huxley to orwell

↑Letters of note has put online the following letter (Huxley 1970: 604-605) from ↑Aldous Huxley [on the right] to ↑George Orwell [on the left]: Wrightwood. Cal. 21 October, 1949 Dear Mr. Orwell, It was very kind of you to tell your publishers to send me a copy of your book. It arrived as I was in the midst of a piece of work that required much reading and consulting of references; and since poor sight makes it necessary for me to ration my reading, I had to wait a long time before being able to embark on Nineteen Eighty-Four [Orwell … Continue reading

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colossus

But—and it was a very large but—his had been the guiding brain, the one with the big overall concept, the vision. And that was the one that counted. (Jones 1966: chpt. 1)     Briefly he considered his future, but the idea of life without the Project lacked reality. (Jones 1966: chpt. 1)     They were both roughly the same age, in their very early fifties, though a hundred years earlier they would have appeared much younger. (Jones 1966: chpt. 1)     Now it’s all over, and in the last few weeks, I’ve begun to realize what it … Continue reading

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afrocyberpunk

Finally Africa! In 2005 I learned that cyberpunk literature offers a platform for the issues of Latin America (Toledano Redondo 2005), and five years later the existence of a ↵literary steampunk scene in Brazil (Lori-Ribeiro & Silva 2010) came to my knowledge. What’s apt for the Latin American World seems to be apt for Africa, too. Jonathan Dotse, an IT student and science-fiction writer living in Accra, Ghana, runs the blog ↑AfroCyberPunk, ↑which is here to explore the possibilities of African science fiction and to expose it’s immense creative potential to the world. For too long, science fiction has failed … Continue reading

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astronaut mike mullane

He promised it ↵in a comment here, and made it true: The podcast ↑JetHead live with astronaut Mike Mullane is online. ↑Mike Mullane is a former NASA astronaut and author of the book ↑Riding rockets: The outrageous tales of a space shuttle astronaut (2006). The tagline of JetHead’s interview with Mullane reads: ‘What’s it like to ride over 4 million pounds of explosive thrust into earth orbit? Three times?’ This gives an overall impression, but there’s more in the book and the podcast, e.g. Mullane’s evolution from a ‘male sexist pig’ [his own words] towards a human being ;-) Much … Continue reading

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radium age sf

While reading ↑Brian Aldiss‘ ‘Billion Year Spree: The True History of Science Fiction’ (1973) [a revised and expanded edition was published as 'Trillion Year Spree' (Aldiss & Wingrove 1986)] Joshua Glenn thought that Aldiss unfairly neglected the period from 1904 to 1933: I’ve concluded that it’s an era of which science fiction historians and fans ought to be proud, not ashamed! I’ve dubbed this unfairly overlooked era ↑science fiction’s “Radium Age” because the phenomenon of radioactivity—the 1903 discovery that matter is neither solid nor still and is, at least in part, a state of energy, constantly in movement — is … Continue reading

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hartmann the anarchist

‘↑Captain Nemo was a technical anarcho-terrorist.’ wrote Bruce Sterling (1991: 39) about the main protagonist of ↑Jules Verne‘s ‘↓20,000 leagues under the sea‘ (1870). The same can be said about the character Robur appearing in Verne’s ‘↓Robur the Conqueror‘ (1886) and its sequel ‘↓Master of the World‘ (1904). By way of his submarine ‘Nautilus’ Captain Nemo rules the oceans. Robur rules everything above through his vessels, the ‘Albatross’ and the ‘Terror.’ Just recently I learned that around the same time yet another literary ‘technical anarcho-terrorist’ appeared: ‘↓Hartmann the Anarchist‘ by Edward Douglas Fawcett (1893): ↑A sensational tale of the evil … Continue reading

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churchill on cyberpunk

Paul Kent Alkon, professor emeritus of English and American literature, author of ‘Origins of futuristic fiction’ (1987), and ‘Science fiction before 1900′ (1994), in 1997 has published a ↓wonderful article on ↑Winston Churchill‘s relation to the writing and thought of ↑H. G. Wells, science fiction and dystopia in general. More recently Alkon covered the issue even more in-depth in his chapter ‘Imagining science: Churchill and science fiction’ (2006: 155-176). What struck Bruce Sterling the most is Churchill’s premonition of drone warfare: Have we reached the end? Has Science turned its last page on them? May there not be methods of … Continue reading

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the lovecraft tie

Above these apparent hieroglyphics was a figure of evident pictorial intent, though its impressionistic execution forbade a very clear idea of its nature. It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which … Continue reading

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