Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas explored in HG Wells’ novella, published in 1895, in which the Time Traveller moves forward to 802,701 AD. There he finds humanity has evolved into the Eloi and Morlocks, where the Eloi are small but leisured fruitarians and the Morlocks live below ground, carry out the work and have a different diet. Escaping the Morlocks, he travels millions of years into the future, where the environment no longer supports humanity.
Tagged with “science fiction” (349)
JF and Phil discuss a film they’ve been bringing up since the beginning of the podcast: Kubrick’s masterful 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).
"You don’t find reality only in your own backyard, you know," Stanley Kubrick once told an interviewer. "In fact, sometimes that’s the last place you’ll find it." Oddly, this episode of Weird Studies begins with Phil Ford hatching the idea of putting a replica of the monolith from 2001 in his backyard. As the ensuing discussion suggests, this would amount to putting reality — or the Real, as we like to call it — in the place where it may be least apparent. Perhaps that is what Kubrick did when he planted his monolithic film in thousands of movie theatres back in 1968. Moviegoers went in expecting a Kubrickian twist on Buck Rogers; they came out changed by the experience, much like the hominids of great veld in the "Dawn of Man" sequence that opens the film. This is what all great art does, and if you look closely, maybe 2001 can tell you something about how it does it. Because in the end, the film is the monolith, and the monolith is all art.
Celebrating the author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles.
”People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it.” Ray Bradbury has been acclaimed as the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream but, as the quote above shows, he regarded himself as the author of modern philosophical fables, rather than a sci-fi writer. In his dystopian works, such as Fahrenheit 451, he holds up a mirror to contemporary society and then transposes it into fantastical and futuristic scenarios. Bradbury was a prolific writer who tried his hand at everything from poems and novels to TV and radio scripts but it’s his early short stories which he produced in his twenties that are perhaps the most imaginative.
To mark the centenary of Bradbury’s birth, Rajan Datar is joined by three Bradbury experts to help him navigate through the author’s prodigious output: Professor Jonathan Eller from Indiana University who is also the Director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies; Dr. Miranda Corcoran who teaches American literature at University College Cork with particular interest in science fiction, horror and the gothic; and Dr. Phil Nichols who combines research into Bradbury’s TV and other media work with the teaching of Film and Television Production at Wolverhampton University.
The problem with teleological narratives is that they make us ignore the fact that change is often made by people who didn’t intend that change to happen…
GGG#359: Ian McEwan | Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy - Science Fiction Writer Interviews, Movie Reviews, Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi Books and Writing
Ian McEwan joins us to discuss his new novel Machines Like Me.
GGG#395: The Mandalorian Season 1 Review | Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy - Science Fiction Writer Interviews, Movie Reviews, Fantasy/Horror/Sci-Fi Books and Writing
Erin Lindsey, Rajan Khanna, and Matthew Kressel join us to discuss the new Star Wars TV show The Mandalorian, created by Jon Favreau.
100 years on from Isaac Asimov’s birth, Matthew Sweet looks at one of the bigger ideas contained in some of his 500 books; Psychohistory.
The idea, from Asimov’s Foundation series, was that rather like the behaviour of a gas could be reduced to statistical probabilities of the behaviour of billions of molecules, so the history of billions of human beings across the fictional galactic empire could be predicted through a few laws he called ‘Psychohistory’.
The idea inspired many to think that social sciences and economics can really be reduced to some sort of idealized set of physics principles, making future events completely predictable. It and similar ideas are still breeding enthusiasm for such things as data science, AI, machine learning, and arguably even the recent job advert by Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings for more ‘Super-Talented Wierdos’ to work for government. But how do we see what is real and what is not, what is Sci-Fi and what is hype, what is reasonable and what is desirable, in the gaps between innovation and inspiration, restraint and responsibility?
Jack Stilgoe of University College London has a new book out ‘Who’s Driving Innovation?’. Science and Tech journalist Gemma Milne’s forthcoming book is called ‘Smoke and Mirrors: How hype obscures the future and How to see past it’. Una McCormack is an expert on science fiction writing at Anglia Ruskin University, and Alexander Boxer is a data scientist who’s new book ‘Scheme of Heaven’ makes the case that we have much to learn about human efforts to deduce the future from observable events by looking at the history of Astrology, its aims and techniques.
01:33 How Ted’s Story of Your Life became Arrival
26:32 Experiential and theoretical grounds for determinism
33:58 If the future is set… Why bother?
54:02 The Predictor—an imagined device that will freak you out
63:24 Wormholes and time travel
84:27 Are free will and determinism compatible?
Robert Wright (Bloggingheads.tv, The Evolution of God, Nonzero, Why Buddhism Is True) and Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others)
Recorded on May 22, 2017
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Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOWVzR7ZwAI&list=WL&index=6&t=0s
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It’s 2014 and we have no flying cars, no Mars colonies, no needle-less injections, and yet plenty of smartphone dating apps. Is our science fiction to blame if we find today’s science and technology less than dazzling? Inspired by Neal Stephenson’s 2011 article “Innovation Starvation,” in which he argues that science fiction is failing to supply our scientists and engineers with inspiration, and the new anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, this event will explore a more ambitious narrative about what’s coming. From the tales we tell about robots and drones, to the narratives on the cutting edge of neuroscience, to society’s view of its most intractable problems, we need to begin telling a new set of stories about ourselves and the future.
Join the conversation online using #abetterfuture and by following @FutureTenseNow.
With: Ted Chiang Author, Stories of Your Life and Others
Moderator Ed Finn Director, Center for Science and Imagination, Arizona State University
Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHxn4-tWqOU&list=WL&index=15&t=189s
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Steve and Corey speak with Ted Chiang about his recent story collection "Exhalation" and his inaugural essay for the New York Times series, Op-Eds from the Future. Chiang has won Nebula and Hugo awards for his widely influential science fiction writing. His short story "Story of Your Life," was the basis of the film Arrival (2016). Their discussion explores the scientific and philosophical ideas in Ted’s work, including whether free will is possible, and implications of AI, neuroscience, and time travel. Ted explains why his skepticism about whether the US is truly a meritocracy leads him to believe that the government-funded genetic modification he envisages in his Op-Ed would not solve the problem of inequality.
Exhalation by Ted Chiang https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41160292-exhalation
Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/223380.Stories_of_Your_Life_and_Others
Ted Chiang’s New York Times Op-Ed From the Future https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/27/opinion/ted-chiang-future-genetic-engineering.html
man·i·fold /ˈmanəˌfōld/ many and various.
In mathematics, a manifold is a topological space that locally resembles Euclidean space near each point.
Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNB_89vZ0y4&list=WL&index=11&t=0s
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