Then go for the real treat – a full, three minute preview trailer of the book, with spectacular visuals and effects by the peerless web artist Patrick Farley. Prepare to be amazed! (It’s cinematic, so give the preview time to load properly. )
Another cool featurette: see my Question & Answer about Existence – also about human destiny and the transformative power of science fiction – at the Orbit Books site. And check out the 3-D cover (a new technology debuts with this book) that will only run with the U.K. first printing.Tell your friends and networks!
== Other Sci Fi-related News ==
On the Need to Restore Optimism to Science Fiction: This interview on io9, is more about science fiction, science and the daunting challenges and amazing opportunities in front of us. Piddling things like… destiny. Join Neal Stephenson and Kim Stanley Robinson, Vernor Vinge and me, in calling for SF that beckons our can-do spirit.
Having mentioned Robinson, be sure to check out his just released novel 2312. I am getting my copy in a couple of days. Few modern authors so brilliantly blend scientific possibility with a clear-eyed view of human nature and hope for rising wisdom.
And heck, while we’re compiling this stuff — one of my better… if very informal…recent interviews just ran on the brash and fun HorrorZine site. Free-ranging from SETI to fantasy to my advice for new writers.
== At last! Some non-Brin Sci Fi News! ==
All right, you had to scroll down for it. But Stephanie Fox and the editors of io9 have compiled a fascinating chart showing how science fiction stories interpreted “the future” during the last 130 years. Specifically, during any given decade, were more tales set in the “near” future The intermediate (50 to 500 years) or far future? I would have parsed things differently. I consider 25 years to be the far boundary of “near” since during that span, people and daily life will likely remain pretty much the same, except for whichever techno-or-social disruption the story happens to be about.
More than 200 years ahead and all bets are off. Specifically, you can choose for your quasi-medieval space empire to be set anywhere from 200 to a million years hence.
It is the 50 year projection that’s both hard and especially interesting. I’ve done two. Some of those reading your novel when it came out will still be around, five decades hence. Imagine a kid from 1962 brought to our era. Half the time he would say “Wow! We never thought of that!” The rest of the time, she’d murmer in disappointment: “You mean you’re all STILL doing THAT?”
== And More… ==
Some of the best short science fiction takes place in media these days. Example#1: Tom Scott’s “Welcome to Life: the singularity, ruined by lawyers.”
Example#2: Patrick Farley’s amazing Electric Sheep Comix. Farley – of course – created the terrific art and effects in my new Existence preview-trailer (see above.) But don’t hold that against him. His vivid online tales are unbelievably creative.
Oh, here’s a thought provoking riff by Tom Scott about the dangers of flash mobs in tomorrow’s world. Of course, he assumes people will act stupidity. That’s what everybody reflexively does, since cynicism is always (and boringly) more cool that optimism. And indeed, stupidity happens! Alas, what no one considers is that the lobotomizing trends so well illustrated by Twitter may be reversed at some point. Mobs may start to get smart, rather than automatically becoming grunting stampedes. I try to portray it plausibly in The Smartest Mob… but will we choose that path?