• About David Weiner – IT CAME FROM…

    An entertainment industry mainstay, David Weiner is the creator of the Rondo Award-nominated, retro genre pop-culture site IT CAME FROM…

    He is the director/writer/producer of IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS, a critically acclaimed four-and-a-half-hour documentary about ’80s horror movies, its follow-up IN SEARCH OF DARKNESS: PART II, and IN SEARCH OF TOMORROW, a documentary about ’80s Sci-Fi movies, for CreatorVC.

  • ‘We’ve Already Survived an Apocalypse’: Indigenous Writers Are Changing Sci-Fi - The New York Times

    Dimaline, along with Waubgeshig Rice, Rebecca Roanhorse, Darcie Little Badger and Stephen Graham Jones, who has been called “the Jordan Peele of horror literature,” are some of the Indigenous novelists reshaping North American science fiction, horror and fantasy — genres in which Native writers have long been overlooked.

    Their fiction often draws on Native American and First Nations mythology and narrative traditions in ways that upend stereotypes about Indigenous literature and cultures. And the authors are gaining recognition in a corner of the literary world that has traditionally been white, male and Eurocentric, rooted in Western mythology.

    Some authors say that sci-fi and fantasy settings allow them to reimagine the Native experience in ways that wouldn’t be possible in realistic fiction. Writing futuristic narratives and building fantasy worlds provide a measure of freedom to tell stories that feel experimental and innovative, and aren’t weighted down by the legacies of genocide and colonialism.

    “We’ve already survived an apocalypse,” said Roanhorse, who is of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo descent.

    For Indigenous authors, writing themselves into sci-fi and fantasy narratives isn’t just about gaining visibility within popular genres. It is part of a broader effort to overcome centuries of cultural misrepresentation.

    “What most people know about Native people was created by outsiders, so it’s no surprise that it’s faulty,” said Debbie Reese, who is tribally enrolled at Nambé Pueblo and founded the site American Indians in Children’s Literature, which analyzes representations of Native people and beliefs in children’s books.

    While Indigenous writers are still underrepresented in the literary world, especially in genre fiction, their work is having an outsize impact. Roanhorse won two of the genre’s most prestigious awards, the Hugo and the Nebula, for her 2017 short story, “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™,” and the Locus Award for best first novel for “Trail of Lightning.” Both works have been optioned for screen adaptations.

    Dimaline’s novel, “The Marrow Thieves,” which unfolds in a dystopian future where Indigenous people are hunted for their bone marrow, won the Kirkus prize for young adult literature and is being adapted into a television series. She and Roanhorse have signed multi-book deals with major publishing houses in recent years.

    #Lecture #Science_fiction #Peuples_indigènes

  • La zone du cador. Révolution viriliste chez un « héros » de la gauche critique, Alain Damasio | Leïla Bergougnoux, Nina Faure et Yéléna Perret

    Alain Damasio est partout. Il est un invité régulier sur les ondes de France Culture [1] et dans les colonnes des Inrockuptibles [2], tandis que les journaux et revues de la gauche critique lui dressent des éloges panégyriques, de Reporterre à Ballast ou Lundi Matin, dont il est contributeur, en passant par le regretté Article XI. Quiconque s’intéresse aux idées libertaires, aux luttes anticapitalistes, aux ZAD et aux recherches d’alternatives croisera tôt ou tard sa prose enflammée et ses tirades tonitruantes, au détour d’un article ou d’un remix électro. Source : Les mots sont importants

  • We’re not going back to normal - MIT Technology Review

    Social distancing is here to stay for much more than a few weeks. It will upend our way of life, in some ways forever.

    Vous cherchez une bonne dystopie pour la situation : lisez l’éditorial de la MIT Tech. Review. Extraits (mais bien sûr, on peut contester ce qu’il juge inéluctable, et recréer un monde plus solidaire à partir de ce nouveau constat... j’ai toujours pensé que les « collapsionnistes » sont au fond les meilleurs alliés du système en place, car ils estiment qu’on ne peut pas le changer. Il ne faudrait pas que le COVID-19 leur donne encore plus de place mentale) :

    It’s now widely agreed (even by Britain, finally) that every country needs to “flatten the curve”: impose social distancing to slow the spread of the virus so that the number of people sick at once doesn’t cause the health-care system to collapse, as it is threatening to do in Italy right now. That means the pandemic needs to last, at a low level, until either enough people have had Covid-19 to leave most immune (assuming immunity lasts for years, which we don’t know) or there’s a vaccine.

    How long would that take, and how draconian do social restrictions need to be? Yesterday President Donald Trump, announcing new guidelines such as a 10-person limit on gatherings, said that “with several weeks of focused action, we can turn the corner and turn it quickly.” In China, six weeks of lockdown are beginning to ease now that new cases have fallen to a trickle.

    But it won’t end there. As long as someone in the world has the virus, breakouts can and will keep recurring without stringent controls to contain them. In a report yesterday (pdf), researchers at Imperial College London proposed a way of doing this: impose more extreme social distancing measures every time admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) start to spike, and relax them each time admissions fall. Here’s how that looks in a graph.

    Under this model, the researchers conclude, social distancing and school closures would need to be in force some two-thirds of the time—roughly two months on and one month off—until a vaccine is available, which will take at least 18 months (if it works at all). They note that the results are “qualitatively similar for the US.”

    Eighteen months!? Surely there must be other solutions. Why not just build more ICUs and treat more people at once, for example?

    Well, in the researchers’ model, that didn’t solve the problem. Without social distancing of the whole population, they found, even the best mitigation strategy—which means isolation or quarantine of the sick, the old, and those who have been exposed, plus school closures—would still lead to a surge of critically ill people eight times bigger than the US or UK system can cope with.

    There’ll be some adaptation, of course: gyms could start selling home equipment and online training sessions, for example. We’ll see an explosion of new services in what’s already been dubbed the “shut-in economy.” One can also wax hopeful about the way some habits might change—less carbon-burning travel, more local supply chains, more walking and biking.

    But the disruption to many, many businesses and livelihoods will be impossible to manage. And the shut-in lifestyle just isn’t sustainable for such long periods.

    So how can we live in this new world? Part of the answer—hopefully—will be better health-care systems, with pandemic response units that can move quickly to identify and contain outbreaks before they start to spread, and the ability to quickly ramp up production of medical equipment, testing kits, and drugs. Those will be too late to stop Covid-19, but they’ll help with future pandemics.

    Qiuand la surveillance totale devient la seule solution vue par le déterminisme technique.

    Ultimately, however, I predict that we’ll restore the ability to socialize safely by developing more sophisticated ways to identify who is a disease risk and who isn’t, and discriminating—legally—against those who are.

    We can see harbingers of this in the measures some countries are taking today. Israel is going to use the cell-phone location data with which its intelligence services track terrorists to trace people who’ve been in touch with known carriers of the virus. Singapore does exhaustive contact tracing and publishes detailed data on each known case, all but identifying people by name.

    The airline wouldn’t be able to see where you’d gone, but it would get an alert if you’d been close to known infected people or disease hot spots. There’d be similar requirements at the entrance to large venues, government buildings, or public transport hubs. There would be temperature scanners everywhere, and your workplace might demand you wear a monitor that tracks your temperature or other vital signs. Where nightclubs ask for proof of age, in future they might ask for proof of immunity—an identity card or some kind of digital verification via your phone, showing you’ve already recovered from or been vaccinated against the latest virus strains.

    Une « carte de bonne santé »...quelle imagination débordante (on dirait de la SF des anées 1930)

    As usual, however, the true cost will be borne by the poorest and weakest. People with less access to health care, or who live in more disease-prone areas, will now also be more frequently shut out of places and opportunities open to everyone else. Gig workers—from drivers to plumbers to freelance yoga instructors—will see their jobs become even more precarious. Immigrants, refugees, the undocumented, and ex-convicts will face yet another obstacle to gaining a foothold in society.

    Moreover, unless there are strict rules on how someone’s risk for disease is assessed, governments or companies could choose any criteria—you’re high-risk if you earn less than $50,000 a year, are in a family of more than six people, and live in certain parts of the country, for example. That creates scope for algorithmic bias and hidden discrimination, as happened last year with an algorithm used by US health insurers that turned out to inadvertently favor white people.

    Il va falloir inventer vite autre chose, sinon, nous allons vraiment vivre dans « Le meilleur des mondes » ou « Tous à Zanzibar ».

    #Coronavirus #Science_Fiction #surveillance

  • Q&A with Sofia Alaoui, dir. Qu’importe si les bêtes meurent [So What if the Goats Die] - Clermont 2020

    In the heights of the Atlas mountains, Abdellah, a young shepherd, and his father are snowed in. As their animals start to starve, Abdellah goes in search of supplies in a village more than a day’s walk away. With his mule, he arrives in the village and discovers that it has been deserted because of a curious event that has left all the believers baffled. The product of a truly incredible mix of genres, this short is a mesmerising oddity shot amongst the stunning, other-worldly landscape of (...) #Festivals

    / #arab, #French_film, #Film_Africa, #Science_fiction

  • Q&A with Noël Fuzellier, dir. Mars Colony - ClermontFF 2020

    Logan is a sci-fi obsessed awkward teenager who often finds himself the butt of his friends’ jokes. One day, he’s visited by an older man who claims to be him, 39 years from now and asks him to join him on a mission to save humankind. A sci-fi enthusiast himself, Noël Fuzellier’s passion for space travel and Mars in particular shines through this optimistic, unpretentious yet ambitious #Short. He deftly mixes low-key family dynamics typical of French cinema with zany space travel sequences. (...) #Festivals

    / Short, #Science_fiction


  • Retour sur la nucléarisation et la militarisation des Utopiales 2019 | La Volte

    Nous nous étions alarmé.e.s à la fin du mois d’octobre au sein des éditions La Volte en découvrant la grille de programmation du festival.

    Motifs : la présence du Ministère des Armées en la personne d’Emmanuel Chiva, Directeur de l’agence d’innovation de défense (invité par le festival), et l’accueil d’un concours d’écriture co-organisé par l’ANDRA et le magazine Usbek et Rica.

    Le Ministère des armées est invité depuis 2017 au festival. C’est aux Utopiales qu’est née et qu’a été testée l’idée de la future “red team”. Calquée sur le modèle US et censée réunir des auteur.e.s de SF pour “préparer les technologies et innovations qui seront nécessaires à nos futurs systèmes d’armement“, la création de cette fameuse équipe a été annoncée cet été à grand bruit dans la presse.

    Les Utopiales comme terrain d’expérimentation et source d’inspiration pour l’armée : c’est un point dont le principal intéressé, Emmanuel Chiva, ne s’est jamais caché, n’hésitant pas à en faire étalage dans divers médias ainsi qu’auprès du Sénat.

    Si le Ministère des armées est invité à recruter sa red team d’auteur.e.s en plein festival, pourquoi ne pas convier également Amnesty International ?

    Si l’on invite l’ANDRA à faire campagne auprès du public des Utopiales, pourquoi ne pas solliciter dans le même temps GreenPeace ou le réseau Sortir du Nucléaire ?

    Mais ce que nous soulignons par-dessus tout, c’est cette tentative de détournement massive de la littérature de science-fiction qui a éclaté au grand jour avec l’article paru sur le site de France Culture le 31 octobre, premier jour des Utopiales.

    Pour reprendre les propos d’Alain Damasio, qui était invité à intervenir à la table ronde “Secret Défense” le vendredi 1er novembre : est-ce là le rôle d’auteur.e.s de science-fiction que de se faire les promoteurs d’un “genre utile”, au service d’un état de guerre permanent, tel que l’a décrit Emmanuel Chiva sur scène ?

    À utiliser la science-fiction dans un but militaire, cet imaginaire de la guerre risque fatalement d’impacter notre vision du monde. La guerre est-elle un horizon souhaitable et désirable ?

    Bon, l’ANDRA ou les Armées ne sont pas « invitées », mais sponsors. Les festivals ne peuvent plus, malgré le succès comme celui des Utopiales, boucler leurs budgets sans l’apport de « partenaires » intéressés (au double sens du terme). C’est aussi ce recul de l’allocation sociale par le biais de l’impôt et des collectivités territoriales qui est en jeu. Quand les 1% captent tout l’argent, ils ont donc plus d’argent à dépenser pour servir leurs propres intérêts, y compris au travers d’activités culturelles ou sociales. L’imaginaire est donc réduit à ne voir l’avenir qu’au prisme des intérêts de ces 1%... très peu imaginatif donc. C’est comme les chercheurs (aussi présents aux Utopiales) qui ne peuvent plus voir l’avenir de leurs travaux qu’au filtre des « appel d’offre » immédiats et formatés en fonction des besoins des subventionneurs. L’imagination scientifique en prend un coup elle aussi.
    Je soutiens pleinement ce texte.

    #Utopiales #Science_fiction #Armée #ANDRA #Sponsoring #Imaginaire

  • Cory Doctorow: Fake News Is an Oracle – Locus Online

    In the same way, science fiction responds to our societal ideomotor responses. First, the authors write the stories about the futures they fear and rel­ish. These futures are not drawn from a wide-open field; rather, they make use of the writer’s (and audience’s) existing vocabulary of futuristic ideas: robots, internets and AIs, spaceships and surveil­lance devices. Writers can only get away with so much exposition in their fiction (though I’ve been known to push the limits) and so the imaginative leaps of a work of fiction are constrained by the base knowledge the writer feels safe in assuming their readers share.

    So the writers write the stories. Then the editors choose some of those stories to publish (or the writers publish them themselves). Then readers choose some of those stories to elevate to the discourse, making them popular and integrating them into our vocabulary about possible futures, good and bad. The process of elevation is complicated and has a lot of randomness in it (lucky breaks, skilled agents, PR wins, a prominent reviewer’s favor), but the single incontrovertible fact about a SF work’s popularity is that it has captured the public’s imagination. The warning in the tale is a warning that resonates with our current anxieties; the tale’s inspiration thrums with our own aspirations for the future.

    Reading a writer’s fiction tells you a lot about that writer’s fears and aspira­tions. Looking at the awards ballots and bestseller lists tells you even more about our societal fears and aspirations for the future. The system of writers and readers and editors and critics and booksellers and reviewers act as a kind of oracle, a societal planchette that our hands rest lightly upon, whose movements reveal secrets we didn’t even know we were keeping.

    Which brings me to “fake news.”

    “Fake news” is a nearly useless term, encompassing hoaxes, conspiracy theories, unfalsifiable statements, true facts spoken by people who are seek­ing to deceive audiences about the identity of the speaker, and as a catch-all meaning, “I read a thing on the internet that I disagree with.”

    But for all that, “fake news” is useful in one regard: the spread of a given hoax, or unfalsifiable statement, or truth delivered under color of falsehood, or conspiracy, or objectionable idea undeniably tells you that the idea has caught the public imagination. The fake news that doesn’t catch on may have simply been mishandled, but the fake news that does catch on has some plausibility that tells you an awful lot about the world we live in and how our fellow humans perceive that world.

    The anti-vaxers have a point. Not about the safety of vaccines. I believe they are 100% wrong about vaccines and that everyone who can should get a full schedule of vaccines for themselves and their children.

    But anti-vaxers have a point about the process.

    About 20 years ago, Purdue Pharma introduced a new blockbuster pain­killer to replace its existing flagship product, MS Contin, whose patent had expired. The new drug, Oxycontin, was said to be safe and long-lasting, with effects that would last an incredible 12 hours, without provoking the fast adaptation response characteristic of other opioids, which drives users to take higher and higher doses. What’s more, the company claimed that the addictive potential of opioids was vastly overstated, citing a one-paragraph letter to the New England Journal of Medicine penned by Boston University Medical Center’s Dr. Hershel Jick, who claimed that an internal, un-reviewed study showed that opioids could be safely given at higher doses, for longer times, than had been previously thought.

    Purdue Pharma weaponized the “Jick Letter,” making it one of the most-cited references in medical research history, the five most consequential sentences in the history of NEJM. Through a cluster of deceptive tactics – only coming to light now through a string of state lawsuits – Purdue cre­ated the opioid epidemic, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans and counting, more than died in the Vietnam War. Purdue made $31 billion. The Sackler family, owners of Purdue, are now richer than the Rockefellers.

    The regulators had every reason to know something terrible was going on, from the small town pharmacies ordering millions of pills to the dead piling up on the streets of American cities and towns. The only way they could miss the opioid crisis and its roots in junk science was if they were actively seeking not to learn about it – and no surprise, given how many top regulators come from industry, and have worked at an opioid giant (and more: they are often married to pharma execs, they’re godparents to other pharma execs’ kids, they’re executors of pharma execs’ estates – all the normal, tight social bonds from the top players in concentrated industries).

    Ten years ago, if you came home from the doctor’s with a prescription for oxy, and advice that they were not to be feared for their addictive potential, and an admonition that pain was “the fourth vital sign,” and its under-treatment was a great societal cruelty, you might have met someone who said that this was all bullshit, that you were being set up to be murdered by a family of ruthless billionaires whose watchdog had switched sides.

    You might have called that person an “opioid denier.”

    #Fake_news #Cory_Doctorow #Science_fiction #Vaccins #Opioides

  • Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds | The New Yorker

    As the standoff has intensified, Liu has become wary of touting the geopolitical underpinnings of his work. In November, when I accompanied him on a trip to Washington, D.C.—he was picking up the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation’s Award for Imagination in Service to Society—he briskly dismissed the idea that fiction could serve as commentary on history or on current affairs. “The whole point is to escape the real world!” he said. Still, the kind of reader he attracts suggests otherwise: Chinese tech entrepreneurs discuss the Hobbesian vision of the trilogy as a metaphor for cutthroat competition in the corporate world; other fans include Barack Obama, who met Liu in Beijing two years ago, and Mark Zuckerberg. Liu’s international career has become a source of national pride. In 2015, China’s then Vice-President, Li Yuanchao, invited Liu to Zhongnanhai—an off-limits complex of government accommodation sometimes compared to the Kremlin—to discuss the books and showed Liu his own copies, which were dense with highlights and annotations.

    Liu’s tomes—they tend to be tomes—have been translated into more than twenty languages, and the trilogy has sold some eight million copies worldwide. He has won China’s highest honor for science-fiction writing, the Galaxy Award, nine times, and in 2015 he became the first Asian writer to win the Hugo Award, the most prestigious international science-fiction prize. In China, one of his stories has been a set text in the gao kao—the notoriously competitive college-entrance exams that determine the fate of ten million pupils annually; another has appeared in the national seventh-grade-curriculum textbook. When a reporter recently challenged Liu to answer the middle-school questions about the “meaning” and the “central themes” of his story, he didn’t get a single one right. “I’m a writer,” he told me, with a shrug. “I don’t begin with some conceit in mind. I’m just trying to tell a good story.”

    The trilogy’s success has been credited with establishing sci-fi, once marginalized in China, as a mainstream taste. Liu believes that this trend signals a deeper shift in the Chinese mind-set—that technological advances have spurred a new excitement about the possibilities of cosmic exploration. The trilogy commands a huge following among aerospace engineers and cosmologists; one scientist wrote an explanatory guide, “The Physics of Three Body.” Some years ago, China’s aerospace agency asked Liu, whose first career was as a computer engineer in the hydropower industry, to address technicians and engineers about ways that “sci-fi thinking” could be harnessed to produce more imaginative approaches to scientific problems. More recently, he was invited to inspect a colossal new radio dish, one of whose purposes is to detect extraterrestrial communications. Its engineers had been sending Liu updates on the project and effusive expressions of admiration.
    “We’re looking for someone who can be very naughty when left alone, and your name kept popping up in our database.”

    Earlier this year, soon after a Chinese lunar rover achieved the unprecedented feat of landing on the dark side of the moon, an adaptation of Liu’s short story “The Wandering Earth” earned nearly half a billion dollars in its first ten days of release, eventually becoming China’s second-highest-grossing film ever. A headline in the People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party newspaper, jubilantly summed up the mood: “Only the Chinese Can Save the Planet!”

    Liu was born in 1963 in Beijing, where his father was a manager at the Coal Mine Design Institute and his mother was an elementary-school teacher. His father’s family came from the plains of Henan Province, in the Yellow River Basin, a region that suffered particularly dire calamities in the twentieth century. After the Japanese invaded China, in 1937—interrupting a civil war between Nationalists and Communists that had been raging for a decade—Henan became a vital strategic point in the Nationalist government’s attempt to prevent them from sweeping south. Chinese forces breached dikes on the Yellow River to halt the Japanese advance, but the resulting flood destroyed thousands of villages and killed hundreds of thousands of people. It also ruined vast areas of farmland; the next harvest was a fraction of the expected yield. In 1942-43, after the government failed to respond to the shortage, some two million people starved to death.

    When the civil war resumed, after the Second World War, both sides conscripted men. Liu’s paternal grandparents had two sons and no ideological allegiance to either side, and, in the hope of preserving the family line, they took a chilling but pragmatic gamble. One son joined the Nationalists and the other, Liu’s father, joined the Communists. He rose to the rank of company commander in the Eighth Route Army, and, after the Communist victory, he began his career in Beijing. To this day, Liu doesn’t know what became of his uncle.

    Je comprends mieux, Lui a lu un de mes livres d’enfance préféré.

    Meanwhile, his father had turned him on to speculative fiction, giving him a copy of Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth.” To the young Liu, reading Verne’s book was like walking through a door to another world. “Everything in it was described with such authority and scrupulous attention to detail that I thought it had to be real,” Liu told me.

    The great flourishing of science fiction in the West at the end of the nineteenth century occurred alongside unprecedented technological progress and the proliferation of the popular press—transformations that were fundamental to the development of the genre. As the British Empire expanded and the United States began to assert its power around the world, British and American writers invented tales of space travel as seen through a lens of imperial appropriation, in which technological superiority brought about territorial conquest. Extraterrestrials were often a proxy for human beings of different creeds or races.

    Types are central to the way Liu thinks of people; he has a knack for quickly sketching the various classes that make up Chinese society. A scientist is described as “nothing more than a typical intellectual of the period: cautious, timid, seeking only to protect himself.” Another character, “a typical political cadre of the time,” had “an extremely keen sense for politics and saw everything through an ideological lens.” This characteristic endows his fiction with a sociopolitical specificity that has the texture of reality. At the same time, it doesn’t allow for much emotional complexity, and Liu has been criticized for peopling his books with characters who seem like cardboard cutouts installed in magnificent dioramas. Liu readily admits to the charge. “I did not begin writing for love of literature,” he told me. “I did so for love of science.”

    August Cole, a co-author of “Ghost Fleet,” a techno-thriller about a war between the U.S. and China, told me that, for him, Liu’s work was crucial to understanding contemporary China, “because it synthesizes multiple angles of looking at the country, from the anthropological to the political to the social.” Although physics furnishes the novels’ premises, it is politics that drives the plots. At every turn, the characters are forced to make brutal calculations in which moral absolutism is pitted against the greater good. In their pursuit of survival, men and women employ Machiavellian game theory and adopt a bleak consequentialism. In Liu’s fictional universe, idealism is fatal and kindness an exorbitant luxury. As one general says in the trilogy, “In a time of war, we can’t afford to be too scrupulous.” Indeed, it is usually when people do not play by the rules of Realpolitik that the most lives are lost.

    #Science_fiction #Liu_Cixin

  • They Live (1988)


    They Live is a 1988 American science fiction film written and directed by John Carpenter, and based on the 1963 short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning” by Ray Nelson. It follows an unnamed drifter[nb 1] played by Roddy Piper, who discovers that the ruling class are aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed, and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media

    Ted Cruz - They Live - CONSUME by Hal Hefner

    The Untold Truth Of They Live

    #dystopie #film #science_fiction

  • Neal Stephenson : Innovation Starvation | WIRED

    par Neil Stephenson

    Still, I worry that our inability to match the achievements of the 1960s space program might be symptomatic of a general failure of our society to get big things done. My parents and grandparents witnessed the creation of the airplane, the automobile, nuclear energy, and the computer to name only a few. Scientists and engineers who came of age during the first half of the 20th century could look forward to building things that would solve age-old problems, transform the landscape, build the economy, and provide jobs for the burgeoning middle class that was the basis for our stable democracy.

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 crystallized my feeling that we have lost our ability to get important things done. The OPEC oil shock was in 1973 — almost 40 years ago. It was obvious then that it was crazy for the United States to let itself be held economic hostage to the kinds of countries where oil was being produced. It led to Jimmy Carter’s proposal for the development of an enormous synthetic fuels industry on American soil. Whatever one might think of the merits of the Carter presidency or of this particular proposal, it was, at least, a serious effort to come to grips with the problem.

    The audience at Future Tense was more confident than I that science fiction [SF] had relevance — even utility — in addressing the problem.

    I heard two theories as to why:

    The Inspiration Theory. SF inspires people to choose science and engineering as careers. This much is undoubtedly true, and somewhat obvious.
    The Hieroglyph Theory. Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place. A good SF universe has a coherence and internal logic that makes sense to scientists and engineers. Examples include Isaac Asimov’s robots, Robert Heinlein’s rocket ships, and William Gibson’s cyberspace. As Jim Karkanias of Microsoft Research puts it, such icons serve as hieroglyphs — simple, recognizable symbols on whose significance everyone agrees.

    Today’s belief in ineluctable certainty is the true innovation-killer of our age. In this environment, the best an audacious manager can do is to develop small improvements to existing systems — climbing the hill, as it were, toward a local maximum, trimming fat, eking out the occasional tiny innovation — like city planners painting bicycle lanes on the streets as a gesture toward solving our energy problems. Any strategy that involves crossing a valley — accepting short-term losses to reach a higher hill in the distance — will soon be brought to a halt by the demands of a system that celebrates short-term gains and tolerates stagnation, but condemns anything else as failure. In short, a world where big stuff can never get done.

    #Science_fiction #Innovation #Neil_Stephenson

  • Paris n’est plus que ruines. Et le prix de la cervelle fraîche s’envole. Heureusement, il reste des punks. Et des bières. Et des acides. Et un groupe électrogène pour jouer du Discharge. Un groupe de punks décide de profiter de cette invasion zombie pour faire flotter le drapeau de l’anarchie sur la tour Eiffel. Mais avant de pouvoir crier No Future ! il va falloir se coltiner un paquet de cons. Dans l’ombre, des rescapés du Medef ourdissent également un plan infernal. Il est grand temps que l’anarchie remette de l’ordre dans le chaos !
    Chanteur historique du groupe Ludwig von 88, Karim Berrouka écrit des bouquins déjantés aux titres évocateurs comme Fées, Weed et Guillotines ou Les ballons dirigeables rêvent-ils de poupées gonflables.

    Extrait : "De 23 h 37 à 01 h 05 : Répète dans la grande salle commune du squat, rez-de-chaussée. Deuspi a sorti le vieux Marshall pourri chouré on ne sait plus où, Fonsdé a branché une boîte à rythmes et un micro sur la chaîne stéréo. C’est sympa, on croirait une reformation des Béru, en version punk trash progressif. Un seul morceau de près de deux heures, trois accords en boucle, avec, pour paroles, des passages de L’Art de la guerre de Sun Tzu scandés, entrecoupés de quelques slogans revendicateurs plus ou moins personnels. Du genre : « Viande à caserne, chair à canon, cervelle en berne, troupeau d’moutons », « La guerre, la guerre, mais qu’est-ce qu’elle a fait de moi la guerre ? », « On ne peut abolir la guerre qu’en sniffant de la colle ! » C’est très concept. Et c’est long, surtout pour du punk, mais le génie créateur se moque des conventions et des contraintes stylistiques. À 01 h 06, Eva descend.
    -- Vous faites grave chier, les mecs ! J’ai besoin de dormir. Allez plutôt emmerder les bobos en leur jouant Capri, c’est fini sous leur fenêtre. Avec vos putains de didgeridoos en rouleaux de PQ. Mais, là, stop ! Merde.
    Normalement, Eva n’a rien contre les sessions punk défonce dans la salle commune – elle y participe même assez souvent. Mais cette nuit, elle est remontée. Ou plutôt, elle aimerait redescendre. Deuspi et Fonsdé peuvent comprendre. Ils ont aussi fait l’expérience des gardes à vue prolongées, et pour des raisons plus méritées. Donc, fin de la répète, ils rangent l’ampli, le micro, la boîte à rythmes, s’envoient trois ou quatre binouzes pour décompresser, réalignent quelques neurones qui commencent à s’essayer à des connexions synaptiques un peu trop free jazz avec une ligne de speed. Et ils poussent les canapés et les tables. C’est l’heure de l’entraînement de pogo fighting. Ça permettra de canaliser leur énergie débordante. Donc, de 01 h 32 à 02 h 28 : Session d’entraînement de pogo fighting. Dans la playlist, Chaos UK, Disorder, Chaotic
    Discord, et bien sûr, Discharge. À 2 h 29, Eva descend une deuxième fois."
    J’ai Lu (2017) Edition Poche - 414 p. 11 x 18 cm - 8.00€

    #fiction #roman #punk #Karim_Berrouka

  • Downsizing (2017) - Official Trailer

    C’est une comédie dramatique bien faite pour un public familial - mais comme d’habitude c’est bourré d’idéologie individualiste pro-chrétienne conservatrice. Du Faust pour les pauvres. Goethe s’adresse à un public d’élite et Hollywood parle aux pauvres mal éduqués. Matt Damon joue un imbécile confronté aux forces idéologiques et climatiques qui le dépassent.

    C’est la rencontre de Candide avec Méphistophélès au 21ème siècle. On n’apprend d’ailleurs jamais dans le film si la catastrophe climatique et réelle, alors qu’elle sert de moteur à l’action.

    Le côté religieux passe encore. Pour un film étatsunien une référence à la foi chrétienne est apparemment inévitable. Où c’est problématique c’est quand le film développe les options accessibles à ses personnages. Il n’ont le choix qu’entre l’adhésion à une secte qui prétend que la fin du mond est proche et une vie de sacrifice qui trouve sa raison d’être dans le secours porté aux malades et infirmes.

    Heureusement il y a le personnage cynique épicurien interprété par Christoph Waltz qui introduit un contre-poids au moralisme insupportable de la trame. Il rappelle Méphistophélès dans Faust « Une partie de cette force qui tantôt veut le mal et tantôt fait le bien. »

    Voici la troisième option qui demeure inaccessible au personnages équipés de la bonté universelle que l’héros du filme peine à découvrir au font de soi : Christoph Waltz incarne la jouissance du criminel cultivé qui ne tombe dans aucun piège et transforme son existence minuscule en party sans fin.

    Dans l’oeuvre de Goethe on découvre souvent des idées qui reviennent chez les néo-libéraux et chez les adeptes d’Ayn Rand, alors on peut regarder le film en tant qu’assemblage de bribes d’histoires inventées par les auteurs européens depuis le siècle des Lumières et s’amuser à identifier quelle grande gueule de la maison blanche actuelle vient de l’évoquer sous forme de lapsus.


    #film #science_fiction

  • Don’t panic! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is back | The Guardian

    In 1985, #Douglas_Adams said the #BBC’s view of the first series of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was like Macbeth’s attitude to murder: “Initial doubts, followed by cautious enthusiasm, then greater and greater alarm at the sheer scale of the undertaking.” Those days are, however, long gone and the BBC is marking the 40th anniversary of Adams’ ground-breaking creation in style.

    The original cast has been reunited to record a new radio series of the intergalactic comedy that, from small beginnings in 1978 on Radio 4, grew into a juggernaut that spawned a TV series, a Disney film, a much-loved series of books, several stage shows and even a video game.

    What makes the performance all the more poignant is that they are playing a scene written by Adams but never previously recorded. The new series combines unpublished material, dug out of Adams’ notebooks by archivist and superfan Kevin Jon Davies, and newer plotlines drawn from And Another Thing, Eoin Colfer’s book continuing the saga, which was commissioned by the Adams estate after the author’s sudden death at the age of just 49 in 2001.

    The 40th-anniversary series starts on BBC Radio 4 on 8 March.

    #science_fiction #radio #fiction #audio #humour

  • Sci-fi doesn’t predict the future. It influences it.

    Predicting the future is a mug’s game, anyway. If the future can be predicted, then it is inevitable. If it’s inevitable, then what we do doesn’t matter. If what we do doesn’t matter, why bother getting out of bed in the morning? Science fiction does something better than predict the future: It influences it.

    If some poor English teacher has demanded that you identify the “themes ” of Mary’s Frankenstein, the obvious correct answer is that she is referring to ambition and hubris. Ambition because Victor Frankenstein has challenged death itself, one of the universe’s eternal verities. Everything dies: whales and humans and dogs and cats and stars and galaxies. Hubris—“extreme pride or self-confidence” (thanks, Wikipedia!)—because as Victor brings his creature to life, he is so blinded by his own ambition that he fails to consider the moral consequences of his actions. He fails to ask himself how the thinking, living being he is creating will feel about being stitched together, imbued with life force, and ushered into the uncaring universe.

    Many critics panned Frankenstein when it was first published, but the crowds loved it, made it a best-seller, and packed the theaters where it was performed on the stage. Mary had awoken something in the public imagination, and it’s not hard to understand what that was: a story about technology mastering humans rather than serving them.

    In 1999, Douglas Adams—another prodigious predictor of the present—made a keen observation about the relationship of young people to technology:

    I’ve come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:

    1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

    2. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.

    3. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

    Internet social networks were already huge before Facebook: Sixdegrees, Friendster, Myspace, Bebo, and dozens of others had already come and gone. There was an adjacent possible in play: The internet and the web existed, and it had grown enough that many of the people you wanted to talk to could be found online, if only someone would design a service to facilitate finding or meeting them.

    A service like Facebook was inevitable, but how Facebook works was not. Facebook is designed like a casino game where the jackpots are attention from other people (likes and messages) and the playing surface is a vast board whose parts can’t be seen most of the time. You place bets on what kind of personal revelation will ring the cherries, pull the lever—hit “post”—and wait while the wheel spins to see if you’ll win big. As in all casino games, in the Facebook game there’s one universal rule: The house always wins. Facebook continuously fine-tunes its algorithms to maximize the amount that you disclose to the service because it makes money by selling that personal information to advertisers. The more personal information you give up, the more ways they can sell you—if an advertiser wants to sell sugar water or subprime mortgages to 19-year-old engineering freshmen whose parents rent in a large Northeastern city, then disclosing all those facts about you converts you from a user to a vendible asset.

    #Science_fiction #SF #futur

  • Le discours que n’a pas prononcé Jean-Luc Mélenchon

    Imaginons que Jean-Luc Mélenchon, pour qui j’ai voté de bon cœur, ne soit ni boudeur, ni cachotier. Imaginons qu’il ait pris pour une bonne nouvelle un score qui place la gauche alternative à un niveau inimaginable il y a seulement quelques semaines. Imaginons que l’imagination manifestée par le mouvement de la France insoumise l’ait mis de bonne humeur. Et faisons comme si la perspective de voir le FN accéder à la présidence de la République lui semblait devoir être évitée coûte que coûte. Peut-être alors que le soir du premier tour, il aurait prononcé le discours qui suit. Source : Jean-Louis Sagot-Duvauroux

  • Je viens de terminer Latium de Romain Lacuzeau (2 tomes, sorti fin 2016). Un gros roman de #sf avec un concept marrant :


    Une image mentale plutôt qu’une idée. Des princes et des princesses à la mode antique, très beaux, très froids et calculateurs, se livrant à des intrigues et des combats, dans l’espace, avec des palais à colonnes et des cultes païens. Un « trip » au croisement entre space-opera et Antiquité revisitée, pour ainsi dire

    Toute l’intrigue sert à justifier ce concept : Latium se déroule dans un futur lointain, mais pas notre futur. Il s’agit d’une uchronie, où un empire romain gréco-latin a conquis le monde, puis le système solaire. Les intelligences artificielles survivantes de l’humanité héritent de cette culture-là.

    Je ne suis pas habituellement un lecteur de romans, alors je ne vais pas trop me risquer à émettre une critique détaillée. Je me suis bien amusé, j’ai aimé les références classiques, la philosophie classique… Après j’ai regretté quelques difficultés dans le rythme (notamment le premier tome parfois un peu long, et quasiment tout se passe dans le second – héroïque et tout…), mais dans l’ensemble j’y ai pris beaucoup de plaisir. J’ai découvert le livre par une interview de l’auteur sur France Cul ou France Inter, je ne sais plus, et le type disait s’être amusé lui-même. Je crois que ça passe dans le bouquin.

  • Stocamine : les déchets restent enfouis « pour une durée illimitée » - Journal de l’environnement

    La préfecture a tranché. La prolongation du stockage souterrain, pour une durée illimitée, des déchets industriels dangereux sur la commune de Wittelsheim a été actée par un arrêté en date du 23 mars. Pour mémoire, le site de Stocamine avait dû fermer ses portes suite à un incendie déclaré en septembre 2002. Il avait été ouvert en 1999 pour accueillir 44.000 tonnes de déchets dangereux, enfouis à 650 mètres de profondeur dans les galeries des anciennes mines de potasse d’Alsace.

    « Une décision scandaleuse »

    Réunis devant le siège de la préfecture, à Colmar, des représentants de Destocamine ont dénoncé, le 24 mars, « une décision scandaleuse, qui aboutit sciemment à polluer la nappe phréatique ».

  • Annihilation - VanderMeer, Jeff

    La Zone X, mystérieuse, mortelle. Et en expansion. Onze expéditions soldées par des suicides, meurtres, cancers foudroyants et troubles mentaux. Douzième expédition. Quatre femmes. Quatre scientifiques seules dans une nature sauvage. Leur but : ne pas se laisser contaminer, survivre et cartographier la Zone X.

    Avalé en deux soirs. De très bonnes choses, d’autres qui me laissent un peu sur ma faim, je vais attaquer la suite pour voir si la trilogie est à la hauteur de sa réputation. Quelqu’un.e l’a lue ?
    #newweird #livres #fantastique #apocalypse #sf #science_fiction #science-fiction