Subjects Discussed: Predicting the future, whether 2013 is more of an apocalyptic year than 2012, killer bunnies, laughing rats, H.P. Lovecraft, the best zombie dramatizations, explanation in narrative, trusting the reader with interesting definitions of how the world works, the Greek tragedy of time travel, killing Hitler, Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life, criss-crossing timelines, Looper, finding spontaneity in a careful foundation, E.L. Doctorow’s description of writing, developing the close third person perspective, working against the sophisticated predator stereotype, the catharsis of hurting mean characters, T.C. Boyle, fictitious injuries, time periods that are defined by pop cultural references, Studs Terkel, Forrest Gump, women’s rights, McCarthyism, connections between American and South African history, spies and informants, surveillance society, Todd Akin, Candyman, Spencer Tracy explaining baseball to Katharine Hepburn in Woman of the Year, interviewing real people, not understanding sports, the difficulty of forgiving people for political atrocities, Sarah Lotz, objecting to fictitious murders, living in Chicago, why the Midwest is an ideal setting for an American novel, the tendency to invoke Detroit with symbolism, parallels between Hillbrow and Detroit, Mark Binelli’s Detroit City is the Place to Be, Charlie LeDuff’s Detroit: An American Autopsy, the U.S. Radium Corporation’s exploitation of women, paying researchers, Radium Girls, quoting directly from a 1936 story in the Milwaukee Sentinel, Mad Dog Maddux, naming your company after an employer’s fictitious creation to secure a job, the annoyance of getting minor details right, John Banville, the invention/research spectrum, location scouting, women who are objectified by her scars, Murderball, the sex lives of the injured, characters defined by the interior, physical description, how visual photos serve as emotional reference, why fictitious sociopaths drink Canadian Club, Amity Gaige’s Schroeder, A Clockwork Oraange, Al Capone, Velázquez’s Las Meninas, and rabid eating.
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Jaron Lanier is one of the most interesting minds you’re ever likely to come across – flat out.
He’s off the charts smart. He’s articulate. He’s a polymath, a computer science guru, and he’s a man with seriously unconventional hair, as this New Yorker profile from 2011 shows.
And he’s worried the Internet, as it works today, could gut the middle class.
Who is he to make such predictions? Well, Jaron helped create virtual reality in the 1980s and 1990s and he’s still active in any number of high-tech ventures, including a part-time role as a research scientist at Microsoft. He’s advised governments and helped launch successful start-ups.
And, yet, Jaron has become the most authoritative critic of the today’s technologist culture and Internet business models. He fears the current architecture of digital networks will leave the middle class poorer, despite promises to the contrary.
I first met Jaron after his first book, “You Are Not A Gadget,” came out. In it, he offered his early thinking on the Internet and what’s wrong with where it was headed. I had him on when I guest hosted on MSNBC and he also appeared once on “Left Right & Center” to talk tech news. His new book, “Who Owns The Future,” is a brilliant critique of today’s emerging internet economy, and offers Jaron’s vision of a “humanistic information economy” that could capture the benefits of this wondrous digital world while at the same time preserving an economy in which human dignity – and middle class incomes – flourish.
You won’t get more outside the box than Jaron Lanier – but that’s exactly where we must go to find out how to cope with what’s coming. He’ll be the first to admit that his vision isn’t fully formed, but he’s trying to spark a national and global conversation. I hope you’ll find him as fascinating, provocative, and important as I find him.
In 1948, George Orwell looked ahead to 1984 and imagined a grim totalitarian world. In 1968, Arthur C. Clarke looked ahead to 2001 and imagined transcendent alien contact. Now, sci-fi novelist Kim Stanley Robinson is looking ahead 300 years in his new novel, 2312.
The best-selling author and futurist doesn’t mince words when it comes to his disdain for Star Wars’ wizened guru (or for George Lucas, creator of the "horrible little oven mitt"). Find out what he thinks about capitalism, autism, SETI’s brilliant but misguided search for extraterrestrial life and other hot topics in the latest edition of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.
His latest Young Adult novel is sure to inspire, thanks to its alluring tale of tech-savvy anarchist runaways who attempt to take on the entertainment industry.
Bill Leff visits with Lauren Beukes, author of one of the hottest book of the summer The Shining Girls. Set in Chicago, it features a time traveling serial killer who eventually has the tables turned on him.
Lauren will be appearing at the Printer’s Row festival this Sunday, June 9th at ‘The Fierce Woman’ Panel also featuring Julia Keller and Laura Caldwell.
John Thavis covered the Vatican from Rome for nearly 30 years while working for the Catholic News Service. In his new book, The Vatican Diaries, he describes a place much less organized and hierarchical than the public imagines.
World War II is often thought of as a good and just war — a war the U.S. had to fight. But it wasn’t that simple. Public debate was heated between interventionism, which President Roosevelt supported, and isolationism, which aviator Charles Lindbergh became an unofficial spokesman for.
Horror writer Joe Hill’s new novel, "NOS4A2," came out April 30. He came to San Diego last Tuesday for a book signing at Mysterious Galaxy that went late into the evening as nearly 100 fans waited to meet the author.
In a sense, Joe Hill was born into horror. His dad is famed horror novelist Stephen King, and at age 9, Hill appeared in the 1982 film "Creepshow," which was written by his father and directed by horror icon George A. Romero. When Hill decided to pursue a writing career, he changed his name to distance himself from his famous father and to see if he could succeed on his own. His break came writing a Spider-Man story for Marvel Comics.
Hill is the author of two novels, "Heart-Shaped Box" and "Horns," a collection of short stories called "20th Century Ghosts" and the comic book series, "Locke & Key" for the San Diego-based company IDW Publishing. His new novel is "NOS4A2" or "Nosferatu."
It’s a story about Charles Manx, a man who has a way with children. He picks them up and takes them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the vanity plate of NOS4A2. Hill describes it as being about "a wicked man whose car runs on human souls instead of gasoline." Once Manx has sucked the life force of his victims, he leaves them at a bizarre amusement park called Christmasland. Exclusive to the print editions of "NOS4A2" are illustrations by award-winning "Locke & Key" artist Gabriel Rodríguez.
The feedback and reviews have been favorable.
“Quite simply the best horror writer of our generation, Joe Hill’s masterful storytelling is on full display in ‘NOS4A2.’ It is by turns terrifying and hilarious, horrifying and full of heart, and relentlessly compelling," from Michael Koryta, "New York Times" bestselling author.
“’NOS4A2’ is a brilliant exploration of classic and modern monsters and dark fantasies, all cut up, restitched and retooled … With this novel, riveting from beginning to end, Joe Hill has become a master of his craft," from "Publishers Weekly."
Hill’s second novel, "Horns," is currently being adapted to the screen by Alexander Aja, and stars Daniel Radcliffe and Juno Temple.
Time is special. How we see it helps determine how we see the rest of the Universe. Physicist Lee Smolin has a new book out that says we’ve been looking at time the wrong way. Adam Frank digs in and offers his own perspective on Smolin’s argument.
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