Tuesday, January 27, 2015

An SF (& bit of F) assortment

Few ideas are as well-represented in SF as space travel. More and more, as we learn how inhospitable Earth's solar-system neighbors are, space-centric storytelling turns to interstellar settings. So: an award specific to interstellar travel seems like it would be a Good Idea. Now, thanks to 100 Year Starship, there is such an award.

"The 100YSS Canopus Award for Interstellar Fiction will be given for the best work of science fiction published between 2011 to 2014 that focuses on the challenges and benefits of interstellar exploration. The award will be given in multiple categories ranging from length, short story to novel, to media, video games to television to film. As well, the inaugural award will be presented in late Spring 2015." Read more about the Canopus Award here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Say, kids, what time is it?

What with winter blahs and post-holiday letdown, what better moment could there be for some diversion? And so, drawing upon classical SF and Nonsense subject areas, herewith an assortment of thought-provoking items (well, they provoked my thoughts):

They're bot-tastic
"Robotic Micro-Scallops Can Swim Through Your Eyeballs." And why would you want that? As a medical-delivery system. Eyeballs are attention-getting, of course, but the larger point is that blood, like eyeball fluid, doesn't act like water. Autonomous tiny bots able to make their way through non-Newtonian fluids like blood and vitreous humor (that's doc-speak for eyeball fluid) to inspect, repair, and/or deliver meds with precision will be a Big Step Forward. (Not to mention a Small Miracle(s), but that's a whole 'nother story ;-)  ....)

Shifting our attention to robots on a larger scale, consider "Flying Selfie Bots: Tag-Along Video Drones Are Here: Sports enthusiasts are clamoring for aerial robots that can record their best moves." Read the details or watch the video and you'll see that "here" is a tad overstated -- but with more than a million in Kickstarter funding, this is a product category we can expect to see before long.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

SF and Nonsense reader survey

People read blogs for many reasons. To keep SF and Nonsense fresh and useful to visitors, I'd like to better understand their -- your -- interests. Please help by taking this brief (three multiple-choice questions) anonymous survey.

And if you'd rather not be surveyed? That's fine! There's plenty of content here (almost 400 posts, as I type) on the blog to divert you.

Ready? Then it's on to the SF and Nonsense survey! I'll be collecting data through Monday, February 16, 2015.

The big picture ;-)

Monday, January 5, 2015

The science behind the fiction

Analog magazine is, using its full title, Analog Science Fiction and Fact. In that fact category, I've written a dozen articles for the magazine. (Should you be counting, #12 is queued up and should run sometime this year.) Most of my articles have been in a series that -- in my mind, anyway -- is called The Science Behind the Fiction.

Breaking light speed, Star Wars (1977)
In other words, the articles cover common genre tropes: assumptions -- like faster-than-light travel -- that underpin lots of science fiction. They look at whether there is (or, at least, could be) a decent scientific rationale for these assumptions. The articles also offer SF examples of tropes and their (often implicit) rationales as found in literary, video, and (less often) gaming contexts.