Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

2 Science Publishers Delve Into Science Fiction

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the parallel-universes dept.

Sci-Fi 67

braindrainbahrain writes "Coincidence or conspiracy? Two new science fiction magazines have just been announced and they are both being published by more serious science publications. New Scientist magazine has announced the publication of Arc, 'A new digital magazine about the future.' Arc features such articles as 'The best time travel movie ever made' and 'The future of science fiction, games, galleries — and futurism.' They are advertising new fact and fiction from the likes of Maragret Atwood and Alastair Reynold. The MIT Technology Review has announced the TRSF, dubbed 'the first installment of a to-be-annual "hard" SF collection.' Some authors: Joe Haldeman and Cory Doctorow. As an interesting note, both publications will be printed on paper for the first ('collectable') issue only; all forthcoming ones will be e-books."

cancel ×

67 comments

frist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39164125)

psot (you still do this)

Re:frist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39164227)

jo_ham AKA bonch is a faggot. Here is proof [bit.ly] of his faggotry.

Science publishers always published SciFi (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39164135)

Science publications have always published science fiction. For example, articles and studies about "Global Warming".

--Yours,

Fox News.

Re:Science publishers always published SciFi (1)

celle (906675) | about 2 years ago | (#39167469)

"Fox News."

    They would know as the biggest purveyors of "at the moment" fiction and fantasy around. Science fiction has more credibility than Fox News.

I rather read David Brin's Sci Fi (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#39168985)

Of the many sci fi novels that I've read, I do enjoy those authored by David Brin

Nice (1)

Titan1080 (1328519) | about 2 years ago | (#39164155)

Alastair Reynolds, my favorite hard sci-fi author.

Re:Nice (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | about 2 years ago | (#39165083)

I like Gregory Benford these days but I'm nearing the end of the Galactic Center series with nothing else on deck, mayhaps I'll have to check out Mr. Reynolds.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39165517)

Do so.
He's a great author.

Re:Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39169661)

Finished the Galactic Center series a month ago and while it was sweeping it also felt, well lacking. I kept waiting for it to get better. When it got to the reasoning why 3 generations of bishops were needed I was annoyed that over 1 million words to get to a reason that made no real sense. Anyhow I'd suggest the uplift trilogies, or the Fire Upon the Deep and the prequel.

Wait a minute..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39164163)

I thought New Scientist was already a science fiction magazine.

Science Fiction growing or dying? (4, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 2 years ago | (#39164193)

On the one hand, traditional publishing has been dying. No biggie, direct e-publishing is drastically more efficient. Books cost 99 cents to $2.99 (sometimes a buck or two more) and the author makes MORE money per copy sold that they would make with a $15 hardcover. No advances, and the author has to pay for editing out of pocket, but there's solutions to this. Several authors I know of would release a "beta version" of their stories as an ebook, make some money, and pay editors to help them make a cleaned up and improved version.

Not to mention that you can communicate directly with fans and get feedback immediately, rather than the letter writing days of the past.

However, I've also read that fantasy as a genre is far more lucrative than science fiction. Lots more sales, hence the reason there seems to be a shrinking number of good science fiction authors.

Furthermore, the dreams of the past have proven dead. The hopes of the atomic age and space age have turned out to be far more difficult to achieve in reality. Instead, it now looks like the world of the future is going to be far weirder and harder to understand than than we dreamed of. Humans are NOT going to just pack their stuff into spaceships and start colonizing the moons and local planets, then somehow cheat physics and do the same thing at other stars. (that will conveniently have worlds just like earth, with compatible biology and biochemistry but no sentient life)

In fact, a rational view of other future, one based on the current trajectories of how things are heading, is that human beings will NEVER colonize anywhere else. "Apes in a can" spaceship will never happen. Us short lived jumped up primates are too fragile and too dumb, instead we will bootstrap our way to creating entities that do not have our human weaknesses.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39164263)

However, I've also read that fantasy as a genre is far more lucrative than science fiction. Lots more sales, hence the reason there seems to be a shrinking number of good science fiction authors.

With extremely high-profile releases in the not too distant past like the LoTR movies and Harry-Potter-esque books, it wouldn't surprise me that fantasy is a much bigger market and therefore draws more authors. These things always have fashions though, and I'm sure sci-fi will be on the rise again some day.

Furthermore, the dreams of the past have proven dead. The hopes of the atomic age and space age have turned out to be far more difficult to achieve in reality. Instead, it now looks like the world of the future is going to be far weirder and harder to understand than than we dreamed of

...So why is that a death-knell for sci-fi? It isn't obliged to be a prediction of the future, it isn't meant to be a roadmap to the stars. It's meant to be what any other kind of fiction is: enjoyable, escapism, thought provoking. The fact that the future is going to be weirder than we dreamed of just gives us more opportunities to wonder what things could be like.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

aix tom (902140) | about 2 years ago | (#39164285)

So other sentient life? That leaves out the most interesting aspect of Science Fiction.

Just look at one of my favourite "old" Sci-Fi show, Space Precinct, where there is a prospering alien civilisation, where the Humans are basically the poor (and often illegal) immigrants, fleeing the economically failed Earth.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about 2 years ago | (#39164417)

Wait, that was a real show?

Oh... oh no...

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 2 years ago | (#39165003)

Uhhhh - real science fiction is almost NEVER a "show". What you watch on television is something else entirely.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#39165323)

Furthermore, the dreams of the past have proven dead. The hopes of the atomic age and space age have turned out to be far more difficult to achieve in reality.

Far more difficult than what? Writing a quick pulp fiction book?

Humans are NOT going to just pack their stuff into spaceships and start colonizing the moons and local planets, then somehow cheat physics and do the same thing at other stars.

Eh, while I agree that humans aren't cheating physics any time soon (never being more likely), why aren't humans going to "just pack their stuff into spaceships and start colonizing the moons and local planets"? Do you have any evidence for that assertion other than it turns out to be more difficult than some 50s sci fi writers alleged?

In fact, a rational view of other future, one based on the current trajectories of how things are heading, is that human beings will NEVER colonize anywhere else.

Uh huh. I assume you've considered such trends as declining costs of putting things into space (a trend operating over decades), declining costs of making reliable things, the human desire to go elsewhere, including into space, and other such things?

"Apes in a can" spaceship will never happen.

We have more than half a century of counterexamples.

Us short lived jumped up primates are too fragile and too dumb, instead we will bootstrap our way to creating entities that do not have our human weaknesses.

Such as longer lived, smarter humans? Or merely continuing to do difficult tasks with the remarkable intelligence we already have?

I have good news. You have somehow been transported to a planet that doesn't have the insurmountable problems which you speak of.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (2)

rbrander (73222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39168219)

I believe his point was that those dreams are economically unachievable, not technically.

Charlie Stross has made that point more clearly than either of us could:

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2007/06/the_high_frontier_redux.html [antipope.org]
http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/08/space-cadets.html [antipope.org]

I only read those after I realized it myself - we were enjoying a review of all the episodes of "Firefly" and while I love the show, I was griping about the utter silliness of space travelers in cowboy hats saying "ain't" when it hit me that all my favourite Heinlein novels were pretty much the same deal. Between Planets (Venus), Red Planet (Mars), Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Farmer in the Sky (Ganymede) all made colonizing the solar system sound exactly like being a pioneer on the American frontier.

Don't crap on us, we're broken up about it, too. But science is also about accepting reality and attempting to imagine what world technology is likely to put us in - and a replay of the colonization of earthly continents is very unlikely, unless you have Larry Niven's Reactionless Drive powered by zero-point energy about to come out of your home lab.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39169973)

Charlie Stross has made that point more clearly than either of us could:

Maybe he can. But he hasn't yet. His arguments suffer from the problem that they don't actually address actual problems of space development, exploration, or colonization. They also are often obviously wrong. Take this little blurb from "Space Cadets".

My problem, however, is that there is no equivalence between outer space and the American west.

Humans are a climax organism that is fundamentally dependent on a couple of key ecosystems. There's the one we carry around in our guts â" about a kilogram of bacteria and fungi, for a typical adult â" without which we can't even digest most of our food. And there's the ecosystem we live in. (Or ecosystems. Because of our unique horizontally-transferable tool culture we can adapt to existence in terrestrial ecosystems other than the one our ancestors coevolved with. But there are limits; we don't thrive in Antarctica, or at the bottom of the ocean trenches.) We're also somewhat dependent on our extraordinary extended phenotype, from flint hand-axes to Space Shuttles. Maintaining that phenotype is a large-scale operation supported by a penumbra of extended cultural activities that maintain the ability to maintain the phenotype â" primary school teachers, for example, don't bend metal but are absolutely vital to the activity of engineering insofar as you've got to start educating your next generation of engineers somewhere. Hence some earlier postings on this blog.

It ignores, for example, that we do thrive in Antarctica (even in the presence of the Antarctica Treaty which bans most viable economic activity) and in the seas (we just live on them rather than 20 km down), and that US-based science fiction has managed to make valid comparisons between the myths of the US West and space exploration for well over 50 years. And most of his observations are irrelevant. Humans are complex organisms? Not relevant since their life support and similar needs are much simpler. Earth-based society is complex? Not relevant unless you plan on transplanting Manhattan or Tokyo intact to space. One would not expect a 6,000 person colony to be complex, just as a small Earth town isn't as complex as a major metropolis.

Another example of his blindness in the matter:

Basically, it's not clear how large a system you need to support human civilization.

On Earth, it's thought that everyone is descended from perhaps 3,000 or so people about 70-80k years ago. That pretty much is the established upper bound for how large a system you need to support human civilization.

If I were writing such an article, I would instead focus on the lack of economic viability especially over human lifetimes, which is the true obstacle and which, I might add, would make my writing superior to Stross's. And that argument would contain its great weakness. Once the activities in question become economically viable, the whole argument, the only real argument against space activities as it turns out, evaporates.

Sure, it may be possible for Charlie Stross to write a better defense of his ideas than I can. But he hasn't yet.

Don't crap on us, we're broken up about it, too. But science is also about accepting reality and attempting to imagine what world technology is likely to put us in - and a replay of the colonization of earthly continents is very unlikely, unless you have Larry Niven's Reactionless Drive powered by zero-point energy about to come out of your home lab.

That just means we need to make the worlds we end up living in. Just like we do on Earth. We don't need imaginary super-tech that doesn't actually solve the problem.

The problem with trying to argue against the feasibility of space colonization or similar activities on technological grounds is that we have a demonstrated, very long history of dealing with and overcoming difficult technological hurdles. It is not enough for space colonization to be hard. It must be physically impossible. I'd argue that we've already shown that's not so, with projects such as the ISS.

Even Interstellar travel can't be shown to be physically impossible. We already have ideas such as generational ships (or perhaps crewed by very long lived people) that obey physical law. Merely taking a long time to get somewhere doesn't make something impossible, it makes it hard, a situation we already know how to deal with.

It's worth noting that we are already traveling interstellar distances at the speed of about 220 km/s or 0.07% of the speed of light. The development of agriculture is about 10-12k years ago. That means we have traveled 7 to 8 light-years since civilization has begun. Since the population bottleneck of 70-80k years ago, we've traveled somewhere around 50-65 light-years.

This is the fundamental weakness of the technological argument. It is defeated by what we've already done rather than a discussion of what we could do.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39170501)

US-based science fiction has managed to make valid comparisons between the myths of the US West and space exploration for well over 50 years.

How exactly do fictionalised retellings of historical fictions tell us anything useful in real life about space colonisation?

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172701)

US-based science fiction has managed to make valid comparisons between the myths of the US West and space exploration for well over 50 years.

How exactly do fictionalised retellings of historical fictions tell us anything useful in real life about space colonisation?

I imagine a few centuries down the road, we'll find out that they told us quite a bit about fictionalized retellings of historical space colonization. But to answer your question more accurately, they tell us the most important thing that will be needed for space colonization: motivation. What spurs people to do what they do hasn't changed since the beginning of human civilization and isn't likely to change in the next few centuries.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

rbrander (73222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39173453)

Thanks. That's where he lost me, too.

A lot of the rest was TL;DR once I saw that one, plus a few more bits that are characteristic of hand-wave-ism in arguments for our space-opera future:

"Thrive" != "Survive at all with imported food, clothing, and shelter". Explain the economic model for *making* food, clothing, and shelter in Antarctica and people would be interested in changing that treaty. NB: "Greenhouse food under lights powered by a nuclear reactor" is still not "thrive" unless the antarctic colony can build it's own next nuclear reactor. Anything that can't self-sustain is an expensive hobby of the parent nation (or world).

Self-sustainment is about a system, and "3000 human beings" is not a system, it's the population that depends on a system that involves millions of species (thousands in your own gut) that we absolutely have zero idea how to replicate off this planet - or even in a building on it. A self-sustaining colony would take thousands of years just to VET that it did not need periodic correction from Earth to keep from dying out for lack of some biological support system.

But anyway, the last line sums it up: We've been on an exponential improvement curve for centuries, therefore that will continue and we are headed for a Singularity. Alas, in real life, most exponential growth curves hit limiting factors and become S-shaped. Including the Earth's population curve, ending the motivation for very expensive expansion. When it was just two-thirds of a century from Kitty Hawk to Tranquility Base, it seemed logical to extend that curve ahead, giving us the Pan-Am Space Clipper and the Jupiter mission by 2001. And that prediction was Not Even Remotely Close. The aerospace technology improvement curve flattened out. A Saturn V today would be only a little lighter and have a little higher thrust. Still billions of dollars per astronaut day on the moon (Apollo was about $5B/astronaut-day on the surface. And no, they did not "thrive" there, either.)

I repeat, phone me when you have zero-point energy and reactionless drives. It's that whole fuel and mass-ratio thing that's holding up progress. Umm, also, I could use some gray goo that turns Mars dust into filet mignon.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (2)

witherstaff (713820) | more than 2 years ago | (#39169713)

I don't really see us suddenly having a colonized space in a decade, or a hundred years. But I am sure it will happen. Now that you have private companies like spaceX launching into space it doesn't take much imagination to see a few wealthy individuals setting up shop. Once you start being able to mine some asteroids for material easier than on Earth there is an economic reason for it. I forget the book series, but it had the moon colonized because Earth refused to allow nanotechnology to be allowed on it. So people went to the moon or other system locations to live. It won't be like the American Wild West, it will be a slow and boring progression that wouldn't merit a sci fi book or a tv show.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#39170035)

I don't really see us suddenly having a colonized space in a decade, or a hundred years.

I don't either. I do see a gradual rather than sudden colonization as possible in a hundred years.

It won't be like the American Wild West, it will be a slow and boring progression that wouldn't merit a sci fi book or a tv show.

Like the real world colonization of the New World. I'm not sure where you're going with this. The myths and fictions of historical colonization downplayed a lot of things as well too.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

urusan (1755332) | more than 2 years ago | (#39193599)

"Having colonized space" is very vague. If you mean that the solar system will be completely filled with colonists, then your statement is very obvious because it would be hard to design a semi-realistic scenario where that happens in a century, even with crazy advances in technology. It will take time for people to travel into space, build colonies, be born, communities to form, etc. Colonizing the solar system is much bigger task than colonizing the American continent. The moon by itself has slightly less surface area than the American continent.

If the bar is set lower, then I agree it's unlikely that any interesting colonization will happen in this decade. However, I don't find it hard to imagine a realistic scenario where substantial human colonies exist throughout the solar system by 2112. It's easy to look at our meager progress over the course of one decade and say that nothing dramatic will happen, but exponential technological/economic growth is surprising in the long run. Do you seriously think that someone living in 1910 would forsee that we'd have regular (if expensive) flights to LEO? They definitely couldn't forsee the New Horizons mission to Pluto, as Pluto wasn't discovered until 1930.

More important than direct progress on one goal (space colonization) is our broader technological progress over the course of a century. There's plenty of techology with important Earth-based applications that happens to be useful for space colonization. Fusion power would be a major game changer for space travel, as it would allow us to build relatively safe spacecraft that could lift thousands or even millions of tons of people and equipment to anywhere in the inner planets region in a matter of weeks. Conservatively, ITER should start producing fusion power in 2026...so what are the chances that we won't have practical fusion by 2112? Another major game changer would be molecular nanotechnology, which would allow us to lift only a tiny colonization pod to the target, at which point everything that was needed for human survival could be produced on-site even if needed molecules were missing (for instance, water could be produced from available sources of hydrogen and oxygen...as well as more complex items such as food without needing to bring along biomass). Several smaller developments together could also make a big difference too, such as advances in robotics allowing robotic missions to pave the way for human colonization (building base infrastructure) or advances in solar power giving us tons of excess energy to launch ships with. Even simply re-engineering current launch methods could yield some pretty amazing results, such as Space-X's plan to recover rockets (the construction of which accounts for 99% of present-day launch costs) by using computers to pilot the rocket back to Earth. There might even be unexpected developments based on science that hasn't been done yet. A lot can happen in 100 years...just look at 1800-1900 and 1900-2000.

It's very hard to tell today which of these things will pan out, but it's unlikely that there will be no major technological progress over the course of an entire century...and if this is the case, then we will have bigger problems.

Tell MIT about that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39165511)

If $2.99/copy makes authors more money and the publications themselves more attractive, from the perspective of the buyer, why does MIT in its intellectual glory, price its limited edition hard cover edition at the same price point as its Kindle edition?

Do they really respect Jeff Bezos that much?

Re:Tell MIT about that (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | about 2 years ago | (#39166419)

No, because if you publish a book in 2 versions, they have to be priced the same, or one market will cannabalize sales from others. MIT has decided that whatever they are charging is what the market will bear. Nothing wrong with that.

However, in the case of sci-fi, an author can lower his price to a couple bucks and still make as much or more money per copy sold as he would earn with traditional publishing. Some premium authors who are well known won't sell their books for less than the hardcover price.

Re:Tell MIT about that (1)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | about 2 years ago | (#39166805)

The real question is not why TRSF is the same price for the print version as for the electronic version (and what to do if you, as I do, want both - a book to put on the shelf and a kindle version to read) but why is Arc $7 for the electronic version and $30 for the print-on-demand hardcopy version. Does it really cost $23 to print something on paper?

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

NicknameAvailable (2581237) | about 2 years ago | (#39166239)

Science Fiction seems to be growing - I heard a few days ago the people running the Emmies were considering a sci-fi award - this is probably in relation to that.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (2)

arcite (661011) | about 2 years ago | (#39166757)

Of course, you realize that NO ONE predicted the impact that the internet would have a scant 30 years ago. A little over 100 years ago NO ONE predicted the impact that intercontinental flight would have, let alone the advanced made with war machines throughout the 20th century. Frankly, I pity your lack of imagination. In the next few years, there will be more space tourists visiting space than there have been professional astronauts in the past sixty years. Things change, some people can predict them, most cannot. I haven't even mentioned advances that are happening in artificial intelligence, Human-machine interfaces, drones, sub-atomic computing, even advances in harnessing energy. The list is endless.

You apparently haven't read Vernor Vinge (2)

xmark (177899) | more than 2 years ago | (#39169581)

Of course, you realize that NO ONE predicted the impact that the internet would have a scant 30 years ago.

True Names was published in 1981, which is a scant 31 years ago. Read it first of all to see that someone DID envision the impact of the global internet, and its resultant creation of cyberspace. But more importantly, read it because it is a brilliant example of what science fiction can be.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39170543)

In the next few years, there will be more space tourists visiting space than there have been professional astronauts in the past sixty years.

I, for one, look forward eagerly to a series of tragic accidents that end up killing several extremely wealthy, utterly pointless human beings.

"Houston we have a problem."
"Well fucking buy yourself a space tow truck then."

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

LienRag (1787684) | more than 2 years ago | (#39237371)

It's not strictly internet, but Murray Leinster's "A logic named Joe" was published in 1946...

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | about 2 years ago | (#39167213)

On the one hand, traditional publishing has been dying.

Publishing is always dying. It's famous for how much money it doesn't make.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39168085)

The hopes of the atomic age and space age have turned out to be far more difficult to achieve in reality.

Which would be a serious problem indeed for the science fiction genre, had there been no new ideas in the field since the 1950s.

While I think that your post almost entirely misses the point of science fiction in that you're focusing on the technology rather than on the story, even on that level you're looking in the wrong place. Decades ago we had the dawn of the nuclear age, the space race, the Cold War--and the science fiction of that era reflected the associated hopes, fears, and gadgets.

When more recent works touch on 'new' or 'edgy' technology, we get telepresence, virtual worlds, emergent artificial intelligences, pervasive surveillance. The invisible-but-deadly bogeyman isn't radiation anymore; now we have bioweapons and nanotechnology. There are always going to be technical or scientific frontiers that will prompt worldbuilding.

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39168111)

Furthermore, the dreams of the past have proven dead. The hopes of the atomic age and space age have turned out to be far more difficult to achieve in reality. Instead, it now looks like the world of the future is going to be far weirder and harder to understand than than we dreamed of.

Sounds like a good subject for an SF story:

http://web.archive.org/web/20100526022103/http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/it/1988/1/1988_1_34.shtml [archive.org]

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

nightfell (2480334) | more than 2 years ago | (#39168921)

Furthermore, the dreams of the past have proven dead. The hopes of the atomic age and space age have turned out to be far more difficult to achieve in reality. Instead...

Yeah, but modern day wizards and vampires, and long ago elves and dragons, *those* things have all panned out as real!

Re:Science Fiction growing or dying? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39170465)

Several authors I know of would release a "beta version" of their stories as an ebook, make some money, and pay editors to help them make a cleaned up and improved version.

If there were a book about "The Top Ten Stupidest Ideas Of All Time" that would go straight in near the top. Literature is not the same as software.

This is an important development (5, Interesting)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about 2 years ago | (#39164221)

The future is upon us. Changes in technology brings up issues in ethics and politics from cloning to privacy to immortality to fears of an all pervasive police state. What was fiction a few years ago (TV ads in subways, personalized advertising) is now on the verge of being real. Many of us walk around with TVs in our pocket and take it forgranted. Thoughts of how new technology and society mesh used to be the province of science fiction writers. Now it is the province of anyone interested in their lives in the very near future.

Re:This is an important development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39165257)

forgranted -> for granted

Re:This is an important development (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | about 2 years ago | (#39166447)

thank you. where's my F7 when I need it :-)

Roads? (1)

arcite (661011) | about 2 years ago | (#39166783)

Where we're going, we don't need roads!

Re:This is an important development (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39170581)

Just because you can have TV ads in subways doesn't mean you're going to end up with immortality.

Re:This is an important development (1)

GLMDesigns (2044134) | more than 2 years ago | (#39181115)

I'm not saing that TV ads lead to immortality - only that things are changing far quicker than most realize. We're doubling processing speed, memory, bandwidth every 18-24 months. We can get 2TB harddrives for $129. I spent $200 for my first external hardrive and it had 20MB (late 1980s). That's 18 or so doubles in 22 years. Where will we be in another 20 years? 2TBs will become 2 million TBs. Regarding "immortality" the first aspect is being worked on right now - being able to "read thoughts". If we can "read" thoughts we can record them. If we can record them then can we bring all brain functions to 1s and 0s? At that point we have immortality - our brain, thoughts, consciousness lives on in 1s and 0s. Again, I'm not saying that TV ads in the subway leads automatically to immortality.

Good news to me (2)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | about 2 years ago | (#39164231)

I enjoy a good science fiction story as much or even more than science fantasy - the difference? Science fiction is based on our current understanding of science and stays within the realm of possibility. However, both science fiction and science fantasy spur the imaginations of our future innovators, so lets hope the next generation of inventors will be reading these stories (or at least hope they read something, even if it is Harry Potter).

Re:Good news to me (2)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 years ago | (#39165213)

I agree with you there, although this should apply to the physics side of things, not practical barriers. Just because we don't know how to do something now, shouldn't stop a writer from assuming we might know how to do it in the future.

For instance, the human life span. It's totally possible that this might be extended considerably (all the way up to indefinitely). A 134-year trip (one way) to some far-away destination would no longer require "generation-ships" to do. The business-side of things (how such things might be financed) is of course a whole other matter, but one might assume that these ships are assembled in the asteroid belt by a system semi-autonomous drones and factories, networked together and under the control of an AI using "free" energy from the Sun. A whole lot more believable that "finding" an alien ship under the Antarctic ice, capable of FTL travel.

Re:Good news to me (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39170615)

It's totally possible that this might be extended considerably (all the way up to indefinitely).

It's possible in the sense that the idea doesn't seem to break any of the currently formulated laws of physics (unlike faster than light travel), but that doesn't mean it's ever gong to happen.

"The future of science fiction" (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 2 years ago | (#39164255)

A.k.a. Science Fiction Science Fiction

News? (3, Funny)

Ambitwistor (1041236) | about 2 years ago | (#39164329)

I thought New Scientist already was science fiction.

Formats and standards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39164901)

Please note that ARC is only available for iPad or Kindle.
ePub?
This is not the standard you are looking for.

Thank you to TRSF, with ePub and Kindle formats.
Even if they should realise epub can be read on other readers than the Nook.

Re:Formats and standards (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#39167955)

Please note that ARC is only available for iPad or Kindle...Thank you to TRSF, with ePub and Kindle formats.

Compatibility problems generally go away if you have Calibre and the appropriate DRM-stripping plugins...

But if you'd rather deal with an SF magazine that doesn't impose DRM in the first place, check out Interzone:

http://ttapress.com/interzone/ [ttapress.com]

You can get it in the usual formats from Smashwords or Fictionwise:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/132535 [smashwords.com]
http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/b129717/Interzone-Science-Fiction-and-Fantasy-Magazine-235/TTA-Press-Authors/?si=0 [fictionwise.com]

and there's a free sample issue:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/60013 [smashwords.com]
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/74316 [smashwords.com]

Huh? (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#39165287)

Arc features such articles as 'The best time travel movie ever made'

At least until the one based on a true story did will have camed out.

20 comments? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39165429)

The story ahead of this one, at the time I posted this, 178 comments posted. The story after 102.

Can't say it looks all too encouraging. An this is among a literate crowd which likes sci-fi.

Re:20 comments? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#39166605)

Can't say it looks all too encouraging.

Doesn't sound that impressive a story to me at a literate, sci fi reader. A couple of publishers are entering a niche market in sci fi. Why should people care as much about this as a good troll story about homophobia or the FBI having to cut back substantially on its warrantless surveillance activities?

EPUB Anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39165503)

Aren't these guys supposed to be forward-thinking? What's with only publishing on Kindle and iCrap?

Omni magazine redux? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 years ago | (#39165541)

Say what you will, I miss Omni, goofy pseudo-science and all. It was usually entertaining, as long as you didn't take it too seriously...

Re:Omni magazine redux? (2)

dwye (1127395) | about 2 years ago | (#39166181)

Say what you will, I miss Omni, goofy pseudo-science and all. It was usually entertaining, as long as you didn't take it too seriously...

I just read it for the fiction.

OTOH, I *do* remember reading about GRID (later renamed AIDS) in OMNI well before I did anywhere else. Actually, I think that I read about it before it was named, even.

Re:Omni magazine redux? (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39172257)

THIS. I was just the right age (12? 14?) for Omni to resonate with me during its heyday.

Science Fiction often inspires Science (2)

Poltron Inconnu (985067) | about 2 years ago | (#39165971)

There's a long list of scientists that are also science fiction authors. Many of the best and brightest scientists were inspired to become scientists by the fiction they read. Even so, science fiction has long been treated as an unwanted step-child by both the literature and science crowds with neither taking it seriously. It's nice to see serious science magazines recognizing and supporting that important link.

ARC vs. TRSF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39166233)

Ok, so Bruce Sterling and Stephen Baxter (ARC) vs. Pat Cadigan and Joe Haldeman (TRSF). I've only read Sterling, so I'll probably go with ARC even though it's more expensive. Also, I subscribe to MIT Technology Review (Publishers of TRSF), and it's a good magazine, but it's also really slick and when I read it I always feel like they have a team of Northwestern Wharton Business School MBA graduates sitting around trying to figure out how to promote the magazine more. In the TRSF description it says 'Inspired by real-world technological breakthroughs', and it just smacks of the idea that they have authors read their magazine and write 'near future scenarios' which tie into the folks featured in the magazine -- it seems like self-reinforcing self-promotion. TRSF does seems pleasantly diverse, even including 'a leading feminist voice in science fiction for decades', but honestly ARC presents itself more as a, well, Science Fiction magazine, and something more like someone who likes Science Fiction would, well, be interested in reading. Plus Sterling has excellent technology (and Sci Fi) credentials and I'd read anything he wrote. Just my two cents, and only worth that much. What are your opinions?

Dare to dream (1)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 2 years ago | (#39166323)

What's the big deal here? Are they rebranding the Science Fiction as Science Fact?
Will there be cross-overs between the various publications to obfuscate science from fiction?

Or is it just a publisher recognizing that the influence of Science Fiction can help steer public interest in Science, offer ways of explaining recent discoveries in an easy and entertaining manner to the layman and have a hand in helping steer today's youth to careers in scientific related fields or at least to encourage them to be open minded and accepting of science?

'ebook' format (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39166329)

Your choices are Zinio (DRM, Desktop computer/iDevice) or Kindle (DRM, Kindle only). Because no other devices exist.

Looking for ideas? (2)

boddhisatva (774894) | about 2 years ago | (#39166407)

In the 30-year (or so) old film "Three Days of the Condor", Robert Redford works for a little CIA branch that reads books and magazines looking for ideas. They strike a nerve somewhere and the shooting starts. There's "fantasy" science fiction which is wonderfully imaginative and there is "science" science fiction a la Arthur C. Clarke who described telecommunications and global positioning satellites in the 1950s, Star Trek's "Warp Drive" prompted the idea of the Alcubierre drive which is theoretically but not technologically possible. Of course flying was known to be theoretically possible but not technologically possible until the last century.

Re:Looking for ideas? (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | about 2 years ago | (#39166583)

Star Trek's "Warp Drive" prompted the idea of the Alcubierre drive which is theoretically but not technologically possible. Of course flying was known to be theoretically possible but not technologically possible until the last century.

Not the same. Flying was known to be technologically possible because we see plenty of things which already fly. Birds, bats, etc have already the technology to fly. But even if they didn't exist, we could come up with models, such as the flying wing or hot air balloon that would strongly indicate that flying was technologically possible.

The Alcubierre drive is merely not obviously prohibited by our current theoretical understanding of physics. That's a vastly weaker claim.

Re:Looking for ideas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39167789)

I agree that it's a vastly weaker claim than flight, and that it's entirely conceivable (I don't presume to assign "probability" one way or the other) no one will ever discover the "magic" that lets you generate an Alcubierre drive field.

However, an analogous notion that did pan out is a "permanent" electromagnet, which was a not-obviously-prohibited solution of Maxwell's equations, but not technologically possible until the discovery of superconductivity. Of course, the magnetic field of a superconducting solenoid is identical to the field of a conducting solenoid with a constant-current source, so this would be a preciser analogy if we could already generate an Alcubierre field, but it took more energy to sustain than moving the ship directly through flat spacetime, but it's still something to think about.

Forgot the most important one (1)

arcite (661011) | about 2 years ago | (#39166797)

Startrek PADD = iPad. ;)

Good for authors, too. (1)

Christopher_T. (1857830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39174019)

Hope they have competitive ad rates. Not like there's an oversupply of outlets, either. Also interested in who'll be editing, and if they're going to go after new talents.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...