A Thousand Futures: A Search for Scenario Space
by Kathryn Cramer [MRP]
Monday, September 07, 2020
My OCAD University Major Research Project, entitled, A Thousand Futures: A Search for Scenario Space, is now available on the OCAD website.
Although both science fiction and professional foresight work both are engaged with what the future might look like, they operate mostly independently from one another. A literature search reveals the characteristics of written science fiction and foresight, seeking ways these practices could be successfully combined. Concepts are explored through the example of agriculture and agricultural technology as well as technologies for constructing narrative semantics. Approaches are outlined for generating foresight scenarios and for creating a semantic tagging system for generating a semantic space for scenarios using intellectual technologies from science fiction.
agriculture, agroecology, animals, apples, bibliography, books, category theory, climate change, chickens, computational narrative, computational thinking, design fiction, dystopia, farming, fiction, folktales, foresight, foxes, futures, genre, history, landscape, language, metaphor, motifs, nationalism, ontology, orchardry, organic farming, pattern language, patents, pigs, publishing, retrofuturism, rewilding, scenarios, science fiction, semantics, speculative design, speculative fiction, tagging, technology, transrealism, utopia, wolves, workshops, writing
Christopher Nolan's TENET:
3D Time & a Utopian Longing for Normalcy
Monday, September 07, 2020
I saw Tenet in a theater in Toronto with fancy seats that vibrate and tilt along with the action. I don’t think the seat’s enthusiasm contributed much, but I did enjoy the show. I went to see it for two reasons: One is that science fiction films flood the cultural discourse and change narratives, and this one is playing partly in what I consider my space, so I felt like I needed to know what is in it. The second is that I just finished writing something long and my brain needs a break from rehearsing and reworking my own prose; it helped to clear my head.
Before I went, I read reviews and internet takes. Most people who had seen it were concerned with trying to figure out what is going on in the film, because it has scenes in which time flows both forwards and backwards. After reading the article in the Washington Post about their decision not to review the film because Christopher Nolan gave reviewers no choice except to see it in a theater with other people, I considered whether to skip it. But in the end, I went. I would not make the same decision two weeks from now, because I expect the incidence of the virus to spike up once schools are open. Having seen it as the director intended, unless you are really excited by watching stuff blow up, there is no particular reason to see it in a theater. Inasmuch as the film is good, it won’t lose much if seen instead on a big screen TV.
Continue reading "Christopher Nolan's TENET:
3D Time & a Utopian Longing for Normalcy" »
Driving around Vermont, Thinking
Monday, October 13, 2014
Friday and Saturday, I spent a lot of time driving around Vermont. I also spent a lot of time thinking while driving. I was thinking about whether to expand on my most recent blog post and what it is safe to say. These were the most beautiful drives I have ever taken in Vermont.
The leaves were at peak and the air was still, so there were many reflections. (Unfortunatly, I didn't stop to take pictures.)
Continue reading "Driving around Vermont, Thinking" »
Give Peace a Chance: My Return to Blogging
Thursday, October 09, 2014
I have decided to come back to blogging. I am returning at a point of happiness and strength with a new book out which is successful in ways I had never imagined an anthology could be. I have been having an amazing time these past few weeks.
I find that I have made my decision to resume just at the moment when Kathy Sierra's blog post Why the Trolls Will Always Win, commemorating ten years of over-the-top harassment, is published in Wired.
Continue reading "Give Peace a Chance: My Return to Blogging" »
Why Hieroglyph Is a Verb
Sunday, September 14, 2014
My Hieroglyph Tour Blog is at Goodreads
Friday, September 12, 2014
I have been blogging about my book tour, what I have been referring to as the Hieroglyph Roadshow, on my Goodreads Author page. One of the fun things about this tour so far is fan-created Hieroglyph things. This photo collage from our authors@Google event was created by D. Simerly.
And we've also now got a Hieroglyph cat meme, created by someone who went to the Kepler's event.
Please send me more!
HIEROGLYPH Tour Schedule
Saturday, August 30, 2014
The Hieroglyph tour may be coming to your town. Here are the tour dates so far. Watch this space. I will post more dates.
- September 10: Menlo Park, CA, Kepler's Books, 1010 El Camino Real, 7:30 PM. Order tickets online. Techno-optimism: Neal Stephenson and friends. Panelists include Neal Stephenson, Annalee Newitz, Rudy Rucker, Keith Hjelmstad, Charlie Jane Anders and editors Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer.
- September 15: Los Angeles, Zocalo Public Square at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 250 S. Grand Ave., 7:30 PM. Can Science Fiction Revolutionize Science? Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson and Arizona State University physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, both of whom contributed to the new anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, visit Zócalo to discuss whether science fiction can truly change contemporary science, and what the alternative futures we imagine mean for present-day innovation. Make a reservation.
- September 30, New York City: Project Hieroglyph: Book Launch and Celebration sponsored by Tumblr and ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, featuring Madeline Ashby & Elizabeth Bear, Tuesday, September 30, 2014 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. The event is free, but preregistration on Eventbrite is required.
- October 2, Washinton, DC: Can We Imagine Our Way to a Better Future? It’s 2014 and we have no flying cars, no Mars colonies, no needleless 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. URL TBA.
- October 3-5, Ottawa: Can-Con - Kathryn Cramer & Madeline Ashby.
- October 22, Phoenix, Arizona: Changing Hands Bookstore, 7PM at the Cresent Ballroom. Tickets, which require a book purchase, required for admission. Visit the Changing Hands website for more information and to purchase tickets. Project Hieroglyph science fiction authors, scientists, engineers, and other experts share their ambitious, optimistic visions of the near future. Presenters will include science fiction author and essayist Madeline Ashby (Machine Dynasty series), Aurora Award winner Karl Schroeder (Lockstep), Clarke Award finalist Kathleen Ann Goonan (Queen City Jazz), Zygote Games founder James L. Cambias (A Darkling Sea), acclaimed cosmologist and astrobiologist Paul Davies (The Eerie Silence), science fiction and fantasy anthologist Kathryn Cramer (Year’s Best SF), ASU Center for Science and the Imagination director Ed Finn, and legendary Locus, Nebula, and Hugo award-winning author Kim Stanley Robinson (2312 and Red Mars).
- October 26, Seattle: Neal Stephenson and Cory Doctorow: Reigniting Society’s Ambition with Science Fiction. Tickets available here.
More events TBA.
Reading the Hieroglyphs
Thursday, August 28, 2014
From Jim Cambias:
The Hieroglyph anthology gets its official release September 9, and the publishers are leaking some teaser material. You can go here to read a preview of the e-book version on Scribd. Or you can download a PDF excerpt here, including the introduction by Lawrence Krauss and the essay "Innovation Starvation" by Neal Stephenson which inspired the whole thing.
HIEROGLYPH in Hardcover!
Friday, August 22, 2014
My first copy of my new book HIEROGLYPH came in the mail. The publication date is September 9th.
I co-edited the book with Ed Finn of Arizona State University's Center for Science & the Imagination. Project Hieroglyph was launched by Neal Stephenson. Contributors include: Charlie Jane Anders, Madeline Ashby, Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, James Cambias, Brenda Cooper, Cory Doctorow, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Lee Konstantinou, Lawrence M. Krauss, Geoffrey A. Landis, Annalee Newitz, Rudy Rucker, Karl Schroeder, Vandanah Singh, Neal Stephenson, and Bruce Sterling. You can pre-order your copy here! 😎
Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
My new book, Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, is coming out in September. I co-edited the book with Ed Finn of Arizona State University's Center for Science & the Imagination. Project Hieroglyph was launched by Neal Stephenson.
Contributors include: Charlie Jane Anders, Madeline Ashby, Elizabeth Bear, Gregory Benford, David Brin, James Cambias, Brenda Cooper, Cory Doctorow, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Lee Konstantinou, Lawrence M. Krauss, Geoffrey A. Landis, Annalee Newitz, Rudy Rucker, Karl Schroeder, Vandanah Singh, Neal Stephenson, and Bruce Sterling.
Tangent review of "Am I Free to Go?"
Tuesday, January 08, 2013
My Tor.com story "Am I Free to Go?" received a very favorable review from Lois West, a short fiction reviewer for Tangent.
“Am I Free to Go?,” by Kathryn Cramer, is an edgy tale about a home invasion, except it’s the cops doing the invading. When a once-rich county builds a prison to create jobs and revenues and pushes through a privatization bill that suspends civil liberties, but there aren’t any prisoners available, then it’s time to find some—“men, women and children from nowhere, incarcerated for no reason.” Of course, it’s the cops that are tasked to find them. But cops aren’t really bad; it’s just that working as a corrections officer changes a person. They come to believe that “If you’re arrested, you’re guilty.”
The story wanders, like a victim struggling to understand what happened to them with everything jumbled up in their mind. Lucidity is a goal that’s hard to attain when you realize that underneath the alleged utopia where you live lurks a disempowered and defunded failed state, operating with its own rules. Of course, if you’re an amateur hacker and can’t resist the urge to plunder government computers to “prove” what’s going on, don’t be surprised when federal prison looms in your future. Instead, it’s simplest to be nice and compliant when the cops invade your bedroom at 3 AM. Be quiet and calm and maybe, the next morning, the cops might even be willing to apologize.
A thought-provoking story. I was particularly intrigued by the author’s description of a bio-monitoring system that includes chipped prisoners, Wi-Fi fungal mats growing in the ground and trees that act as Wi-Fi antennas. George Orwell would have been proud of how much technology has advanced the possibilities of a big-brother state.
“Am I Free to Go?” by Kathryn Cramer: Origins & Bibliography
Monday, January 07, 2013
I live in New York State’s Adirondack Park, an environmentally protected area comprising about 23% of New York State. It is a wonderful place and I love living here. But there is an aspect of the Park that I find very uncomfortable. In 1973, the New York State legislature adopted into law the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan finalizing the boundaries of the Park and putting into effect many of the environmental restrictions. That same year, the legislature passed the Rockafeller Drug Laws, which was the advent of New York State’s policy of mass incarceration. Over the past forty years, many prisons have been built in the Park, and the communities where these prisons are located have tended to become economically dependent on the prison-industrial complex. In an era of severe government cutbacks, these political decisions of the past can have strange and unforeseen consequences.
“Am I Free to Go?” is essentially a monolog. In February of 2011, it began as an exercise in narrative voice when I was working with Edward Cornell, a New York theater director who now lives in the Adirondacks. He assigned me to find a monolog to work on with him. I couldn't find any I liked.
The dramatic monologs I found bore too little resemblance to the women I know in real life and seemed constricted by gender stereotypes. (If I had found the play Wit by Margaret Edson in early 2011, I probably would have stopped there.) Next, I tried reading aloud stories I had reprinted in Year’s Best volumes, but found that many of the stories I loved best worked better on the page than out loud.
And so I wrote something. Ted Cornell listened to me read all or part of it aloud many times through many drafts; his encouragement and comments brought into the form you find it now. This story is as much human rights fiction as it is science fiction. I believe that we live on the knife’s edge of a political cascade in which consequence piles on consequence, leading the United States in directions that most of use don’t want to go. What I intended is a monolog somewhat in the mode of “Swimming to Cambodia” by Spalding Grey and about an extrapolation of the here and now that I inhabit.
Continue reading "“Am I Free to Go?” by Kathryn Cramer: Origins & Bibliography" »
LOCUS review of "Am I Free to Go?"
Monday, January 07, 2013
My Tor.com story "Am I Free to Go?" received a very favorable review from Lois Tilton, a short fiction reviewer for Locus. She also included it in her list of recommended fiction for 2012.
“Am I Free to Go?” by Kathryn Cramer
What happens when you wake up at 11:30 pm to find the cops in your bedroom, an occurrence become far more likely in this police state scenario, where for-profit jails are looking for more business.
Think fast. Don’t even consider using the W word — as in “do you have a warrant?” Respect authority if you want to come out of this alive.
The narrator has both technology and lawyers on her side; she belongs to the privileged class for whom this utopian society was created. But sometimes people get caught up in the backlash. There are costs. The narrator is changed by the incident; she used to think these things didn’t happen to people like her.
Very cleverly done, in a light tone of voice shading into absurdity, the sort of dystopian absurdity documented by Kafka. The narration switches between the first and second person, saying in effect – This happened to me, it could happen next to you. What are you prepared to do about it? It could be called an example of If This Goes On, except that we know this is really going on already.
Scott Bakal's cover for "Am I Free to Go?"
Friday, October 12, 2012
Scott Bakal has done an amazing cover for my forthcoming Tor.com story, "Am I Free to Go?" And he has a detailed post on the process of compostion on his blog, complete with preliminary sketches.
Not only is this a strong piece of graphic design that is impressive in its own right, but it also is a sophisticated reference to one of the more psychologically intense moments in the story. Just wait until you read it. Then you will understand quite how good this cover illustration is!
My life as an attachment parent: feminists should have understood but mostly didn't
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
The New York Times has a mothering discussion centered around the question, "Has women’s obsession with being the perfect mother destroyed feminism?"
I read this exchange and it feels to me like it comes from a different planet than the one I have parented on. I am, in the vocabulary of this discussion, an attachment parent. I never found myself to be part of the kind of cultural hegemony implied by the NYT discussion. (Though, for a while I seemed to be the person the BBC Radio called to speak about public breast feeding.) Rather, I went about the matter of parenting my children while pursuing my career in science fiction, such as it is, without much feeling of being part of any larger movement.
The strain for me was not a tension between motherhood and career, but rather the lack of support for the idea that with a little extra help from those around me I could remain a full participant in the intellectual and cultural life around me. I would get all the way to the convention, but in the end often couldn't get the support to allow me to attend any program items except those where I was a panelist.
This experience has left me deeply disappointed in the science fiction field's brand of feminism which should have understood what my parenting choices represented, but mostly didn't. Gradually, I stopped showing up at events like World Fantasy Con and ICFA because I could no longer ignore the professional disrespect this state of affairs implied.
Yesterday, received an evaluation from the school district of one of my children who has substantial learning disabilities which contained a sentence that makes me very proud. The evaluator remarked that my son seems to have a positive sense of self “rooted in close and supportive parental relationships.” And that is what I was trying to do.
I do not demand of other people that they do nearly all of their business travel in the company of children, or that they breastfeed while giving speeches, signing books, speak on panels, like I did. But in my life there would have been a lot less conflict between motherhood and career if there had been a little more recognition of the project of combining the two.
The idea articulated in the NYT that by doing what I did I have somehow been a threat to feminism makes me want to kick their editors in a particularly sensitive spot in the ankle.
Year's Best SF 17 (2012), ed. David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer Table of Contents
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Here is the table of contents for our Year's Best SF 17, forthcoming from HarperCollins this summer:
The Best Science Fiction of the Year Three • Ken MacLeod
Dolly • Elizabeth Bear
Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds of Reindeer • Ken Liu
Tethered • Mercurio Rivera
Wahala • Nnedi Okorafor
Laika’s Ghost • Karl Schroeder
Ragnarok • Paul Park
Six Months, Three Days • Charlie Jane Anders
And Weep Like Alexander • Neil Gaiman
The Middle of Somewhere • Judith Moffett
Mercies • Gregory Benford
The Education of Junior Number 12 • Madeline Ashby
Our Candidate • Robert Reed
Thick Water • Karen Heuler
The War Artist • Tony Ballantyne
The Master of the Aviary • Bruce Sterling
Home Sweet Bi’Ome • Pat MacEwan
For I Have Lain Me Down on the Stone of Lonliness and I’ll Not Be Back Again • Michael Swanwick
The Ki-anna • Gwyneth Jones
Eliot Wrote • Nancy Kress
The Nearest Thing • Genevieve Valentine
The Vector Alphabet of Intersellar Travel • Yoon Ha Lee
The Ice Owl • Carolyn Ives Gilman
Kathryn's Best Movies Watched while Getting Over a Sinus Infection
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I had this cold earlier in January. Which became a bacterial infection involving white spots in the back of my throat and ominous chest pains. So I went to the ER and got a prescription for Zithromax which cleared it right up, and as of last Wednesday I had my energy back and went to yoga class and had a great day. Except.
Friday, I was feeling a bit achy. By Saturday night I was pledging to actually find myself a regular doctor here in the Adirondacks. Monday I went to my new doctor and was diagnosed with a sinus infection and given a new antibiotic: Augmentin.
So I need to stay in bed, and relax even if its boring. And I have fiberoptic Internet and a MacBook Pro. So I'm watching movies. Here are my recommendations so far:
The first three I bought through iTunes:
Obselidia (2010) starring Michael Piccirilli, Gaynor Howe, and Frank Hoyt Taylor: Asperger's type writing an encyclopedia of obsolete technologies learns to cherish and fetishize the present the way he does the past through the (temporary) love of a good woman and words of wisdom from a misunderstood genius. The protagonist is my kind of man, so this is my kind of film.
The Wife (1995) starring Tom Noonan, Wallace Shawn, Karen Young and Julie Haggerty: A husband and wife work as therapists together leading group therapy in their house. One evening, one of their clients shows up unexpectedly with his sexy wife who wants to know what her husband has been saying about her. Marvellously acted film in which the lowbrow slutty wife gets the better of the other three characters using the superpower of being willing to degrade herself to get what she wants. It has an epic and quite astonishing dinner scene in which almost anything can (and does) happen.
Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing (2010): Terrific film adaptation of Shaun Tan's surreal picture book which had me muttering about impossibly hostpitable dystopias.
And I also discovered the website Indieflix.com which, for a small monthly fee, seems to allow unlimited access to a large number of independent films. I have been poking around there and here is what I have found so far, all of them short:
The Professor's Daughter (2011; 17 minutes): An AI story in the mode of Ted Chiang's story "Understand." The daughter reminds me of my friend Mary Lou Jepsen.
Ghost (2011; 8 minutes): A ghost story that snaps into place very nicely at the end.
The Lost & Found Shop (2010; 9 minutes): A short fantasy about a child recovering a crucial but lost memory of her mother at Christmas.
Sunshine Bob (2010; 3 minutes): Reminds me of the day literary agent Virginia Kidd's grandson totaled Virginia's Nissan Maxima. Virginia told him, "Remember Steve: when you have a car accident, always turn off the ignition. Steve replied, "I turned off the ignition so that damned woman would shut up." The Nissan Maxima had a female voice that issued advisories to the driver. After some discussion, we arrived at what the car might have been telling Steve: "The tree is in the ignition." This film brings me back to that moment.
On the Death of Joanna Russ
Monday, May 02, 2011
In memory, my relationship with Joanna Russ takes place mostly in one room, a building on the University of Washington campus whose architect aspired to be post-Euclidean. It was a poured cement building that was hard to find your way around in, and its rooms were oddly shaped. Joanna's office was there.
I was a very damaged kid who had been broken by high school, and at the UW, I took almost exclusively math and science courses. Joanna's were the only English courses I was willing to take; they were the only English courses I took in my three years at the UW.
When she met me in about 1982, I was a tightly controlled skinny blonde with bad posture, a big vocabulary, and a flat affect. I remembered the books I'd read by the cover art, not by title and author. I'd read really a lot of science fiction, but I wasn't sure what. I knew I'd read all the Poul Anderson books on my dad's shelves. I counted them: there were 42.
I remember what she said about the first piece of fiction I turned in in her class: She said that most of my sentences began with "And then . . ." and that my sentences were all the same length.
Many of her students were scared of her, but I was fascinated. At first I would think up clever questions to ask so I could go talk to her during her office hours, and if no one else showed, I would stay for the whole two hours. Eventually, I learned that I didn't need to prepare. She was happy to talk to me for two hours whether or not I formulated something in advance.
She was on a lot of medication and so had very little short-term memory.
In 1984 or 1985, Amy Thomson had a birthday party. Joanna showed up in a really good mood and sat on the couch and began to talk and tell stories, and various of us gathered around to listen.
I remember her telling this story about someone's polydactyl Maine Coon cat with six or seven toes on each paw that climbed a screen door and then couldn't get down and was stuck there half way up the screen (gesture of hands held up like paws in the screen) and the cat said meow meow (long drawn out meows). She was amazingly on that night.
It got later and later, and the circle around Joanna got smaller and smaller, until it was just three of us: I was going to listen for as long as Joanna was going to talk. And at some point birds started to chirp, or it began to get light. Joanna looked at her watch and said, Oh my goodness, it's five thirty in the morning and went home.
She was out sick for two weeks after that -- a woman with red hair whose name I've forgotten taught her class for those weeks. Joanna's health was not good enough to allow for staying up all night at parties.
And when she came back, I did my usual thing of going to her office hours and listening to her talk about whatever she wanted to for two hours. And she told me about this great party she'd been to, in immense detail, without ever realizing that the reason she was telling me this is that at that party I had sat there and listened to her talk for 9 or 10 hours straight.
I wasn't offended that she didn't remember that I'd been there because if you dealt with Joanna much, you just didn't expect much of her short term memory because she mostly didn't have one; it was a side-effect of her anti-depressants.
Our office conversations went on for about two years. When Clarion West came around she pointed me in that direction, and especially in the direction of her editor, David Hartwell, whom I think she adored. It was fun to be with them simultaneously, because when David was around Joanna was sharp and focused and animated.
In our later conversations, we talked a lot about horror and about haunted house fiction, The Haunting of Hill House particularly. When I moved to New York City in 1985, I continued working on that concept, which I had also been corresponding with David about.
Once I was in New York, this correspondence evolved into a discussion group consisting of David, Peter Pautz, and I. Two books emerged from that discussion group, The Architecture of Fear, which I co-edited with Peter Pautz, and The Dark Descent, David's historical horror anthology. They tied for the World Fantasy Award.
I don't know what Joanna got out of our conversations, but for me they were transformative and something for which I am very grateful.
I was not in contact with her after she moved away from Seattle, and I wish I had taken some initiative there. But despite the intensity of our conversation, the relationship remained defined as teacher and student, and so I didn't feel it was my place to reach out. I wish I had.
Year’s Best SF 16 edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer: Table of contents
Monday, February 28, 2011
Sleeping Dogs • Joe Haldeman
Castoff World • Kay Kenyon
Petopia • Benjamin Crowell
Futures in the Memory Market • Nina Kiriki Hoffman
A Preliminary Assessment of the Drake Equation, Being an Excerpt From the Memoirs of Star Captain Y.-T. Lee • Vernor Vinge
About It • Terry Bisson
Somadeva: A Sky River Sutra • Vandana Singh
Under the Moons of Venus • Damien Broderick
All the Love in the World • Cat Sparks
At Budokan • Alastair Reynolds
Graffiti in the Library of Babel • David Langford
Steadfast Castle • Michael Swanwick
How to Become a Mars Overlord • Catherynne M. Valente
To Hie from Far Cilenia • Karl Schroeder
The Hebras And The Demons And The Damned • Brenda Cooper
Penumbra • Gregory Benford
The Good Hand • Robert Reed
The Cassandra Project • Jack McDevitt
Jackie’s Boy • Stephen Popkes
Eight Miles • Sean McMullen
Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance (The Parke Family Scrapbook Number IV) • Paul Park
We think the book will be out from HarperCollins in May. It is available for pre-order from Amazon.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Charles Stross & Kathryn Cramer at the signing table
Our photos from Boskone are posted on my Flickr account. Since David hurt himself loading the car for the trip to the convention, we were a bit less energetic about taking pictures than usual.
Year's Best SF 15 table of contents
Friday, February 12, 2010
Year's Best SF 15, ed. David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer, is forthcoming from HarperCollins this summer and is available for pre-order from the publisher.
Table of Contents
Vandana Singh • Infinities
Robert Charles Wilson • This Peaceable Land; or the Unbearable Vision of Harriet Beacher Stowe
Yoon Ha Lee • The Unstrung Zither
Bruce Sterling • Black Swan
Nancy Kress • Exegesis
Ian Creasey • Erosion
Gwyneth Jones • Collision
Gene Wolfe • Donovan Sent Me
Marissa K. Lingen • The Calculus Plague
Peter Watts • The Island
Paul Cornell • One of Our Bastards Is Missing
Sarah L. Edwards • Lady of the White-Spired City
Brian Stableford • The Highway Code
Peter M. Ball • On the Destruction of Copenhagen by the War Machines of the Merfolk
Alastair Reynolds • The Fixation
Brenda Cooper • In Our Garden
Geoff Ryman • Blocked
Michael Cassut • The Last Apostle
Charles Oberndorf • Another Life
Mary Robinette Kowal • The Consciousness Problem
Stephen Baxter • Tempest 43
Genevieve Valentine • Bespoke
Eric James Stone • Attitude Adjustment
Chris Roberson • Edison's Frankenstein
Tor.com posting free downloads of stories from our Year's Best Fantasy 9
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Earlier this year, Tor.com debuted as an imprint independent from Tor Books bypublishing Year’s Best Fantasy 9, David G. Hartwell’s and Kathryn Cramer’s definitive anthology of fantastical stories.
While YBF9 is still available as a print-on demand edition, and you can buy your very own print copy at the Tor.com Print Book Store, starting today, and once a week for the following eight weeks, we’ll be posting segments of the anthology on Tor.com as a PDF, for your reading pleasure.
Each of these segments will feature three or four stories from the anthology, and will be available to all registered users of Tor.com. It’s a great way to sample some of the content in the book before deciding to part with your hard-earned cash, or of simply getting a shorter dose of wonder and the fantastical.
Our first segment features the following stories:
“Dalthree” by Jeffrey Ford
“The Salting and Canning of Benevolence D.” by Al Michaud
“Reader’s Guide” by Lisa Goldstein
Also, something I should have mentioned a while back: Nigel Beale has posted the podcast of his interview with David Hartwell and me.
Year's Best SF 13 gets a second printing
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I'm sifting through my mail pile in Pleasantville this morning, and I find a letter from Will Hinton at Harper Eos saying that Year's Best SF 13 has just gone into a second printing. It is really great to get a letter from one's publisher that ends "Congratulations on your continued success!", especially in the current publishing environment.
Yay book! Sell! Sell! Sell!
"Defining Characteristics of the Posthuman & the Emergent Transition to the Transhuman: a Dystopian Scenario" by Kathryn Cramer
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Posthumans communicate electronically. Pay no attention to the geek behind the handle.
A posthuman outnumbers a human: their emergent relationship is often predator and prey.
Humans are single, identifiable individuals. Posthumans are legion; they are multi-headed hydra. When fully developed, they contain multitudes, as many identities as they need.
Posthumans are the heroes of their own stories.
Humans may have several social identities, usually dependent on contexts such as work, parenting, gaming. Posthumans have more.
Humans are cursed with continuous lives; posthumans are not. Posthumans can go underground with a keystroke. Bingo, another identity!
Posthumans are lonely, they are looking for love and companionship and attention. Self-love does not ease the ache for another, more satisfying identity. Perhaps even as a superhero.
Posthumans are disinhibited.
Posthumans are thrill-seekers, enjoying the rush of the group demagogic skydive.
Posthumans live in constant fear of exposure as insignificant meat.
Posthumans argue against the unique identification of moral actors.
To protect them from predation, children are taught in elementary school how to become posthuman when going online. As with many top predators, by adolescence, these proto-posthumans with have learned the role of predator. Social networking plays a major and perhaps even Darwinian role in this socialization.
Posthumans hunt in legions. If no one else will hunt, posthumans become the legion.
Posthumans bear no responsibility for the past. For posthumans, electronic life is an organizing principle imposed on the past, which is chaos.
All the truth posthumans need is available online. And if it isn’t there, they can make something up and put it online.
For a human to seek a human's address and phone number, she looks in the phone book. For a human to seek a posthuman's address and phone number is stalking!
Humans privilege relationships formed in and founded on what they call "real life." Posthumans either deny a distinction between “real life” and online relationships, or disparage the idea that "meatspace" relationships have any privileged meaning.
Posthumans like to watch. They especially like to watch humans and other posthumans fighting.
Posthumans find inflicting pain easier than do humans. Posthuman demagogues easily replicate the results of the Milgram experiment again and again, since posthumans are drawn to such experiences.
Posthuman culture changes at a much more rapid pace than human culture, such that the social protocols of online communities less than five years old are often regarded as ancient and venerable traditions. Still, most bad ideas go back a long way.
Truth is the consensus of posthumans today. Tomorrow's truth will be different. There is no fact outside of constantly-shifting consensus truth.
Humans are limited to no more than 3 or 4 romantic entanglements at a time. Posthumans may pursue 15 or 20 simultaneously; those posthumans augmented by bots can pursue hundreds. For some posthumans, this can prove highly profitable, particularly those who specialize in widows and the elderly.
Posthumans can blogswarm from jail!
The posthuman condition is a happy state for registered sex offenders.
Posthumans have solved the problem of professional ethics: The ethics of posthumans are completely undiscussable. How dare you raise the issue of ethics!
Posthumans are becoming the natural prey of Intelligent Agents, currently in the service of humans and adept at parsing social networks and friends lists. Intelligent Agents perform due diligence.
A posthuman’s HR department already has the posthuman’s Charles Manson fanfic on file; is already aware of the disturbing themes in the posthuman’s Shirley Temple Second Life porn; the posthuman’s Flickr account has already been run by legal. Legal has advised management to let him dig himself in a little deeper.
Posthumans are losing security clearances for unexplained reasons.
Posthumans are now being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Now posthumans lose their jobs.
Intelligent Agents take over. Truth is the consensus of corporately owned Intelligent Agent systems.
The era of Transhumanity is at hand.
History has ended. Posthumans have no history.
Copyright © 2009 by Kathryn Cramer.