Finding the Story
I see that Star Trek: Voyager has added a new character, a Borg. (From the photos, I also see that they’re still breeding women for breast size in the 24th century.) What ticked me off was the producer’s comment (I’m paraphrasing), “The addition of Seven of Nine will give us limitless story possibilities.”
I would watch dan luu trek.
Escape Into These Fantastical, Imaginary Maps
This week, why not venture even farther afield, to lands that don’t really exist at all? Atlas Obscura recently asked map collectors and curators to suggest some diverting maps that chart imaginary terrain.
How to Read “Gilgamesh”
The heart of the world’s oldest long poem is found in its gaps and mysteries.
Movie plots, visualized.
Adventures In Interactivity
That book was Creating Adventure Games on Your Computer by Tim Hartnell. The book taught me how to make rudimentary text adventure games on my Apple ][ as a kid and prompted a recent adventure of revisiting the classic text adventures of the past. So grab a torch and get your map making tools ready because today’s Tedium is an exploration of text adventures through the years. Try not to get eaten by a grue along the way.
Medieval Fantasy City Generator
This application generates a random medieval city layout of a requested size. The generation method is rather arbitrary, the goal is to produce a nice looking map, not an accurate model of a city. Maybe in the future I’ll use its code as a basis for some game or maybe not.
Contemporary science fiction often feels fixated on a sort of pessimism that peers into the world of tomorrow and sees the apocalypse looming more often than not. At a time when simply reading the news is an exercise in exhaustion, anxiety, and fear, it’s no surprise that so many of our tales about the future are dark amplifications of the greatest terrors of the present. But now more than ever, we also need the reverse: stories that inspire hope.
That’s why, starting on January 14th, we’ll be publishing Better Worlds: 10 original fiction stories, five animated adaptations, and five audio adaptations by a diverse roster of science fiction authors who take a more optimistic view of what lies ahead in ways both large and small, fantastical and everyday.
To make 1997’s Blade Runner, Westwood first had to create the universe
Castle’s team faced a considerable number of challenges in bringing the cinematic world of Blade Runner to life using the technologies of the day, most of which stemmed from having to invent, from whole cloth, a way to seamlessly mesh their pre-rendered world with animated voxel characters (it turned out to be vastly more complicated than simply sticking a sprite in front of the background). Tackling this issue introduced an entire interconnected tapestry of difficult problems to solve, very few of which are faced by modern developers who can pick from ready-made game engines to license and use.
HOT TAKE on the recent CPU Bugs
You weep over the side channel attacks and you curse Intel. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know; that speculative execution, while dangerous, probably saves cores. And my optimizations, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, save cores. You don’t want in order execution because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want the most instructions per cycle.
The Little Printf
One day, I was stuck in an airport coming back from a conference, furiously typing at a terminal, when an odd, gentle voice asked me:
If you please, design me a system!
Design me a system!
I looked up from my screen, surprised by the request. I looked around and saw this kid who aspired to be a developer and wanted me to call him “printf”, which I felt was very stupid and gimmicky.
An artist on creating the retro art for a new edition of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers
The Folio Society is responsible for a number of beautiful editions of classic works of science fiction. Earlier this fall, it began offering another fan-favorite edition: Robert L. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.
In addition to the additional commentary, the Folio Society commissions original art for each book, beautiful illustrations that complement the scenes are you read them. The Verge spoke with artist Hickman about his approach to illustrating Heinlein’s classic novel.
Exploring the Future Beyond Cyberpunk’s Neon and Noir
Which microgenres are bubbling up, and which trends and themes best describe how creators are imagining the future? Here are nine suggestions.
After the robot uprising was put down, we hunted down the programmers.
Kolyma Stories, by Varlam Shalamov
That is not blurb inflation. Note that the book is long (734 pp. of stories), and the reading is slow, mostly because the narratives lack redundant information, not because they are clumsy or awkwardly written. It also takes perhaps a few stories to get into the swing of things and figure out how the fictional yet not fictional universe works here. But the content is entirely gripping, and full of social science.
Haven’t read it, but maybe some day.
Life isn’t perfect. Your profile should be.
Who’s Murdering Residents of the Blustery Faroe Islands? Crime Writers
But Jens Jensen, a veteran detective in this isolated North Atlantic nation, was perplexed. Tjørnuvík? “It’s a very quiet village,” he said. “I don’t know of any murder happening there, or any crime happening there.”
Why the Culture Wins: An Appreciation of Iain M. Banks
Compared to the other “visionary” writers working at the time – William Gibson, Neal Stephenson – Banks is underappreciated. This is because Gibson and Stephenson in certain ways anticipated the evolution of technology, and considered what the world would look like as transformed by “cyberspace.” Both were crucial in helping us to understand that the real technological revolution occurring in our society was not mechanical, but involved the collection, transmission and processing of information.
Banks, by contrast, imagined a future transformed by the evolution of culture first and foremost, and by technology only secondarily. His insights were, I would contend, more profound. But they are less well appreciated, because the dynamics of culture surround us so completely, and inform our understanding of the world so entirely, that we struggle to find a perspective from which we can observe the long-term trends.
What happens when culture becomes freed from all functional constraints? It seems clear that, in the interplanetary competition that develops, the culture that emerges will be the most virulent, or the most contagious. In other words, “the Culture” will simply be that which is best at reproducing itself, by appealing to the sensibilities and tastes of humanoid life-forms.
Gold Fault Laser
It involves installing a gold-plated laser somewhere deep in the San Andreas Fault to extract geothermal energy from the landscape. Think of it as a kind of gonzo version of the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth.
The press release, from architect Mark Foster Gage, is a great example of a solipsistic inventor’s imagination at full blast—featuring “geothermal resonance technologies,” nano-gold foil-wrapped laser components, an “experimental phenolic cured resin foam,” and so on.
Serious charts for serious business.