the Merlin Trilogy

 

Chinese New Year special

This week, we bring you a post inspired by Chinese New Year – recommendations for some of the best Asian-inspired fantasy and science fiction around. Some we suspect will be familiar, some will be brand new, and some will take you by surprise. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

-Reviews along with a list of some Wuxia and Oriental fantasy

Asian inspired (not necessarily set in Asia) fantasy novels

-A discussion by The Guardian of three of the best recent Asian fantasy series

-An exhaustive list of fantasy titles from all over the world, sorted by culture or nation

Wall Street Journal interviews Cixin Liu, author of China’s newest best-selling science fiction book ‘The Three-Body Problem’

 

Bonus fact: Did you know Chinese New Year festivities actually last for 15 days?

Extraterrestrial Culture

Today’s theme was heralded by the arrival of Extraterrestrial Culture Day last week. While the day itself is native to New Mexico, USA, it does give us a chance to talk – or wonder – about what extraterrestrial culture might be like.

-In an attempt to learn more about alien culture: the 7 longest messages sent into space.

-In counterpoint to the above, a discussion of whether we might be shooting ourselves in the foot by transmitting messages.

-Speaking of alien culture, the last wishes of deceased author of the Culture series, Iain M Banks, were recently released: that the series be continued by his friend Ken MacLeod.

-A summary of some interesting and well-realised aliens and their cultures from the last 70 years.

Aurealis #77 is out!

The first issue in Aurealis’ 25th year, Aurealis #77 is a feast of the eerie, the unsettling and the other side of ordinary. ‘Like a Boojum’ by Simon Petrie takes us to a world where the exotic is familiar and the familiar is not to be trusted.

‘The Death of Glinda, the Good Witch’ by Rebecca-Anne C Do Rozario probes and questions until reality itself is in question.

Lachlan Walter’s exploration of the often troubling amalgamation of SF movies and Western movies is illuminating and fun, while our regular roll-out of reviews has some important pointers to good SpecFic reading.

Aurealis – not to be missed.

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