mfioretti: science fiction*

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  1. This is an excellent post to keep in mind when you see another recent post criticizing the current trend of dystopian sci-fi and going on about how sci-fi used to be about hope and wonder.

    No. It used to be about men. And now it’s not.

    Specifically white men. And I say this because a lot of the feminist sci fi centers white women & replicates the racism of classic sci fi. Not to mention the weird fetishization of POC on display in other spec fic like urban fantasy.
    http://bibulous.tumblr.com/post/12064...arnythia-becausedragonage-makingfists
    Voting 0
  2. Soon, Isaac Asimov's legendary Foundation trilogy will be coming to HBO. But what do you need to know about this series, which explores questions of fate versus determinism and the cyclical nature of history? Here's our complete primer on this enduring science-fiction classic.
    http://io9.com/what-absolutely-everyo...s-to-know-about-isaac-asim-1660230344
    Tags: , , by M. Fioretti (2014-11-22)
    Voting 0
  3. The parameters of ‘‘The Cold Equations’’ are not the inescapable laws of physics. Zoom out beyond the page’s edges and you’ll find the author’s hands carefully arranging the scenery so that the plague, the world, the fuel, the girl and the pilot are all poised to inevitably lead to her execution. The author, not the girl, decided that there was no autopilot that could land the ship without the pilot. The author decided that the plague was fatal to all concerned, and that the vaccine needed to be delivered within a timeframe that could only be attained through the execution of the stowaway.

    It is, then, a contrivance. A circumstance engineered for a justifiable murder. An elaborate shell game that makes the poor pilot – and the company he serves – into victims every bit as much as the dead girl is a victim, forced by circumstance and girlish naïveté to stain their souls with murder.

    Moral hazard is the economist’s term for a rule that encourages people to behave badly. For example, a rule that says that you’re not liable for your factory’s pollution if you don’t know about it encourages factory owners to totally ignore their effluent pipes – it turns willful ignorance into a profitable strategy.

    ‘‘The Cold Equations’’ is moral hazard in action. It is a story designed to excuse the ship’s operators – from the executives to ground control to the pilot – for standardizing on a spaceship with no margin of safety. A spaceship with no autopilot, no fuel reserves, and no contingency margin in its fuel calculations.

    ‘‘The Cold Equations’’ never asks why the explorers were sent off-planet without a supply of vaccines. It never asks what failure of health-protocol led to the spread of the disease on the distant, unexplored world.

    BUT if a crisis of your own making isn’t the time to lay blame, then the optimal strategy is to ensure that the crisis never ends!!!!

    Every once in a while you find yourself in a lifeboat where a single stupid move can kill everyone. But a science fiction writer whose story’s boundary extends to the boat’s gunwales, and no further – not to the poleconomy that convinced a nation to build backyard bunkers rather than rising up en masse against Mutually Assured Destruction, say – is a science fiction writer who has considered the car and the movie and invented the drive-in without ever thinking about the sexual revolution or the database-nation.

    The thing about Cold Equations is that they aren’t the product of unfeeling physics. They are parameterized by human beings.

    The thing about lifeboat rules is that they are an awfully good deal for lifeboat captains.
    http://www.locusmag.com/Perspectives/...torow-cold-equations-and-moral-hazard
    Voting 0
  4. Back in 1987, L. Ron Hubbard created a time capsule of sorts. He challenged his fellow science fiction writers, along with a smattering of famous scientists, to write letters to the people of 2012 offering their visions of what the world might look like in another 25 years.

    worst-case predictions for climate change consistently undershot reality; the reverse is true for population
    http://www.salon.com/2012/08/05/science_fictions_2012_salpart/
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