How do you design the future? Today we talk with cyberpunk founder and design theorist Bruce Sterling and feminist/activist writer Jasmina Tešanović about speculative design, design fictions, open source hardware, the maker movement, and the soft robots of our domestic future. Plus we go behind the scenes of the creation of a design fiction by Bruce, Jasmina, Sheldon Brown, and the Clarke Center—a video installation called My Elegant Robot Freedom.
Tagged with “fiction” (175)
After a two year hiatus, I’ve restarted my podcast! It’s my New Year’s resolution.
Here’s part one of my reading (MP3) of The Man Who Sold the Moon, my award-winning novella first published in 2015’s Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer. It’s my Burning Man/maker/first days of a better nation story and was a kind of practice run for my 2017 novel Walkaway.
Time travel is time research
Gleick began with H.G. Wells’s 1895 book The Time Machine, which created the idea of time travel.
It soon became a hugely popular genre that shows no sign of abating more than a century later.
“Science fiction is a way of working out ideas,” Gleick said.
Wells thought of himself as a futurist, and like many at the end of the 19th century he was riveted by the idea of progress, so his fictional traveler headed toward the far future.
Other authors soon explored travel to the past and countless paradoxes ranging from squashed butterflies that change later elections to advising one’s younger self.
Gleick invited audience members to query themselves: If you could travel in time, would you go to the future or to the past?
When exactly, and where exactly?
And what is your second choice?
(Try it, reader.)
“We’re still trying to figure out what time is,” Gleick said.
Time travel stories apparently help us.
The inventor of the time machine in Wells’s book explains archly that time is merely a fourth dimension.
Ten years later in 1905 Albert Einstein made that statement real.
In 1941 Jorge Luis Borges wrote the celebrated short story, “The Garden of Forking Paths.”
In 1955 physicist Hugh Everett introduced the quantum-based idea of forking universes, which itself has become a staple of science fiction.
“Time,” Richard Feynman once joked, “is what happens when nothing else happens.”
Gleick suggests, “Things change, and time is how we keep track.”
Virginia Woolf wrote, “What more terrifying revelation can there be than that it is the present moment?
That we survive the shock at all is only possible because the past shelters us on one side, the future on another.”
To answer the last question of the evening, about how his views about time changed during the course of writing Time Travel, Gleick said:
I thought I would conclude that the main thing to understand is: Enjoy the present.
Don’t waste your brain cells agonizing about lost opportunities or worrying about what the future will bring.
As I was working on the book I suddenly realized that that’s terrible advice.
A potted plant lives in the now.
The idea of the ‘long now’ embraces the past and the future and asks us to think about the whole stretch of time.
That’s what I think time travel is good for.
That’s what makes us human—the ability to live in the past and live in the future at the same time.
Science fiction has always been an outlet for our greatest anxieties. This week, we delve into how the genre is exploring the reality of climate change. Plus: new words to describe the indescribable.
Jeff VanderMeer @jeffvandermeer, author of the Southern Reach Trilogy and Borne, on writing about the relationships between people and nature.
Claire Vaye Watkins @clairevaye talks about Gold Fame Citrus, her work of speculative fiction in which an enormous sand dune threatens to engulf the southwest.
Kim Stanley Robinson discusses his latest work, New York 2140. The seas have risen 50 feet and lower Manhattan is submerged. And yet, there’s hope.
British writer Robert Macfarlane @RobGMacfarlane on new language for our changing world.
Throughout the show: listeners offer their own new vocabulary for the Anthropocene era. Many thanks to everyone who left us voice memos!
Time plays such a big part in our lives, it’s no wonder we’re fascinated by the idea of escaping it. And what better way to escape it that to travel back into the past or forward into the future? This hour, we explore our obsession with time travel. Why is such a recurring them in movies and TV shows? And what can time travel teach us about ourselves?
"SEVENEVES at The Interval reading and signing": A special daytime talk by celebrated speculative fiction authorâ¨ Neal Stephenson on the occassion of his just released novel "SEVENEVES". After a reading, Long Now co-founder Stewart Brand joins Neal to discuss the research and writing of the new book, plus a little bit about what is coming next.
Elon Musk has described the colonization of Mars as a planetary “insurance policy.” If we’re going to trash Earth, we’ll need somewhere else to go. The New Yorker’s archive editor, Joshua Rothman, is a lifelong science-fiction fan who has often fantasized about going to the red planet. He speaks with Elizabeth Kolbert, a New Yorker staff writer who is against the galactic-colonization plan, and Jacob Haqq-Misra, a scientist who writes about what the political landscape of an inhabited Mars might look like.
There are some very smart people out there arguing that machines and computers are stealing our jobs. And that when these jobs go away, they won’t be replaced. They think that in the future, there will be fewer and fewer jobs.
In the short-term, that’s a big problem, but in the long-term, it could be great news. If robots are doing all the work, people can just relax, right?
What happens when the jobs go away? No one knows. So, in collaboration with The Truth, we made something up. Our show today is a work of fiction.
Ben Hammersley investigates fictional universes, from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones.
The American master John Updike uncovered the extraordinary in the ordinary in stories written over 50 years. In “Unstuck” a minor mishap strengthens a young couple’s marriage. Guest host Jane Kaczmarek is the reader. Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field reads Updike’s “Playing with Dynamite,” in which an aging man looks back on his life and loves.
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