Science Fiction Brewed Fresh Daily

Our Blogiversary

OWC SquidAs of today, there have been a full three years of this nonsense. We haven’t missed a weekday post since Christmas of 2006. Clearly, we need a hobby. Or possibly sedation.

To celebrate, if you comment on a post this week you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win an O*W*C mug, complete with menacing space squid!

Posted in News August 17th, 2009 by Chip
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The Clockwork Century

Author Cherie Priest has written several stories set in the same alternate history/steampunkish milieu, including novels Boneshaker (due out in October) and Dreadnought (due in Fall of 2010). She’s put together a site devoted to the stories’ shared world.

Here, it is 1880 (or thereabouts). The Civil War is still underway, drawn out by English interference, a different transportation infrastructure, and a powerful Republic of Texas that discovered oil at Spindletop some fifty years sooner than real life allowed.

The competition of war has led to technological progress and horrors unimaginable, and many people have fled the combating states, hoping for an easier life out west.

Some of them have found it.
Some of have found something else.

The site is new and a bit sparse, but it looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. I like her disquisition on Steampunk, here.

Posted in Books & Authors August 14th, 2009 by Chip
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NASA’s “40-Year Projects” May be Funded Again

NASA founded its Institute for Advanced Concepts in 1998 to fund outside research for concepts and products which had realization horizons of no fewer than 10 and no more than 40 years. It eventually lost funding, but the National Research Council has reviewed the NIAC program and concluded that a similar program could be re-launched.

Ars Technica has more.

Posted in News, Space August 13th, 2009 by Chip
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“Touchable” Holography

The University of Tokyo’s Shinoda Lab has come up with a way for holograms to provide tactile feedback. Wiimotes track hand motion and ultrasound creates the sensation of touch.

Posted in Science August 12th, 2009 by Chip
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Now I’m All Hungry

In a fit of whimsy, New Scientist has published an article comparing various cosmological models to similarly-shaped snack food. Expect the Intelligent Design guys to work a “god had the munchies” angle into their arguments.

One possibility is that space is curved like a Pringle. At the centre of a Pringle, the surface curves up and down at the same time (see diagram). In theory, every point in our universe could be like that – in mathematical language, space could be negatively curved.

Link (via The Daily Grail)

Posted in Space August 11th, 2009 by Chip
1 comment

Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Chart

Cracked has a nice breakdown of the mindset behind “the controversy.”

Posted in News August 10th, 2009 by Chip
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Make Yourself a Little Something

MakersCory Doctorow’s new novel Makers will be published in October, and as a runup to the release Tor.com is serializing the book on its site.

They’ve also created an online tile game which is being serialized along with the book. A total of 80 weird little illustrations were created, one for each chunk of the novel, and they’re drawn in such a way that each of an image’s sides will blend with any other image. You can drag tiles around and rotate them to match rats’ tails with firehoses or whatever else your little heart desires. More tiles will be revealed as more chapters are released, so you can make more complex…um…things.

It’s nice to see this kind of online-specific promotion for a book, although it’s hardly surprising with Doctorow. Having new game pieces released at intervals will keep the book on peoples’ minds until its release, and this kind of game will appeal to its target audience. Somebody in Tor’s marketing department apparently gets it.

Posted in Books & Authors August 7th, 2009 by Chip
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Steampunk Willie

Epic MickeyGaming house Junction Point Studios appears to be working on a game which offers a rather apocalyptic take on Mickey Mouse and the Magic Kingdom.

Over at Oh No They Didn’t they’ve unearthed quite a bit of concept art and collected rumors of an upcoming game for the Wii codenamed “Epic Mickey.” If they actually realize the vision suggested in the preliminary drawings, this is going to be a beautiful and nightmarish game.

Now we just need to somehow convince Disney to let a few characters like “Zombie Goofy” wander around the park….

via (Topless Robot)
(Post title shamelessly stolen from a comment over at TR)

Posted in Computers & Internet August 6th, 2009 by Chip
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New SF Podcast

SofanautsStarShipSofa, the “audio science fiction magazine” has just launched an SF news podcast called The Sofanauts.

The Sofanauts is a weekly SF news related show. Joining me each week are a variety of guests from the world of science fiction literature, SF blogs and publishing to bring you the latest news and gossip from the world of SF. Guests have ranged from science fiction writers, including Jeff VanderMeer, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jeremiah Tolbert and Gord Sellar (nominated for this year’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer) to editors and publishers, like the anthologist John Joseph Adams and Pablo Defendini (mover and shaker over at Tor.com). And one day I hope to snag young Mr Doctorow!

You can subscribe via iTunes or via the podcatcher of your choice. The podcasts are also available individually on the site, along with a guest list and topic index for each episode.

(via BoingBoing)

Posted in News August 5th, 2009 by Chip
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More Things to Worry About

I remain vaguely mystified by the media’s repeated assurances that robots are about to go all SkyNet on us any day now. This NY Times article worries that “machines may outsmart man.”

Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society’s workload, from waging war to chatting with customers on the phone.

What they’re actually concerned about is that one of the “autonomous killing machines” that the military keeps talking about building might fritz out and kill a few civilians, but the breathless tone of the article suggests that we’re one FOREACH away from welcoming our new robot overlords.

What do you think? Should there be limits on robotics research to prevent such a fate?

Posted in News August 4th, 2009 by Chip
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